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.”


Spearmint Music: Jessica Pavone Interview

December 1, 2009

Photo by Jessica Pavone

This past Wednesday, New York-based musician, writer and WKCR DJ Kurt Gottschalk posted an interview with violist/composer Jessica Pavone on his blog, Spearmint Music, as part of the ongoing series, High Bias, which asks prominent musicians to answer a dozen standard questions.

Her latest record, Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik), was released October 27th.


Remembering 2009

November 23, 2009

Image from TheDailyGreen.com
The latest can to be kicked around the jazz blogosphere (and beyond) is what records make the cut as the best of the decade.

As much as we enjoy the opportunity to reminisce about our first seven-plus years in business, and the 135 recordings we promoted for our clients in that span, we’re not quite ready to dip a toe in that nearly bottomless pool just yet.

But, we’re more than happy to shine a light on the recordings we promoted for our clients in 2009 (in order of their release).

Hopefully at least a few of these will end up on your year’s best list or at least your list for Santa.

David S. Ware
Shakti (AUM Fidelity)

Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn
Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity)

The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra
Muse (Creative Nation Music)

Garrison Fewell
Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records)

Michael Musillami Trio + 3
From Seeds (Playscape Recordings)

The Fully Celebrated
Drunk On The Blood Of The Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity)

John Hébert
Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records)

Carl Maguire’s Floriculture
Sided Silver Solid (Firehouse 12 Records)

Joe Morris/Petr Cancura/Luther Gray
Wildlife (AUM Fidelity)

KLANG
Tea Music (Allos Documents)

Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records)

Fay Victor Ensemble
The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

Fonda/Stevens Group
Memphis (Playscape Recordings)

Harris Eisenstadt
Canada Day (Clean Feed)

Darius Jones Trio
Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

Joe Morris Quartet
Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity)

Jessica Pavone
Songs Of Synastry And Solitude (Tzadik)

Bill Dixon
Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records)


JazzTimes: Taylor Ho Bynum, Darius Jones and Jessica Pavone

November 16, 2009


The December issue of JazzTimes arrived this weekend and with it reviews of three of our clients’ most recent releases, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings’ Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity) and Jessica Pavone’s Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik).

Michael J. West called Madeleine Dreams‘ title track “a six-movement suite that intriguingly blends chamber classical, beatnik jazz, indie-rock and free improvisation, dominated by violin (Jason Kao Hwang), viola (Jessica Pavone), cello (Tomas Ulrich) and stately, evocative moods. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura recited magical-realism vignettes, based on an acclaimed novel by Bynum’s sister, that blur the line between reality and the world of dreams…it’s a fun listen.”

Jones, 31, is a hotshot we should keep our eyes and ears on,” declared Steve Greenlee. “He’s got a raw but disciplined sound, a head full of ideas and a heart full of talent. On his debut album, he plays sweetly, melodically, plaintively, raucously and discordantly. He plays outside and in. He goes from blues to swing to free and back again. He never wastes a note or a breath.”

Jessica Pavone has begun making a name for herself in the world of modern improvised music,” wrote Mike Shanley, “but those words only go so far when trying to describe her work. Performed by members of the Toomai String Quintet (Pavone doesn’t appear on the disc), the music doesn’t reside in the frenetic free zone where the composer sometimes dwells. Each track averages about four minutes in length, with many going through a few different sections, yet the whole work flows together like a complete, compelling composition.”


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).


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

October 29, 2009

Songs of Synastry and Solitude is full of lyrical beauty and lush melodicism,” writes Dusted‘s Adam Strohm, “but it’s smart and spare, composed with an economy that never veers into anything saccharine. Performed with aplomb, these songs, no matter their tips of the hat, sound clean and fresh, imbued with an unobtrusive slice of personality. It’s further evidence (though, by now, hardly needed) that Jessica Pavone is a vital force in New York’s music community, capable and competent of playing way out in left field, or keeping things much closer to home.”


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


Previewing Our Clients’ Fall Performances

August 21, 2009
Mary Halvorson Trio by Peter Gannushkin

Mary Halvorson Trio by Peter Gannushkin

Here’s a preview of our clients’ Fall 2009 live dates in support of recent, current or forthcoming recordings.

[Updated 9/12/09]

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society:

09/17 :: New Languages Festival (Brooklyn, NY)
09/18 :: The Jazz Gallery (New York, NY)
10/19 :: Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza @ The Bell House (Brooklyn, NY)
11/25 :: Iridium Jazz Club (New York, NY)

AUM Fidelity:

09/11 :: Joe Morris’ Wildlife @ Outpost 186 (Cambridge, MA)
10/14 :: Joe Morris Quartet @ The Local 269 (New York, NY)
10/15 :: David S. Ware/Darius Jones Trio/William Parker & Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra @ Abrons Arts Center (New York, NY)
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio @ Firehouse 12 (New Haven, CT)

Taylor Ho Bynum:

09/19 :: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings @ The Jazz Gallery (New York, NY)
09/25 :: Positive Catastrophe @ New Languages Festival (Brooklyn, NY)

Creative Nation Music:

09/05 :: Fewell/Hofbauer Duo @ Outpost 186 (Cambridge, MA)
09/23 :: Eric Hofbauer & The Infrared Band @ Cambridge YMCA Theater (Cambridge, MA)
09/30 :: Fewell/Hofbauer Duo @ OM (Cambridge, MA)
10/03 :: Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra @ Outpost 186 (Cambridge, MA)

Harris Eisenstadt & Canada Day:

09/16 :: Clean Feed Fest IV @ Cornelia Connelly Center (New York, NY)
10/24 :: Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
10/25 :: Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
10/27 :: York University (Toronto, ON)
10/27 :: Tranzac (Toronto, ON)
10/28 :: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (Buffalo, NY)
10/29 :: The Bop Shop (Rochester, NY)

James Falzone’s KLANG:

08/30 :: Chicago Jazz Festival preview @ Hungry Brain (Chicago, IL)
08/31 :: Chicago Jazz Festival preview @ Skylark (Chicago, IL)
09/06 :: Chicago Jazz Festival (Chicago, IL)
09/23 :: The Hideout (Chicago, IL)
11/18 :: Thomas Moore College (Covington, KY)
11/19 :: Bela Dubby (Cleveland, OH)
11/20 :: Kerrytown Concert House (Ann Arbor, MI)
11/21 :: The Sugar Maple (Milwaukee, WI)
11/22 :: The Hungry Brain (Chicago, IL)

Firehouse 12 Records:

09/19 :: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings @ The Jazz Gallery (New York, NY)
09/25 :: John Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey @ Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
09/26 :: John Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey @ Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)

Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo:

10/25 :: Studio Odeon (Bruxelles, Belgium)
10/27 :: Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome, Italy)
10/29 :: Vooruit (Gent, Belgium)
10/31 :: Botticino Jazz Festival (Botticino, Italy)

Mary Halvorson Trio:

12/07 :: Cafe Wilhelmina (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
12/08 :: Stadtgarten (Cologne, Germany)
12/09 :: Alter Schl8hof (Wels, Austria)
12/11 :: Jazz Dock (Prague, Czech Republic)
12/13 :: Venue TBA, (Ueberlingen, Germany)
12/14 :: The Vortex Jazz Club (London, England)
12/16 :: Rote Fabrik (Zurich, Switzerland)

Mary Halvorson Quintet:

09/11 :: International House (Philadelphia, PA)
12/02 :: Barbès (Brooklyn, NY)
12/04 :: Firehouse 12 (New Haven, CT)

Jessica Pavone & The Toomai String Quintet:

11/10: Roulette (New York, NY)

Playscape Recordings

10/15 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Bucharest, Romania
10/16 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Sibiu, Romania
10/17 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia
10/19 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Budapest, Hungary
10/20 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Budapest, Hungary
10/21 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Muenster, Germany
10/22 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Katowice, Poland
10/23 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Katowice, Poland
10/24 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Nurnberg, Germany
10/25 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Brussels, Belgium
10/26 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Neustadt, Germany
10/27 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Bergneustadt, Germany
10/28 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Dornbirn, Austria
10/29 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Leverkeusen, Germany
10/30 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Oberengstringen, Switzerland
10/31 :: The Fonda/Stevens Group in Saignelegier, Switzerland

Fay Victor Ensemble:

10/01 :: Roulette (New York, NY)
10/04 :: The Rotunda (Philadelphia, PA)


Tzadik To Release Jessica Pavone’s New CD In October

August 12, 2009
Photo by Erica Magrey

Photo by Erica Magrey

On October 27th, Tzadik will release violist/composer Jessica Pavone‘s Songs of Synastry and Solitude (TZ 7719) as part of the 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) being performed by members of the Toomai String Quintet. The group will celebrate the release of the record on Tuesday, November 10th with a live performance at Roulette in New York.

The music on Songs of Synastry and Solitude grew out of the composing process for her 2007 release, Quotidian (Peacock Recordings), which documents a four-part suite that examines the temporal landmarks within each day. “I was most satisfied with the results of ‘Post Meridiem’, the afternoon piece,” Ms. Pavone remembers, “which explored informal music for one’s self in the middle of the day, in contrast to formal evening concerts. I wanted to continue writing string music based on the ideas in that piece, but for a quartet with double bass, which gives the music more flexibility and allows me to more easily draw from my folk music influence—the idea being I am writing ‘songs’ for a ‘classical’ ensemble.”

“I don’t feel like my music has something grandiose to portray,” she continues. “I just want it to sound real. I’m a songwriter that just happens to write instrumental songs—I hear music for small and intimate ensembles—and that was my approach to these string quartets. There is a lot of arpeggiation of chords throughout the ensemble emulating a finger picked guitar as well as a chorus/verse structure and an emphasis on simplicity. As I was composing these songs, I would check out older European composers’ string quartet scores and recordings, and every time said to myself, ‘I would never write music like this.’ Then there’d be times I’d hear a song by the Soul Stirrers or Leonard Cohen and think, ‘Ah, I would write music like this. I am going to borrow forms from this.'”

The influence of Cohen, and his dichotomous 1970 recording, are felt throughout this project, both in name and the underlying intent of the composer. “There’s a deep, unexplainable feeling I get from listening to his music,” says Ms. Pavone. “I feel like he encourages me to live outside this world and to explore what I call ‘the ghosts of all things lost’, reminders of past moments in my life that are still oddly familiar, but no longer part of my present existence. I want my music to have a heaviness—a weight that people feel and not just hear—as I try to recreate the feeling of his music, as well as my experience feeling his music.”

“Jessica Pavone is one of the busiest young performers on the city’s creative music scene,” declared Steve Dollar in a 2008 feature in the New York Sun, “lending her strings and a direct, personal style of playing them to all kinds of settings.” Jazz Review‘s Philip Clark writes, “We learn things from her music that we didn’t already know. [Her] harmonic openness turns the microscope on herself and she responds with lines of honest clarity, an oblique perspective on the familiar.” AllMusic.com’s Charlie Wilmouth adds, “Her work possesses an uncommon amount of elegance…each piece is perfectly formed, expiring just as its tiny collection of melodic materials cycles through to its logical conclusion.”

Active in New York for the past decade, Ms. Pavone is best known for her work with the iconic Anthony Braxton, and a cadre of his former students that includes guitarist Mary Halvorson and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. In addition to leading her own bands, such as The Pavones, she has also performed in improvising ensembles led by Jeremiah Cymerman, Laurence “Butch” Morris, Matana Roberts and Eliot Sharp, as well as such collective groups as the Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo and The Thirteenth Assembly.

As a composer, she has earned grants and commissions from the Aaron Copland Recording Fund, the American Music Center, The Kitchen, MATA and the group, Till By Turning, which recently presented the European premiere of “Quotidian” at Faust’s Klangbad Festival 2009 in Germany. Her discography features more than 30 recordings, including recent releases from the Anthony Braxton 12+1tet, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings and William Parker.

Learn more at http://www.jessicapavone.com