Mary Halvorson + Jessica Pavone’s European Tour Begins Sunday

October 23, 2009
Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone will kick-off their latest European tour on Sunday, October 25th in Brussels, Belgium.

The duo will perform seven dates in Belgium and Italy, with Ms. Halvorson taking a quick break on the 30th to perform with the Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio in Frankfurt, Germany.

Here’s the itinerary:

10/25 :: Studio Odeon (Brussels, Belgium)
10/26 :: Cladestino (Faenza, Italy)
10/27 :: Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome, Italy)
10/29 :: Voruuit (Gent, Belgium)
10/31 :: Botticino Jazz Festival (Botticino, Italy)*
11/01 :: PiM Spazio Scenico (Milan, Italy)
11/02 :: Museo (Catanzaro, Italy)

*with special guest Taylor Ho Bynum

Taylor Ho Bynum In October

October 15, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Hot on the heels of the mid-September release of his latest CD, Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum is gearing up for a busy month of performances in New York and abroad.

His upcoming sideman dates include performances with composer/conductor Laura Andel, pianist Lucian Ban, the Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio and a special guest appearance with the Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo in Botticino, Italy.

On October 25th in Boston, he’ll lead the first-ever performance of his new quintet featuring alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, trombonist and tuba player Bill Lowe, bassist John Hébert and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

The next day in New York, a subset of that group, dubbed the Bynum-Hébert-Cleaver Trio, will perform as part of the RUCMA/Vision Performance Series to be followed by a second trio date in Philadelphia on November 2nd and a recording session for the RogueArt label on November 3rd.

Laura Andel: Premieres and New Works for Large Ensemble
10/17 :: Brecht Forum (New York, NY)

Enesco Reimagined
10/20 :: Merkin Hall (New York, NY)

Taylor Ho Bynum Quintet
10/25 :: Boston Center for the Arts (Boston, MA)

Bynum-Hébert-Cleaver Trio
10/26 :: RUCMA @ The Local 269 (New York, NY)
11/02 :: Ars Nova Workshop @ The Rotunda (Philadelphia, PA)

Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo with special guest Taylor Ho Bynum
10/31 :: Botticino Jazz Festival (Botticino, Italy)

Mary Halvorson In October

October 13, 2009
Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Musically speaking, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson‘s month will be focused on her week-long European duo tour with violist and longtime collaborator Jessica Pavone, but she’ll also perform tomorrow night at Roulette with Myra Melford’s Happy Whistlings, on Thursday night with Ms. Pavone at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, and on October 30th with the Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio at JazzFestival Frankfurt.

Myra Melford’s Happy Whistlings
10/14 :: Roulette (New York, NY)

Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo
10/15 :: Pete’s Candy Store (Brooklyn, NY)
10/25 :: Studio Odeon (Brussels, Belgium)
10/26 :: Cladestino (Faenza, Italy)
10/27 :: Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome, Italy)
10/29 :: Voruuit (Gent, Belgium)
10/31 :: Botticino Jazz Festival (Botticino, Italy)*
11/01 :: PiM Spazio Scenico (Milan, Italy)
11/02 :: Museo (Catanzaro, Italy)

*with special guest Taylor Ho Bynum

Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio
10/30 :: JazzFestival Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany)

Firehouse 12 To Present The Steve Lehman Trio October 9th

September 9, 2009
Photo by Dominik Huber

Photo by Dominik Huber

On Friday, October 9th, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present innovative saxophonist/composer Steve Lehman‘s only area performance this year as part its fifth annual Fall Jazz Series. Lehman, who grew up in Hartford before earning two degrees at Wesleyan University during studies with Anthony Braxton and Jackie McLean, will be performing selections from his latest release, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi Recordings). Originally composed for his octet, the music, which daringly integrates elements of spectral harmony into jazz, has been meticulously arranged for this acoustic trio featuring bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Damion Reid.

“With Travail, Transformation, and Flow,” writes the Washington City Paper‘s Michael J. West, “alto saxophonist Steve Lehman makes a rare offering to the jazz world: a thoroughly alternative principle of improvisation. Lehman’s deeply compelling harmonies and textures sound noticeably different from anything before it, but the music doesn’t have the threat-to-everything-we-know-and-love trappings of prior upheavals. The mysterious and open-ended tensions on Travail are a powerful lure into an advanced and challenging set of music that firmly establishes Lehman as a major force in jazz’s avant-garde without taking the music too far out for comfort.”

Critics have called him “an inspired talent” (John Fordham, The Guardian) and “one of the rising stars in modern creative jazz” (Michael G. Nastos,, noting that “Steve Lehman is thinking about jazz in a new way” (Will Layman, by opening “his own corridor of exploration” (Nate Chinen, New York Times). L.A. Weekly‘s Chris Barton adds, “Lehman’s heady excursions remain unique and engaging to the listener whatever your knowledge of musical theory.” In addition to leading his own bands, Lehman is a member of such prominent creative music ensembles as the Anthony Braxton 12+1tet and Fieldwork. He is also an instructor and departmental fellow at Columbia University, where he is a doctoral candidate in music composition. Learn more at

2009 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/18 :: Brandon Ross & Blazing Beauty
09/25 :: Matt Wilson Quartet
10/02 :: Mauger: Rudresh Mahanthappa/Mark Dresser/Gerry Hemingway
10/09 :: Steve Lehman Trio
10/16 :: Gretchen Parlato Band
10/23 :: Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre
10/30 :: Taylor Eigsti Trio
11/06 :: ODE: Larry Ochs/Trevor Dunn/Lisle Ellis/Michael Sarin
11/13 :: The Peter Evans Quartet
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio
12/04 :: Mary Halvorson Quintet
12/11 :: Amy Cervini Quartet
12/18 :: Daniel Levin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:

Tzadik To Release Jessica Pavone’s New CD In October

August 12, 2009
Photo by Erica Magrey

Photo by Erica Magrey

On October 27th, Tzadik will release violist/composer Jessica Pavone‘s Songs of Synastry and Solitude (TZ 7719) as part of the Oracles series, which celebrates “the diversity and creativity of women in experimental music making.” Inspired by the simple beauty of American folk songs, and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen‘s Songs of Love and Hate (Columbia), this recording features 11 of Ms. Pavone’s original compositions for string quartet (violin, viola, cello and double bass) being performed by members of the Toomai String Quintet. The group will celebrate the release of the record on Tuesday, November 10th with a live performance at Roulette in New York.

The music on Songs of Synastry and Solitude grew out of the composing process for her 2007 release, Quotidian (Peacock Recordings), which documents a four-part suite that examines the temporal landmarks within each day. “I was most satisfied with the results of ‘Post Meridiem’, the afternoon piece,” Ms. Pavone remembers, “which explored informal music for one’s self in the middle of the day, in contrast to formal evening concerts. I wanted to continue writing string music based on the ideas in that piece, but for a quartet with double bass, which gives the music more flexibility and allows me to more easily draw from my folk music influence—the idea being I am writing ‘songs’ for a ‘classical’ ensemble.”

“I don’t feel like my music has something grandiose to portray,” she continues. “I just want it to sound real. I’m a songwriter that just happens to write instrumental songs—I hear music for small and intimate ensembles—and that was my approach to these string quartets. There is a lot of arpeggiation of chords throughout the ensemble emulating a finger picked guitar as well as a chorus/verse structure and an emphasis on simplicity. As I was composing these songs, I would check out older European composers’ string quartet scores and recordings, and every time said to myself, ‘I would never write music like this.’ Then there’d be times I’d hear a song by the Soul Stirrers or Leonard Cohen and think, ‘Ah, I would write music like this. I am going to borrow forms from this.'”

The influence of Cohen, and his dichotomous 1970 recording, are felt throughout this project, both in name and the underlying intent of the composer. “There’s a deep, unexplainable feeling I get from listening to his music,” says Ms. Pavone. “I feel like he encourages me to live outside this world and to explore what I call ‘the ghosts of all things lost’, reminders of past moments in my life that are still oddly familiar, but no longer part of my present existence. I want my music to have a heaviness—a weight that people feel and not just hear—as I try to recreate the feeling of his music, as well as my experience feeling his music.”

“Jessica Pavone is one of the busiest young performers on the city’s creative music scene,” declared Steve Dollar in a 2008 feature in the New York Sun, “lending her strings and a direct, personal style of playing them to all kinds of settings.” Jazz Review‘s Philip Clark writes, “We learn things from her music that we didn’t already know. [Her] harmonic openness turns the microscope on herself and she responds with lines of honest clarity, an oblique perspective on the familiar.”’s Charlie Wilmouth adds, “Her work possesses an uncommon amount of elegance…each piece is perfectly formed, expiring just as its tiny collection of melodic materials cycles through to its logical conclusion.”

Active in New York for the past decade, Ms. Pavone is best known for her work with the iconic Anthony Braxton, and a cadre of his former students that includes guitarist Mary Halvorson and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. In addition to leading her own bands, such as The Pavones, she has also performed in improvising ensembles led by Jeremiah Cymerman, Laurence “Butch” Morris, Matana Roberts and Eliot Sharp, as well as such collective groups as the Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo and The Thirteenth Assembly.

As a composer, she has earned grants and commissions from the Aaron Copland Recording Fund, the American Music Center, The Kitchen, MATA and the group, Till By Turning, which recently presented the European premiere of “Quotidian” at Faust’s Klangbad Festival 2009 in Germany. Her discography features more than 30 recordings, including recent releases from the Anthony Braxton 12+1tet, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings and William Parker.

Learn more at

Mary Halvorson In July

July 6, 2009
Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has a busy month of gigs planned for July, including a performance with Myra Melford’s Happy Whistlings at The Stone on July 7th before heading off to Europe with Anthony Braxton’s Diamond Curtain Wall Trio for dates at the Pomigliano Jazz Festival on July 11th and the North Sea Jazz Festival on July 12th.

She’ll then remain in Europe for two dates with her trio at Norway’s Molde Jazz Festival on July 14th and Amsterdam’s Bimhuis on July 17th.

Aside from one other sidewoman date with Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up at Barbés on July 22nd, the rest of the month will be taken up by Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo tour dates in support of their latest release, Thin Air (Thirsty Ear).

Mary Halvorson Trio
Tuesday, July 14th @ Molde Jazz Festival (Molde, Norway)
Friday, July 17th @ Bimhuis (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone
Tuesday, July 21st @ Bowery Poetry Club (New York, NY)
Saturday, July 25th @ The Windup Space (Baltimore, MD)
Monday, July 27th @ Morris Book Shop (Lexington, KY)
Tuesday, July 28th @ TBA (Mt. Comfort, IN)
Wednesday, July 29th @ The Hideout (Chicago, IL)
Thursday, July 30th @ TBA (Detroit, MI)
Friday, July 31st @ TBA (Buffalo, NY)
Saturday, August 1st @ Metropolis Underground (Syracuse, NY)

Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio
Saturday, July 11th @ Pomigliano Jazz Festival (Napoli, Italy)
Sunday, July 12th @ North Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Myra Melford’s Happy Whistlings
Tuesday, July 7th @ The Stone (New York, NY)

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up
Wednesday, July 22nd @ Barbes (Brooklyn, NY)

Taylor Ho Bynum Trio At Vancouver Jazz Fest Tomorrow Night

June 30, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

On Wednesday, July 1st at 8:00 p.m., cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum’s longstanding trio with guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara will perform at the Roundhouse Performance Centre as part of the TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Bynum is also teaching at the Vancouver Creative Music Institute this week and will perform in a quartet with Nicole Mitchell, Joëlle Léandre, and Paul Plimley on July 2nd and in the faculty-student showcase concert on July 3rd.

He will return to the States to perform with Myra Melford’s Happy Whistlings at The Stone on July 7th before jetting off again to play with Anthony Braxton’s Diamond Curtain Wall Trio at the Pomigliano Jazz Festival on July 11th and the North Sea Jazz Festival on July 12th.