Firehouse 12 To Present The Darius Jones Trio November 20th

October 21, 2009
Photo by John Sharpe

Photo by John Sharpe

On Friday, November 20th, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present a two-set celebration of New York-based alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones‘ long-awaited debut CD, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity). Described by Jones as “a sonic tone poem about me and my life growing up in the South,” the record draws on such early influences as his Jamaican father’s love of reggae, the revelatory vocal music of the church and countless hours of listening to everything from classical to rock on the radio. Recently heralded as “a new voice poised to receive widespread acclaim” (Troy Collins,, Jones brings this diverse and passionate music to life with his mentors, the eminent master musicians Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums).

“On Man’ish Boy,” writes’s Ed Hazell, “alto saxophonist Darius Jones delivers one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory, displaying a remarkably well-developed concept and individual sound. Jones has a big, fleshy, lived-in tone, with a vibrato that owes as much to Johnny Hodges as it does to Albert Ayler. It’s defiant, vulnerable, proud, and weary; there is laughter and sobbing in it.” Jason Crane, host of The Jazz Session and columnist at, adds, “For his debut statement, 31-year-old Jones wanted to tell his story. To talk about what it means to be poor and black and struggling and intelligent in this day and age. Jones has fit all that and more into an incredible recording that will make you sing, make you weep and make you marvel.”

Jones came to New York from his native Virginia in 2005 and has since displayed his distinctive musical voice in a wide variety of genres. Pianist/composer Matthew Shipp writes, “He is one of those rare talents that when you first hear him you scratch your head, because it’s all there—the concept, the virtuosity, a real improvisational mind. I feel really good about the future of this music knowing that a real and pure talent like Darius exists.” In addition to his own trio, Jones actively performs with Lewis Barnes’ Hampton Roads, the Cooper-Moore Trio, William Hooker’s Bliss (East), Little Women, Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys and Mara Rosenbloom’s Arrival Quartet. He is also a teacher and producer of records by Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and country-folk artist Mary Bragg. 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:

Signal To Noise Covers Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone

April 1, 2009

Kurt Gottschalk’s feature about Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone is the cover story in the new Spring 2009 issue of Signal To Noise.

The piece, complete with new original photos by Alexander Richter, explores the pair’s seven-year musical partnership, as well as their work—both together and apart—in numerous other ensembles. 

The duo‘s third CD, Thin Air, was released last week as part of Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series, curated by Matthew Shipp.

Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone’s Thin Air Released Today

March 24, 2009

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Thin Air, the third recording from the duo of guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone, is out today on Thirsty Ear Recordings’ The Blue Series, curated by Matthew Shipp.’s Troy Collins writes, “Sharing vocal duties, they sing oblique cadences in harmonious polyphony, yielding a hauntingly poignant tonality. As longstanding accomplices, each musician’s turn of phrase, sudden pause and change in pitch reveals a level of interplay that borders on the clairvoyant. Conceived by artists who operate outside labels, Thin Air is a record, in the immortal words of Duke Ellington, simply ‘beyond category.”

The official CD release party is tomorrow night, March 25th, at Barbès in Brooklyn, and the duo will tour the Northeast U.S. in mid-April.  

Halvorson and Pavone will also perform at the Skirl Records party at Brooklyn’s Bell House on Saturday, April 11th.

Cleaver/Parker/Taborn In New York And Baltimore This Weekend

January 14, 2009

The working trio of drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist William Parker and pianist Craig Taborn will perform two live shows this weekend, Friday, January 16th at The Stone in New York and the following night at An Die Musik in Baltimore.

These performances will celebrate the group’s debut recording, Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity), which documents its most recent performance at The Stone this past June, coming out February 10th.

Conceived by Cleaver, this communion of notable improvisers was founded to create a distinctive brand of music based on spontaneously sowing seeds of sound and bringing them to full blossom. Each concert is a unique, fully improvised  experience as the musicians adapt the group’s continually evolving sound to the demands of the moment at hand.

Most recently heard together on record as three-quarters of the Rob Brown Ensemble on that group’s 2008 release, Crown Trunk Root Funk (AUM044), these acclaimed New York-based musicians have worked together in a variety of settings. 

The musical relationship between Cleaver and Taborn stretches back to their college days, working together in the early 1990’s as part of Detroit’s storied jazz scene.  Parker and Cleaver first recorded together in groups led by pianist Matthew Shipp, and Cleaver appears on Parker’s 2008 orchestral release, Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM047).’s Troy Collins recently noted these three frequent collaborators “demonstrate their affable interplay with fluid invention.”

Vision Festival XIII Reviewed in the December Issue of Jazz Improv NY

December 11, 2008

This just in from our better-late-than-never bureau, writer Ken Weiss’ extensive review of Vision Festival XIII, held in New York this past June, graces the pages of the December issue of Jazz Improv NY.  

The review, which spans four pages, including an entire page of original photos, covers a wide range of performances from three of the six nights of the festival, as well as the Saturday afternoon Emerging Artist Showcase.

It’s a great way to get a feel for the diversity of this seminal week-long event, which Weiss calls “New York City’s premier annual avant-garde mystical happening.”  He adds, “this festival continues to serve as the foundation that stabilizes the city’s creative jazz music scene, offering a meeting place for fans (many of whom come from Europe each year) and fellow musicians to experience some of the current integral soundshapers and also for industry types to congregate and make new connections with artists.”

If you don’t live in New York, where the magazine is distributed free at venues and other jazz-related sites, you can download this month’s issue, with Jimmy Heath on the cover, here (PDF).  The review begins on page 10.