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.

Mario Pavone’s New CD, Ancestors, Released Today on Playscape Recordings

November 4, 2008

Playscape Recordings is proud to announce the November 4th release of acclaimed bassist/composer Mario Pavone‘s latest CD, Ancestors (PSR#011508), the recorded debut of newest working ensemble, the Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet.  This recording features eight original Pavone compositions written specifically for this group and its all-star line-up of Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano saxophones), Jimmy Greene (tenor and soprano saxophones), Peter Madsen (piano) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).  The band will be performing this music on its European tour in late November, and at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club on January 7th.

“The towering twin tenor approach is the focal point for Ancestors,” explains the All Music Guide‘s Michael G. Nastos, “utilizing two of the finest young, experienced, and individualistic saxophone players in modern jazz music—Tony Malaby and Jimmy Greene. Add the under-appreciated but awesome pianist Peter Madsen and the reliable juggernaut of a drummer, Gerald Cleaver, and you have the makings for a truly superior combo, one of the best Pavone has ever fronted. While Pavone’s recordings are generally reliable and pointedly original, this effort is close to his very best, and deserves consideration for best jazz CD of 2008.” 

“I had been playing with Tony and Jimmy for more than eight years, but always separately, so I was keen to combine their complementary yet contrasting styles into one group,” Pavone explains. “Gerald and I have played and recorded a lot together and the great Peter Madsen, who has appeared on my last nine CDs, is almost indispensable to me. Wrapping my rhythm section around a double tenor color like this, especially one with this much grace and power, was a dream come true. The resulting sound seems larger than just five players and is almost orchestral. It may well be my favorite album so far.”

“On his day,” declared veteran jazz reviewer Brian Morton in the current issue of Point of Departure, “Mario Pavone is one of the very best — and when on his game, by far the best –- small-group composer/leaders working on the East Coast.”  Critics have called him “a smart composer” (Nate Chinen, New York Times) and “a protean bassist” (Paul Blair, Hot House) who “never fails to implant an effective hook” (Bill Shoemaker, DownBeat) and “continues to move the tradition forward with every record” (John Kelman,  His music has been described as “exciting and stimulating” (Jay Collins, Cadence), “sensitive and probing” (Owen McNally, Hartford Courant) and “full of smart angular swagger” (Michael Rosenstein, Signal to Noise).

Originally an engineer by trade, Pavone dropped everything to attend John Coltrane’s funeral in 1967, where he decided on the spot to dedicate the rest of his life to music. He has since spent the last four decades defining the cutting edge of jazz, both as a sideman to legendary innovators and the leader of groups featuring some of today’s most respected young improvisers.  His recordings have appeared on best-of-the-year lists in publications such as,, AllAboutJazz-New York, Cadence, the Hartford Courant and the Village Voice among others.  In addition to his ongoing activities as a bandleader, Pavone’s artwork and photography have graced the covers of dozens of recordings since the mid 90’s, and he currently serves as an educator, administrator and board member for the Litchfield Jazz Festival and Litchfield Summer Jazz Music Institute in Litchfield, Connecticut.