Company Of Heaven Jazz Festival

January 7, 2010

Company of Heaven, the booking agency for many of creative improvised music’s biggest names, will hold its second annual jazz festival at New York’s Cornelia Street Café this weekend as part of the festivities surrounding the 2010 Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference.

The Thirteenth Assembly, featuring Taylor Ho Bynum, Mary Halvorson, Jessica Pavone and Tomas Fujiwara, will be performing, as will Playscape Recordings artists, the Michael Musillami Trio + 3, Mario Pavone‘s Totem Quartet and George Schuller’s Circle Wide. A complete schedule of events for the three-night festival is available here.

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2010 NYC Winter JazzFest

January 7, 2010


Three of our clients’ ensembles, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (also playing two sets at Jazz Gallery the following night), the Mary Halvorson Trio and the William Parker Quartet, will be part of the highly anticipated 2010 NYC Winter JazzFest this weekend.

The two-night extravaganza will feature over 50 performances at five different venues in the West Village.

Argue and his acclaimed 18-piece big band will kick off Friday night’s festivities at (Le) Poisson Rouge at 6:20 p.m.

Parker’s all-star quartet, which features Lewis Barnes (trumpet), Rob Brown (alto saxophone) and Hamid Drake (drums), is a last-minute 10:30 p.m. addition to Saturday’s line-up at Sullivan Hall.

Ms. Halvorson’s longstanding trio, with bassist John Hébert and drummer Tomas Fujiwara (sitting in for Ches Smith), will also perform on Saturday night. Their set at Kenny’s Castaways is scheduled to start just after midnight.


Mary Halvorson Quintet Goes Into The Studio

December 19, 2009

Fresh off her week-long tour of Europe, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson heads into the studio today at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 to record the follow-up to her highly acclaimed 2008 debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records).

The session will feature her newest group, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, which adds trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon to her longstanding trio with bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith.

The as-yet-untitled recording is expected to be released in the Fall.


LondonJazz: Mary Halvorson Trio At Vortex 12/14/09

December 17, 2009

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Earlier this week, LondonJazz posted a review of the Mary Halvorson Trio’s Monday night performance at Vortex. The show was part of the group’s December tour of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.

“Even when she’s leading, she doesn’t overwhelm with fast licks,” notes the reviewer. “More likely she’ll interject an insistent pulsed semitone clash, or a repeated melodic or scalar fragment. But there is always an underlying sense of control and of the structure. She’s calling the shots, but with undemonstrative, unshowy playing, and virtually no looping or effects…a fascinating and worthwhile snapshot of a defiant, confident, edgy, genre-crossing strand of contemporary music.”


Mary Halvorson Quintet At Firehouse 12 Tonight

December 4, 2009

Image by Jon Vachon

Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson and her newest ensemble, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, will perform tonight at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 as part of the venue’s ongoing 2009 Fall Jazz Series.

The group, which adds two horns to the longstanding trio that recorded Ms. Halvorson’s highly regarded 2008 debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records), features Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto saxophone), John Hébert (bass) and Ches Smith (drums).

This will be the band’s final performance before going into the studio later in the month to record all new material for its forthcoming 2010 release on Firehouse 12 Records.

Check out this preview in the New Haven Advocate and WNYC’s review (with lots and lots of pictures) of the group’s performance earlier in the week at Barbès in Brooklyn.


Howard Mandel: Best Jazz CDs Of 2009

December 1, 2009


Author, jazz critic and President of the Jazz Journalists Association Howard Mandel posted a list of his favorite CDs from 2009 on his blog, Jazz Beyond Jazz, this past Friday.

Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) and The Thirteenth Assembly’s (un)sentimental (Important Records) both earned spots of the 11-title list.

Of the former, Mandel writes, “Recasting the ‘jazz’ orchestra with an ear hip to a spectrum of contemporary composition but most of all sound itself, Argue diplays a nervy ethos by conducting 18 not-very-well-known but gutsy instrumentalists through arresting themes, solid rhythms and energized solos. This is Brooklyn offline, ironic but earnest, and has drawn a following among listeners in their late 20s-early 30s.”

And, he called the debut of Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone’s collective quartet, The Thirteenth Assembly, “Chamber music for moderns—a cornetist, drummer, guitarist and violaist walk the lines between structure and improv, sensitivity and humor, questions and suggestions, inherent references to the past and unpretentious confidence they’re in the right place for music now.”

The list was compiled from nearly 1000 CDs Mandel received for review since last November, so naturally there were lots of honorable mentions. John Hébert’s highly regarded debut, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12), was part of the “Also Much Enjoyed” list.

UPDATE: Mandel’s Top 11 of 2009 is now posted at the Jazz Journalists Association’s Web site.


Mary Halvorson In December

November 30, 2009

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson‘s busy December begins tomorrow night with an early gig with Curtis Hasselbring’s Decoupage and a late gig with Ches Smith & These Arches.

The next two weeks will feature two dates and a recording session with her new quintet and a European tour with her acclaimed trio.

Mary Halvorson Trio
12/07 :: Cafe Wilhelmina (Eindhoven, NL)
12/08 :: Stadtgarden (Cologne, Germany)
12/09 :: Schl8hof (Wels, Austria)
12/11 :: Jazz Dock (Prague, Czech Republic)
12/12 :: Venue TBA (Ueberlingen, Germany)
12/14 :: Vortex (London, UK)
12/16 :: Rote Fabrik (Zurich, Switzerland)

Mary Halvorson Quintet
12/02 :: Barbès (Brooklyn, NY)
12/04 :: Firehouse 12 (New Haven, CT)

Curtis Hasselbring’s Decoupage
12/01 :: The Stone (New York, NY)

Ches Smith & These Arches
12/01 :: Korzo (Brooklyn, NY)