Friday, May 11, 2012

Mary Halvorson - Bending Bridges (Firehouse 12, 2012)

Daring guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been garnering much attention for her work as a collaborator and a leader on several notable albums. After releasing 2011's highly regarded Saturn Sings, she is back in the leadership role, working with Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto saxophone, John Hebert on bass and Ches Smith on drums. The album is an interesting and well shaded set of music that takes its inspiration from a variety of sources from avant-garde jazz to rock music, but remains true to the band's risk taking musical nature. "Hemorrhaging Smiles (No. 25)" shows her guitar getting crunchy during an improvised section backed by great drumming, with the horns adding a sunny and memorable melody. Halvorson shows an angular sense of guitar playing on "Forgotten Men In Silver (No. 24)" in a trio concept developing a mysterious and enigmatic music filled with atmosphere and tension. "The Periphery Of Scandal (No. 23)" is another trio track where the group takes a more open and spacious approach becoming increasingly stronger as they develop a thrilling section of distorted guitar and pulsating drums. These are some highlights, but the whole album is a compelling listen and another feather in the cap of one of the most fascinating musicians in contemporary jazz. Mary Halvorson has developed her own unique conception of music, and it is very exciting to hear. As this group stays together and gets more performing opportunities the music becomes all the more powerful. Bending Bridges - amazon.com

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