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, NPR.org), “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.”