Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone - Thin Air (Thirsty Ear, 2009)

Guitarist Mary Halvorson and violinist Jessica Pavone have a unique conception of jazz and improvised music, adding snippets of indie rock and classical music to make a unique combination. On this duet album, all of their influences come together. "For You or Them" opens with harmony vocals and guitar joining sawing violin making for a haunting avant-pop sound. "Thin Air" begins with gentle guitar and vocals in harmony before it becomes discordant and fractured like a fun house mirror where all is not as it seems. "Juice" has romantic violin which then scrapes into action backed by pointillist guitar. "Sinking" is one of the high points with a quasi-classical feel, slightly un-nerving getting wild with swooping violin before returning to the somber melody. The performance moves into slashing guitar chords and swooping violin and sweet tempting vocals. "Lull" is another fine song, opening with gentle violin and probing gently plucked guitar. "... and Goodnight" ends things on a gentle and melodic note. This is an interesting and unusual album that deftly melds downtown jazz with skewered pop and makes for music unlike anything else out there, and should be appealing to fans of thoughtful jazz or pop music.
Thin Air -

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