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.

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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 & Jessica Pavone Tour America

July 24, 2009
Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone‘s latest American tour starts this weekend.

The duo is back on the road supporting its third and latest release, Thin Air (Thirsty Ear), which AllAboutJazz.com’s Farrell Lowe calls “an eminent document by two powerful new voices of the 21st century.”

Here’s the latest itinerary:

Saturday, July 25th: The Windup Space (Baltimore, MD)
Monday, July 27th: Morris Book Shop (Lexington, KY)
Tuesday, July 28th: Mt. Comfort (Indianapolis, IN)
Wednesday, July 29th: The Hideout (Chicago, IL)
Thursday, July 30th: Le Petit Zinc (Detroit, MI)
Friday, July 31st: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (Buffalo, NY)
Saturday, August 1st: Metropolis Underground (Syracuse, NY)


Taylor Ho Bynum Tour Moves to Boston Sunday Night

November 15, 2008


Sunday, November 16th at 3:00 p.m.
Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
Hammond Performing Arts Series
The Boston Center for the Arts (BCA)
539 Tremont Street in Boston, MA (South End)
MBTA: Green Line (Copley); Orange Line (Back Bay); Bus #43

Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet; Kyoko Kitamura, voice and electronics; Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Jessica Pavone, viola; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Pete Fitzpatrick, guitar; Joseph Daley, tuba; Luther Gray, drums

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum will follow-up his two-night stand at New York’s Jazz Gallery with a free Sunday afternoon concert at the Boston Center for the Arts featuring his improvising chamber ensemble, SpiderMonkey Strings.

The group will be presenting the Boston premiere of Bynum’s innovative secular oratorio, Madeleine Dreams, which it will record at the end of the tour for its forthcoming 2009 release on Firehouse 12 Records.

Inspired by the novel Madeleine is Sleeping (Harcourt), a 2004 National Book Award finalist written by Bynum’s sister, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, the piece draws text from the book while further exploring its theme of the logic of dreams, a recurring thread in Bynum’s work as a composer.