“As with the previous release Wildlife, ” he writes, “there is a distinct ensemble voice, a lithe, supple sound comes through, and looks as if it will continue to grow over time. Morris’ rising stature as a composer-leader and soloist is indisputable.”
Fresh off a successful European duo tour with Jessica Pavone that ended earlier in the month, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson is only playing a few gigs in November with Crackleknob, Ellery Eskelin and Lisa Mezzacappa.
Next month things heat up again when she will play two gigs with her quintet, record the follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records), and head back to Europe for a week-long tour with her longstanding trio featuring John Hébert and Ches Smith.
11/15 :: Douglass Street Music Collective (Brooklyn, NY)
11/21 :: Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
11/22 :: Zebulon (Brooklyn, NY)
On Friday, December 4th, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present acclaimed Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson and her newest ensemble, the Mary Halvorson Quintet. 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), will feature 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 a week later to record all new material for its forthcoming 2010 release on Firehouse 12 Records.
“Mary Halvorson is the freshest, busiest, most critically acclaimed guitar-slinger out of downtown Manhattan/Brooklyn right now,” declared eminent jazz critic/author Howard Mandel on his blog, Jazz Beyond Jazz. Critics have also called her “a new voice on the instrument” (Philip McNally, Cadence), “probably the most original jazz guitarist to emerge this decade” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader) and “the most impressive guitarist of her generation” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com). “She plays guitar in a way that fractures conventions,” added Steve Dollar in the New York Sun, “restlessly inventing her own paradigms.”
An active member of the diverse New York music scene since 2002, Ms. Halvorson has toured the globe with groups spanning a wide variety of genres. In addition to her trio and quintet, she co-leads a genre-defiant duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock trio People and the improvising collective The Thirteenth Assembly. She is also a member of several of iconic saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton’s ensembles, as well as groups led by Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Myra Melford, Tom Rainey and Marc Ribot among others. Her discography features nearly 25 releases on more than 15 labels, including her first effort as a bandleader, Dragon’s Head, which the New York Times‘ Nate Chinen called “one of the standout jazz albums of 2008.” Learn more at http://maryhalvorson.com
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:
Excerpts from recent blog reviews of the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity):
“The music, performed by Morris (guitar), Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Timo Shanko (bass) and Luther Gray (drums), holds up quite impressively under repeated listenings. The tracks are fairly long (4 over 10 minutes and only 1 under 7), but several of them move so gracefully (‘Observer’, ‘Ashes’) it’s easy to get lost in the sonic world the quartet creates. It’s been over 3 decades since Joe Morris first came to critical notice and he continues to grow as a composer and musician, creating challenging music for open minds.”
—Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant’s See! Hear!
“Joe Morris is having one of them crazy years. Nothing can seem to stop him, as he is releasing one CD after another. The latest—and best!—one is this studio session with his quartet. One of the best jazz albums of 2009.”
—François Couture, Monsieur Delire
“Four of the seven tracks on Today On Earth clock in at 10 or 11 minutes, and all of that time is well spent. Of his recent releases, this album is one of the best place to start (behind the Flow Trio), since its places his adventurous improvisational chops in a setting that makes them stand out even more.”
—Mike Shanley, shanleyonmusic
“…the main strength of the album is the truly wonderful compositions, which are refined, carefully structured, compelling and beautifully performed…here [Morris’] playing is much closer to the traditional jazz guitar, and I must say, it suits him well. And the band is absolutely stunning, in its pretenseless, unassuming playing, yet delivering a rare level of combined accuracy of tone and interaction, giving space, dialoguing well, giving the right emphasis at the right time, and adding loads of emotional depth: truly great. But as said, the real treat are the compositions, with themes like ‘Animal’ or ‘Observer’ that will keep ringing in your head long after you’ve stopped listening to the music.”
—Stef Gijssels, Free Jazz
It’s Joe Morris‘ world and we’re just working in it. Or at least that’s what you might think given the guitarist/bassist’s prolific output these days, which includes appearances on nearly two dozen recordings since the beginning of 2008.
We’re pleased to say that his recent efforts as a leader-co-leader, not to mention his sideman work on David S. Ware’s latest recording, Shakti, for AUM Fidelity have been among his most well-received of the bunch.
Three new interviews with Morris were posted this week exploring his career, and the latest Joe Morris Quartet recording, Today On Earth, from different angles. Please check them out at le son du grisli, The Jazz Session and Spinner.com
“The album feels fresh and playful,” writes Michael Roberts about the former, “displaying the creative exuberance typically associated with young players in the joy-of-discovery phase. [Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs’] approach empasizes wit, accessibility and a willingness to venture into disparate stylistic territories…the longtime bandmates can do more than genre-hop. The Fully Celebrated’s heady blend brims with a vitality that hasn’t ebbed with the passage of time.”
“Guitarist Michael Musillami performs one of the best high-wire acts in jazz,” declares Ed Hazell, “walking the line between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ without ever losing his poise. There’s no predicting the direction of any given tune. Arrangements make consistently imaginative and effective use of the horns. Seamlessly assembled and performed, From Seeds features not such a trio plus three as a fully realized sextet.”
Tonight, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson and her newest group, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, will open Ars Nova Workshop‘s 10th anniversary season with a performance at the International House in Philadelphia.
The line-up for this concert will feature Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto saxophone), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).
This will be one of only three performances this fall, with varying personnel due to scheduling conflicts, before the group goes into the studio to record the follow-up to Ms. Halvorson’s widely acclaimed debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records).
She will also be performing this month with Matthew Welch’s Blarvuster on September 17th and 18th at The Kitchen in New York and with Ches Smith and These Arches on September 23rd at Barbès in Brooklyn.