AllAboutJazz.com: Jessica Pavone’s Songs Of Synastry And Solitude

December 11, 2009

In the December edition of his AllAboutJazz.com column, Live in New York, Martin Longley reviews the November 10th CD release party for Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik), violist/composer Jessica Pavone‘s latest recording, at Roulette.

Songs Of Synastry And Solitude uses a string quartet to realize a set of compositions that surely had the sound of a singer reverberating between Pavone’s lobes whilst she was penning them. The art of the song appears to be precisely what she’s addressing, but using the tools of the chamber recital…pieces make up what feels like a suite, with their sustained mood and growing weight. A beautifully miserable mood was lingeringly woven, a dark air which is in keeping with Pavone’s acknowledged immersion in the wry-humoured poetry of Leonard Cohen.”

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Jessica Pavone CD Release Concert At Roulette Tonight

November 10, 2009


Tonight at Roulette in New York, violist/composer Jessica Pavone will leave the playing to the Toomai String Quintet, as the group performs selections from her new release, Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik).

The record, part of the label’s Oracles series celebrating “the diversity and creativity of women in experimental music making,” is a collection of string quartets (violin, viola, cello and double bass) inspired by the simple beauty of American folk songs, and modeled after singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate (Columbia).

Critics have called the music “simple and stately, with a sombre grace” (Nilan Perera, Exclaim!), “wordless distillations of feeling and reflection” (Julian Cowley, The Wire) and “patient and clear, occasionally swinging and always heartfelt” (Time Out New York).

AllAboutJazz.com’s Troy Collins adds, “Songs of Synastry and Solitude is Pavone’s highest profile release as a composer to date, demonstrating her flair as a lyrical writer and supple orchestrator. A straightforward contemplation on the power of song, Songs of Synastry and Solitude is a timeless collection of elegant themes from a young composer of significant merit.”


Jessica Pavone Interview

November 5, 2009
Photo by Erica Magrey

Photo by Erica Magrey

Roulette has posted an interview with violist/composer Jessica Pavone on its blog in advance of her upcoming concert on November 10th.

Ms. Pavone and the Toomai String Quintet will be celebrating the release of her new CD, Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik).


Jessica Pavone’s Songs Of Synastry And Solitude (Tzadik)

October 27, 2009


Today is the official street date for violist/composer Jessica Pavone‘s latest recording, Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik). This release is part of the label’s 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) performed by members of the Toomai String Quintet.

Ms. Pavone and the group will celebrate the release of the record on Tuesday, November 10th with a live performance at Roulette in New York.

“Violist and composer Jessica Pavone has been a fixture on the New York scene for over a decade. Songs of Synastry and Solitude is Pavone’s highest profile release as a composer to date, demonstrating her flair as a lyrical writer and supple orchestrator. A straightforward contemplation on the power of song, Songs of Synastry and Solitude is a timeless collection of elegant themes from a young composer of significant merit.”
Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com

“…a set of 11 original compositions that are emotionally weighty and dark, yet ultimately uplifting. While there is no direct stylistic or thematic link to Cohen’s songs, Pavone communicates the same sense of inevitability and universal suffering as the singer does, and leaves the listener with the same sense that there is hope in living—if only hope that daily suffering will be alleviated by the joy of song, love, spiritual enlightenment, and other forms of grace. This is measured, deliberate music that might be a love song, a prayer or just an acknowledgment that, as John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison once sang, you’ll never get out of these blues alive.”
James Hale, Jazz Chronicles

“In this release, she has presented compositions that are simple and stately, with a sombre grace that stands in wary contrast to Cohen’s finite pronouncements. The thoroughness and narrative direction of a songwriter inform her work, much as a good folk song would…pieces are performed with sensitivity and rigor by members of the Toomai String Quintet, projecting a sober view softened occasionally by a considered wistfulness. Pavone’s music reflects an austere but tender landscape where watchfulness orders reality.”
Nilan Perera, Exclaim!

“These 11 instrumentals are songs, too, in scale and shape, wordless distillations of feeling and reflection, brief musical narratives of relationship, star-blest or star-crossed…it’s a bittersweet chamber music evoking accord or aloneness that she is after, simply rendered and neatly crafted. The inclusion of double bass heightens both mellowness and melancholy, and it serves as a pivot for elegant dance rhythms that crop up among the wistful melodies.”
Julian Cowley, The Wire


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)


Fay Victor Ensemble Tonight At Roulette (NYC) + Sunday At The Rotunda (Philly)

October 1, 2009

Vocalist/composer Fay Victor and her longstanding quartet, The Fay Victor Ensemble, will celebrate their new release, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music), tonight at Roulette in New York.

A second CD release show will follow at The Rotunda in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Critical praise for the disc, and Ms. Victor’s innovative approach to creative improvised music, continues to roll in.

“Fay Victor’s second recording of original material, The FreeSong Suite, peers into the NYC-based vocalist’s challenging and rewarding world of captivating vocal work and stirring spontaneity,” explains PopMatters.com’s Andrew Zender, “further augmenting [her] status as a musician and composer who is rewriting the rules of vocal jazz.”

“Each piece on The FreeSong Suite gradually unfolds, emerging from a tapestry of improvisation to reveal precisely executed transitions, grooves and ensemble passages,” writes AllAboutJazz-New York‘s Wilbur MacKenzie. “Victor scats, vocalizes, chips, mumbles and sings bluesy chromatics or angular displays of dexterity, delivering the unexpected with beauty, depth and innovation.”

The Jazz Session‘s Jason Crane adds, “Vocalist Fay Victor will amaze you. Her voice is strong and expressive, and her musical conception is unlike anything I’ve heard recently. Or maybe ever. From free improv to the blues to alt-rock and back again, The FreeSong Suite is easily one of my top 10 records of 2009.”

Learn more at http://fayvictor.wordpress.com


Fay Victor’s The FreeSong Suite Released Today

September 22, 2009

Today is the official street date for The Fay Victor Ensemble‘s latest release, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music).

This is New York-based vocalist/composer Fay Victor‘s sixth recording as a leader and her second with this longstanding group, which features guitarist Anders Nilsson, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Michael “TA” Thompson.

The FreeSong Suite documents Ms. Victor’s new stream of consciousness approach to creative vocal music, which accentuates spontaneity and improvisation by removing traditional boundaries between individual songs and genres.

It features three long-form pieces made up of smaller compositions that flow in and out of each other as a running dialog.

CD release performances are set for October 1st in New York at Roulette and October 4th at The Rotunda in Philadelphia.

Ms. Victor, who co-curates the weekly Evolving Voice Vocal Series at New York’s The Local 269 in conjunction with Rise Up Creative Music & Arts (RUCMA), will also be performing throughout the fall with projects such as Fay Victor’s Jazz Vault, The Exposed Blues Duo and Twisted Standards and Free Explorations with Hilliard Greene, Dom Minasi and special guest Oleg Kireyev.

Learn more at http://fayvictor.wordpress.com