New Music From Mary Halvorson

Posted on Nov 30, 2022
New Music From Mary Halvorson

Nonesuch Records presents Belladonna, the second of two twin label debut albums (preceded by Amaryllis), from Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson.  The two suites, which Halvorson describes as “modular and interlocking,” were produced and mixed by John Dieterich of DeerhoofBelladonna is a set of five compositions written for Halvorson on guitar plus The Mivos Quartet: Olivia De Prato (violin), Maya Bennardo (violin), Victor Lowrie Tafoya (viola), and Tyler J. Borden (cello). It is Halvorson’s first time writing for a string quartet; Mivos’ parts are through-composed and augmented by Halvorson’s guitar improvisations. Halvorson says, “Around the same time [as I was making Amaryllis], I was listening to a lot of string quartet music. I had a few orchestration books lying around my apartment, and ample time to take composition lessons. Writing for string quartet has always been a dream of mine, but something that seemed intimidating and somehow out of reach. But with a clear schedule and endless days stretching out in front of me, it felt like the right time to finally go for it.”

One of New York City’s most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot, and John Zorn. She is also part of several collaborative projects, most notably the longstanding trio Thumbscrew with Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Halvorson has released a series of critically acclaimed albums, from Dragon’s Head (2008), her trio debut featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, expanding to a quintet with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon on Saturn Sings (2010) and Bending Bridges (2012), a septet with tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik on Illusionary Sea (2014), and finally an octet with pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn on Away With You (2016). She also released the solo recording Meltframe (2015), and most recently debuted Code Girl (2018, 2020), a new ensemble featuring vocalist Amirtha Kidambi (singing Halvorson’s own lyrics), trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, saxophonist and vocalist María Grand, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

“An unflinching original who has revealed new possibilities within the music.” —New York Times

“During the last decade, Halvorson has reimagined the rules and roles of jazz guitar by pairing a graceful approach to melody with an iron will to warp, corrupt, and subvert it.” Pitchfork

“The most future-seeking guitarist working right now, thinking out the instrument on a level most couldn’t comprehend.” NPR

“[An] unstoppably inventive guitarist and composer” WBGO

Recommended Tracks: Track 3, “Flying Song,” Track 1, “Nodding Yellow”

FCC Clean

Label: Nonesuch Records

Goes For Adds 12/6

Skip to toolbar