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.

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Daniel Levin Trio At Firehouse 12 Tonight

December 18, 2009

Photo by Rossetti©Phocus

Tonight, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will conclude its fifth anniversary Fall Jazz Series with a two-set performance by the Daniel Levin Trio.

Led by cellist/composer Daniel Levin, a veteran of the New Haven music scene making his sixth appearance at Firehouse 12, the two year-old group features Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Chicago-based drummer Frank Rosaly, who replaced Gerald Cleaver following the band’s 2008 debut recording, Fuhuffah (Clean Feed).

This performance, which will be recorded for possible future release, will be the fourth and final event in the band’s December tour.

Learn more in this feature in yesterday’s Hartford Courant.


Amy Cervini Quartet At Firehouse 12 Tonight

December 11, 2009

Photo by Melanie Einzig

Tonight, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present the penultimate event of its fifth annual Fall Jazz Series, a two-set celebration of New York-based vocalist Amy Cervini‘s latest release, Lovefool (Orange Grove Jazz/ANZIC Records).

The record, her second with the Amy Cervini Quartet (ACQ), features distinctive arrangements of an eclectic mix of love-themed songs from The Cardigans, Blossom Dearie, Depeche Mode, Green Day, Fred Hersch, Jack Johnson and Willie Nelson among others.

This performance, featuring pianist Michael Cabe, bassist Mark Lau and drummer Ernest Cervini, is the third and final stop on the group’s East Coast tour.

Critics have credited Ms. Cervini with a “freshly appealing voice” (Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star) and “enough heart to convince a listener of her sincerity and enough musical talent to make it worth listening” (Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Doug Fischer adds, “what she does is sing terrific, gimmick-free jazz…with poise, intelligence and an unforced honesty that made every song ring like it was her own. Despite the sweeping changes—perhaps because of them—Cervini approaches the songs in a precisely crafted way that leaves little to chance. But that doesn’t mean her music doesn’t contain surprises, like an unforeseen upturn in a phrase, a deliciously drawn out ending or a humorous vamp.”


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.


Darius Jones Trio At Firehouse 12 Tonight

November 20, 2009

Tonight, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 presents 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.

Heralded as “a new voice poised to receive widespread acclaim” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), 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 PointofDeparture.org’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 PopDose.com, 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.”


Firehouse 12 To Present The Daniel Levin Trio December 18th

November 18, 2009

Photo by Rossetti©Phocus

On Friday, December 18th, Firehouse 12‘s fifth anniversary Fall Jazz Series will conclude with a two-set performance by the Daniel Levin Trio. Led by cellist/composer Daniel Levin, a veteran of the New Haven music scene making his sixth appearance at Firehouse 12, the two year-old group features Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Chicago-based drummer Frank Rosaly, who replaced Gerald Cleaver following the band’s 2008 debut recording, Fuhuffah (Clean Feed). This performance, which will be recorded for possible future release, will be the fourth and final event in the band’s December tour.

An imaginative variation on the traditional sax-bass-drums trio, the Daniel Levin Trio creatively explores the intersection of free jazz and chamber music. As it has matured, and gained experience finding its own sound, it has also incorporated elements from folk music and other genres. “A vibrant and assertive detour from his usual chamber oriented quartet offerings,” writes AllAboutJazz.com, “Fuhuffah offers another facet of Levin’s growing abilities as an improviser and writer of note.” Dusted.com’s Bill Meyer adds, “Levin’s playing is as elegant and eloquent realizing the contours of an old folk tune as it is engaging the rest of the trio in splintered, freeform exchange. The sound may be different, but Fuhuffah reveals the consistency of Levin’s concerns as a player and a shaper of group sound.”

Levin, a native of Burlington, Vermont, began playing cello at age six, and focused exclusively on classical music until the chance to improvise with a dancer at a festival when he was 19 put him on the path to writing and improvising his own music. Now 35, and based in New York, he has created a body of work that features collaborations with Anthony Braxton, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris, William Parker and Ken Vandermark among many others. In addition to his trio, and membership in groups such as the Rob Brown Trio, Levin leads a longstanding quartet that has recorded four titles since 2003, including his latest, Live At Roulette (Clean Feed). Learn more at http://www.daniel-levin.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:
http://firehouse12.com/performance_space_calendar.asp


Peter Evans Quartet At Firehouse 12 Tonight

November 13, 2009

Photo by C. Neil Scott

Tonight at 8:30 and 10:00 p.m., Firehouse 12‘s fifth annual Fall Jazz Series will present the New Haven debut of The Peter Evans Quartet.

The group, which recorded its highly acclaimed eponymous debut for Firehouse 12 Records in 2007, is led by trumpeter/composer Peter Evans, who critics have called “a new jazz star” (Brian Morton, Jazz Review) with “the kind of mad chops and conceptual smarts that surface just a few times in every lifetime” (Peter Margasak, DownBeat).

The current version of the ensemble, his main outlet as a bandleader, features pianist Ricardo Gallo, bassist Tom Blancarte and drummer Kevin Shea.