MARY HALVORSON — Mary Halvorson Octet : Away With You

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MARY HALVORSON - Mary Halvorson Octet : Away With You cover
4.43 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2016

Tracklist

1. Spirit Splitter (no. 54) (6:19)
2. Away With You (no. 55) (8:07)
3. The Absolute Almost (no. 52) (9:56)
4. Sword Barrel (no. 58) (4:38)
5. Old King Misfit (no. 57) (7:32)
6. Fog Bank (no. 56) (5:30)
7. Safety Orange (no. 59) (5:12)
8. Inky Ribbons (no. 53) (8:38)

Line-up/Musicians

Alto Saxophone – Jon Irabagon
Bass – John Hébert
Drums – Ches Smith
Guitar – Mary Halvorson
Pedal Steel Guitar – Susan Alcorn
Tenor Saxophone – Ingrid Laubrock
Trombone – Jacob Garchik
Trumpet – Jonathan Finlayson

About this release

Firehouse 12 Records ‎– FH12-04-01-024 (US)

Recorded December 17th & 18th, 2015 at Firehouse 12

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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MARY HALVORSON MARY HALVORSON OCTET : AWAY WITH YOU reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
On her latest CD, “Away With You”, Mary Halvorson expands beyond her usual small group format and utilizes a full octet, and the end result is one of the best albums of her still growing career. Mary is already well known as an interesting improviser and composer, but with this new mini-big band, Halverson shows she is also a superb arranger and manipulator of large ensembles. Many of the pieces on here morph and change in organic ways that are difficult to write out, instead, much like previous masters such as Ellington and Mingus, Halvorson has learned the fine art of leading an ensemble through abstract communication while the improvising process is taking place. The end result is an ensemble that can move together as one mind.

With so many musicians to work with, Mary achieves a myriad of tone colors on “Away With You”, and often breaks the group down into small duos and trios. The icing on the tone color cake is pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, who often meshes with Halvorson’s guitar in ways that make it hard to tell which one is which. Fortunately the steel guitar is not used for ironic kitsch, instead, Alcorn is a serious avant-garde improviser on the pedal steel, and pulls some wonderful effects out of the snaky instrument. The group improvising on here is very much in a jazz vein, but the head tunes often draw on modern concert hall music, as well as marches and processions. Once again there is a possible parallel to Mingus here, but in all fairness, Mary’s music really does not sound much like Mingus, even though they have some similar approaches.

Like much of today’s jazz, “Away With You” can be a bit dry and abstract, but the band also produces some serious heat with blistering saxophone solos on “Spirit Splitter” and “The Absolute Almost”, which are also two of the best tracks on the album. Another interesting cut is the murky atmosphere of “Fog Bank”, which features Alcorn’s slowly meandering steel guitar. If you are looking for whats new in the world of jazz, “Away With You” is a great place to start.

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