Mary Halvorson | Hubert Bergmann | Mixtour | Mudoks Record

Mary Halvorson, guitar | Hubert Bergmann, piano

mudoks nr.014-13115

Artwork: houtlayb recording | loc. werkstatt für improvisierte und neue musik | date. 2009-12-13 | engineer. p. nylund | mastering: mudoks | photo: nicolai rissmann | produced: 2010 by mudoks record | limited edition

listen to Mary Halvorson and Hubert Bergmann | MixTour (excerpt)

mary halvorson | hubert bergmann | mixtour | mudoks record

Mary Halvorson | Photo by Amani Willett

Guitarist / composer Mary Halvorson

has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. In addition to her own bands, The Mary Halvorson Trio and Quintet, she co-leads a chamber music duo with violist Jessica Pavone and the avant-rock band, People, with drummer Kevin Shea.

A veteran of the ensembles of esteemed saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, she has also performed with groups led by Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Tomas Fujiwara, Curtis Hasselbring, Tony Malaby, Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell, Jason Moran, Marc Ribot, Matana Roberts, Elliott Sharp, John Tchicai and Matthew Welch among many others.

In 2008, the success of her trio’s debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records), led critics to call Ms. Halvorson “probably the most original jazz guitarist to emerge this decade” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader) and “the freshest, busiest, most critically acclaimed guitar- slinger out of downtown Manhattan/Brooklyn right now” (Howard Mandel, Jazz Beyond Jazz).

“A singular talent,” adds’s Troy Collins, “Brooklyn-based guitarist Mary Halvorson has come into her own as a composer and improviser with her trio debut, Dragon’s Head…light years ahead of her peers, she is the most impressive guitarist of her generation. The future of jazz guitar starts here.”

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2 thoughts on “Mary Halvorson | Hubert Bergmann | Mixtour | Mudoks Record

  1. No need to restate who Mary Halvorson is, but hearing pianist Hubert Bergmann at work was a premiere for this reviewer; a satisfying first meeting, to be sure. The improvised set, lasting less than half a hour, was taped in a single afternoon; despite the swift agreement, this recording – the lone time in which the two played together – contains a good number of pros and almost no cons, acquiring value with each new listen.

    A brief interlocutory phase starts the duet, both artists touching the respective instrument’s strings cautiously yet probingly, atonal implicitness and rarefaction going hand in hand. As the minutes start flowing so does the musicians’ unrest, a parallelism of insistent arpeggios becoming the predominant feature.

    Bergmann moves all around the keyboard in cascades and clusters, distantly recalling Keith Tippett’s mesmerizing agitations; Halvorson responds with wounding diagonals and discordant scales – which Robert Fripp post Discipline would approve with a smile – at times twisted by the use of a whammy pedal.

    Intervals of charming quietness turn up from the sixteenth minute on, the couple slowing down every once in a while as if willing to check at what point they’ve arrived, the waters calming a bit through restful piano chords and a little breathing in between the guitar’s clean lines. This alternance is a decisive substantiation of the mutual receptiveness which defines the music’s quality, eventually classifying MixTour as a welcome introduction to Bergmann’s capacities and one among the many interesting releases involving Halvorson.

  2. Welcher Wind wehte aber MARY HALVORSON am 13.12.2009 nach Überlingen in HUBERT BERGMANNs Arme? [Antwort: Der Vorabend- Gig mit ihrem Trio mit J. Hebert & C. Smith.]

    Danach blieb etwas Zeit, um mit ihrer Gitarre seine Pi(ano)nuts zu salzen. Phil Nylund von Halfpipe fing die sonntägliche Gelegenheit (vor dem Sprung ins Londoner Vortex) aufnahmetechnisch ein.

    MixTour (mudoks nr. 014-13115) bringt die halbstündige Knabberei zu Gehör. Temperamentvoll mischen sich knusprige Tonfolgen in intuitiver Harmonie. Die beidseitigen Arpeggioläufe schlagen wie ein Reißverschluss die Zähnchen ineinander. Bergmann umwirbelt Marys Bocksprünge – sie ist ja alles andere als ein Lämmchen – mit einverständigem Gusto. Halvorson zeigt sich bestens aufgelegt, trick- und temporeich. Bergmann hat alle Hände voll zu tun, um ebenso verschwenderisch das Salz der Erde zu streuen. Einige entspanntere Passagen schöpfen den Atem für weitere Treppensprints, denen man den Spaß an der geteilten Gedankenschnelligkeit der Finger deutlich anhört.

    Dieses pikante Highlight in Halvorsons Diskographie bringt auch den mudoks-Katalog zum Prickeln. Für limitierte Geheimniskrämerei sehe ich keinen Grund.

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