Mary Halvorson Trio On Tour In August

This August, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson and her working trio with bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith will play three concerts in three countries.

The mini-tour begins Thursday, August 5th with a two-set performance at New York’s Cornelia Street Café, which will serve as a hometown warm-up for dates later in the month at Switzerland’s Jazz Festival Willisau (August 25th) and Austria’s Saalfelden Jazz Festival (August 26th).

These concerts will focus on selections from Ms. Halvorson’s October 2010 release, Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12 Records), as well as new material.

In addition to these dates with her own band, Ms. Halvorson will also perform with the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, the Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo, Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti-House, MAP, Miya Masaoka/Mary Halvorson/Okkyung Lee and Ches Smith & These Arches throughout the month.

Taylor Ho Bynum To Introduce Revamped Sextet In August

This August, cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum will unveil the latest incarnation of his five year-old working ensemble, the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, when he and the group hit the road to perform a brand new book of music. These pieces are made possible with support from Chamber Music America’s 2010 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The four-city tour will begin Friday, August 20th at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA and include stops at New York’s Jazz Gallery (August 21st), Saalfelden, Austria’s Saalfelden Jazz Festival (August 29th) and New Haven’s Firehouse 12 (September 10th), where the sextet tour ends and Bynum’s two-week Acoustic Bicycle Tour begins. The 2010 version of the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet features Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), who appeared on the band’s first two releases, as well as new additions Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Bill Lowe (bass trombone) and Ken Filiano (bass).

“I’ve kept my core trio in tact,” Bynum explains, “but now brought in the most traditional instrumentation of any band I’ve ever had, with a classic three-horn, three-piece rhythm section line-up. While Bill, Jim and Ken are new to this particular group, I’ve had long musical relationships with each of them, stretching back many years (20 years in Bill’s case, he was one of my first mentors when I was 15!). So, there is a high level of creative intimacy in the ensemble, which allows me to design musical contexts tailored to feature the individual voices of the musicians.”

“Bynum’s music is filled with a fabulous array of textures,” wrote Cadence‘s Jason Bivins in his review of the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet’s 2007 debut, The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12 Records). “He arranges and composes music in a way that really takes advantage of these resources, putting his mates into all kinds of provocative situations and combinations.” Critics have also described Bynum’s work with the band as “thought-provoking” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), “consistently compelling listening” (Time Out New York), “virtuosity on its own terms” (David R. Adler, AllAboutJazz-New York), and “the shape of jazz to come” (Philip Clark, The Wire).

Bill Dixon Memorial Event To Be Held July 31st At New York’s St. Mark’s Church In The Bowery

On Saturday, July 31st from 5:30-7:30 p.m., musician/composer/educator/artist Bill Dixon will be remembered with a memorial event at St. Mark’s Church In The Bowery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Dixon, an innovator in the world of creative improvised music and inspiration to subsequent generations of trumpet players, died on June 16th at his home in North Bennington, Vermont after a two-year illness. He was 84 years old.

The public event will include a performance of Dixon’s last composition by his Tapestries for Small Orchestra ensemble, which premiered the work at Dixon’s final performance on May 22nd at the Festival International de Musique de Victoriaville (FIMAV). The group includes Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Graham Haynes (cornet), Stephen Haynes (trumpet), Rob Mazurek (cornet), Glynis Lomon (cello), Michael Côté (clarinet), Ken Filiano (bass) and Warren Smith (percussion).

In lieu of flowers or other donations, Dixon’s estate asks that interested parties support the Bill Dixon Music Fund established in coordination with the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music). The fund will subsidize a range of ongoing work centered on his legacy. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check, with Dixon Fund written in the memo line, to FONT Music at P.O. Box 769, 215 West 104th Street in New York, 10025.

Mary Halvorson At The Whitney’s Christian Marclay: Festival

Starting this afternoon, guitarist Mary Halvorson will be performing numerous times over the next two weeks at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York as part of the ongoing exhibition, Christian Marclay: Festival.

Ms. Halvorson, who Howard Mandel called “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” in his pick for today’s concerts in his CityArts column, will be interpreting Marclay’s graphic scores on her own and in groups with Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman and Ikue Mori.

Cadence: Myra Melford, Joe Morris, David S. Ware and Eri Yamamoto

The Jul/Aug/Sep 2010 issue of Cadence arrived earlier this week and with it reviews of four of our clients’ recent releases.

Philip McNally calls Be Bread, the group on pianist/composer Myra Melford‘s latest release, The Whole Tree Gone (Firehouse 12 Records), “an interesting 6tet made up of master musicians on instruments not frequently combined in Jazz. And in the best Jazz tradition, all of these accomplished players are given the freedom to express themselves clearly within her compositions. Constrained by nothing but beauty and deep expressiveness, this is music with every resource available, and you must hear it.”

In his review of the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity), Michael Rosenstein notes, “The leader’s angular themes are propelled along by an elastic swing, full of quirky time shifts and melodic switchbacks; and the group nails them with supple energy. Morris’ guitar playing is striking as ever. Listening to his splintered chords, linear refractions, and loping sense of groove is exhilerating. This release captures Morris’ singular vision as both musician and leader.”

“This is the sound of a group who knows each other well,” explains Robert Iannapollo in his review of the Eri Yamamoto Trio’s In Each Day, Something Good (AUM Fidelity). “There’s a lot to appreciate on this disc and the sympathetic work of [bassist David] Ambrosio and [drummer Ikuo] Takeuchi go a long way to making this an enjoyable album of piano trio music.”

Finally, in his review of saxophonist David S. Ware‘s most recent release, Jason Bivins declares, “Saturnian is an absolutely dazzling solo performance…there is so much musical information here, moving so rapidly, that it reminds you of just how good solo improvisation can be in the hands of an actual storyteller, not simply someone who wants to demonstrate the latest range of workshopped techniques.”

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society At CareFusion Jazz Festival Newport August 7th

Two weeks from tomorrow, Darcy James Argue‘s Secret Society and special guest Bob Brookmeyer will perform on the Harbor Stage at CareFusion Jazz Festival Newport.

“Mr. Wein asked if I might like to invite my compositional mentor, Bob Brookmeyer, to play a tune with us at Newport,” recalls Argue, who just topped the Big Band Rising Star, Composer Rising Star and Arranger Rising Star categories in the DownBeat Critics Poll. “I ran the idea by Bob and he accepted, so now I have to contend with the frankly terrifying prospect of writing a piece that features him on valve trombone, to be premiered at the festival.”

This will be Argue’s third appearance at a major festival this summer following Secret Society’s two-set show at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola during CareFusion Jazz Festival New York in June and his collaboration with the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra at the North Sea Jazz Festival in July.

Argue and Secret Society will kick-off their fall performance schedule at Iridium Jazz Club on September 22nd.

Darius Jones’ Three-Night Residency At Roulette Begins Tonight

Brooklyn-based alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones‘ latest three-night residency at New York’s Roulette begins tonight.

Jones, who was recently nominated for Up & Coming Artist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, will be performing with both his longstanding working trio and a new quartet.

The former, featuring bassist Adam Lane and drummer Jason Nazary, will perform one long set tonight and a shorter opening set Thursday night.

The latter, featuring pianists David Bryant (Thursday only) and Matt Mitchell (Friday only), bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Ches Smith, will play the second set on Thursday and one long set on Friday.

All three nights begin at 8:30 p.m.

“Darius Jones has the capacity for a proud, rafters-raising tone on alto saxophone,” writes the New York Times‘ Nate Chinen, “and as an improviser, he’s fearless but disciplined.”

Jones is a rising star on the international scene thanks to the success of two recent AUM Fidelity releases, his 2009 debut, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautful Thing) and Little Women‘s first full-length recording, Throat.

Critics have called him “a singular talent” (Brian Morton, Jazz Journal), “a dramatic new voice on alto saxophone” (Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant) and “a skilled composer, a hugely soulful saxophonist, and an assured leader” (François Couture,

The Wire‘s Philip Clark adds, “Jones’s concept is proudly his own.”

Tonight: Part Three Of Darius Jones’ Ibeam Residency

Tonight at 9:00 p.m., alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones and his trio, featuring bassist Adam Lane and drummer Jason Nazary, continues its four-week residency at the newly renovated Ibeam in Brooklyn.

The group is celebrating its new AUM Fidelity release, Big Gurl (Smell My Dream), which features the second chapter of the ongoing autobiographical series of original compositions he introduced on his widely acclaimed 2009 debut, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing).

“A powerhouse saxophonist with an unusually focused perspective, Darius Jones laces his urgent avant-jazz vision with deep soul and dirty funk,” writes Time Out New York in its preview of this four-week run of Thursday night performances.

Critics have called Big Gurl ”a series of stories that burns hot with emotional conviction and technical invention” (Jason Bivins, Dusted), “as fresh on the 15th listen as on the first” (Jeff Stockton, New York City Jazz Record), ”a notable addition to Jones’ impressive discography” (Kevin Le Gendre, BBC) and “THE jazz record of the year across the board” (François Couture, Monsieur Délire).

“Fulfilling (and exceeding) expectations,” adds’s Troy Collins, “Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) is a rightfully compelling follow-up to his stunning debut. With another installment already in the works, Jones has set the stage for a winning series of albums designed to document his rise as one of the most impressive and unique voices of our time.”

Mary Halvorson Quintet At Umbrella Music Festival This Sunday

This Sunday at 10:00 p.m., Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson and her acclaimed quintet will close Chicago’s 2011 Umbrella Music Festival with a set at Hungry Brain.

Although she has performed around the city numerous times in collectives and as a sideperson, this will be Ms. Halvorson’s official Chicago debut as a bandleader.

“Her agile, talent-packed quintet—explosive saxophonist and Chicago native Jon Irabagon, steely trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson (last heard here with Steve Coleman), drummer Ches Smith, and bassist John Hébert, replaced for this gig by Trevor Dunn—is one of the best working bands in jazz today,” writes the Chicago Reader‘s Peter Margasak in his festival preview.

He adds, “On last year’s fantastic Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12 Records), Halvorson’s strong compositions betray her growing interest in postbop, but you can still hear her love for everything from Deerhoof to spacey folk in their unexpected twists and turns—and especially in her dizzying solos.”

The group will preview music from its follow-up, Bending Bridges (Firehouse 12 Records), coming this spring.

Ms. Halvorson won the Rising Star Guitar category in the latest DownBeat Critics Poll and was just named New York’s Best Guitarist 2011 by the Village Voice.

Critics have called her “the most future-seeking guitarist working right now” (Lars Gotrich,, “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz—or otherwise” (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal) and “a bandleader whose composition skills rival her brilliantly unorthodox instrumental technique” (Time Out New York).

“Halvorson has been steadily reshaping the sound of jazz guitar in recent years with her elastic, sometimes-fluid, sometimes-shredding, wholly unique style,” adds the Philadelphia City Paper‘s Shaun Brady. “Her compositions, shaped by a pop sensibility and unconstrained avant aggressiveness, are ably explored by five of modern jazz’s young leading lights.”

James Falzone This Week

Chicago-based clarinetist/composer James Falzone has a busy and typically ecelctic week ahead, including a performance and workshop at Southern Illinois University and collaborations with The Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the improvising French music ensemble, Le Bon Vent.

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Southern Illinois University’s Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, Falzone will present Sighs Too Deep For Words, his original work for solo clarinet and electronics, before joining fellow clarinetist Eric Mandat and percussionist Ron Coulter for a series of improvisations.

On Thursday, he’ll reunite with The Merce Cunningham Dance Company for a performance at Notre Dame, where he’ll play John Cage’s “Solo for Bb Clarinet from the Concert for Piano (’57)”.

They’ll repeat that program on Saturday night once Falzone returns from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he’ll perform with Le Bon Vent at the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music on Friday night at 8:00 p.m.