Halvorson's quintet in a new book of music exploring close knit and dissonant harmonies for her ensemble of trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, bassist John Hebert & drummer Ches Smith.
Halvorson, Mary Quintet
Label: Firehouse 12 Records
Released in: USA
"Saturn Sings is guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson's highly anticipated follow-up to her acclaimed 2008 debut, Dragon's Head (Firehouse 12). It documents a new book of music written for her latest ensemble, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, which adds fellow New Yorkers Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) and Jon Irabagon (alto saxophone) to her longstanding trio with bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith. These compositions, her first for a band with horns, employ harmonies influenced by such diverse inspirations as Clifford Brown, Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers, Marvin Gaye, Thelonious Monk, Alexander Scriabin, Archie Shepp, Dmitri Shostakovich and Robert Wyatt.
Saturn Sings is a continuation of the concepts and ideas heard on Dragon's Head, Ms. Halvorson explains. My interest in harmony has grown and I'm attempting to build on the foundation of guitar, bass and drums while writing a lot of close-knit and often dissonant horn lines. There are now many other directions to go in, and the horns push the trio into different realms and vice-versa. The more we perform, the more the music gets both looser and tighter; tighter because we are working on developing a band sound, and looser because we are comfortable and trust each other, which allows us the freedom to take chances and to explore within the framework of the piece."-Firehouse 12
"When not leading her quintet, Ms. Halvorson continues to tour with her core trio and co-leads a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Crackleknob, MAP and TheThirteenth Assembly. She is also an active member of bands led by Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Curtis Hasselbring, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Marc Ribot,Tom Rainey and Matthew Welch among others. "As close as you can get to 'rising star' in the avant-garde," explains JazzTimes' Evan Haga, "Halvorson, a Braxton disciple, is that rarest of out players: A guitarist whose startling effect relies not on sonics but on jarringly angular composition and improvisation."
• Show Bio for Jonathan Finlayson
"Jonathan Finlayson has been recognized by the New York Times as "...an incisive and often surprising trumpeter," who is "...fascinated with composition." Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system. He came under the tutelage of Bay Area legend Robert Porter, a veteran trumpeter from the bebop era who took Finlayson under his wing; he was often seen accompanying Porter on his gigs about town and sitting in on the popular Sunday nights jam session at the Bird Cage. He subsequently attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he studied with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens and Cecil Bridgewater.
Finlayson is a disciple of the saxophonist/composer/conceptualist Steve Coleman, having joined his band Five Elements in 2000 at the age of 18. He is widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with aplomb. Finlayson has performed and recorded in groups led by Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Henry Threadgill and played alongside notables such as Von Freeman, Jason Moran, Dafnis Prieto and Vijay Iyer."-Jonathan Finlayson Website (http://jonathanfinlayson.com/biography.html)
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• Show Bio for Jon Irabagon
"The winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Irabagon has since topped both the Rising Star Alto Saxophone and the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone categories in the DownBeat Magazine Critics' Poll and been named one of Time Out New York's 25 New York City Jazz Icons. Jon was also named 2012 Musician of the Year in The New York City Jazz Record and is an integral member of such high-profile ensembles as the Mary Halvorson Quintet, the Dave Douglas Quintet and Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor, as well as an established bandleader in his own right.
For Perpetual Motion, a project of Moondog arrangements, Jon (along with French saxophonist/clarinetist/composer Sylvain Rifflet) has been awarded a French-American Cultural Exchange grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, with generous funding from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Florence Gould Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Institut Français, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, and Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs de Musique ("SACEM"). In addition, Jon has received a 2012 Mabuhay Award by the National Association of Filipino-Americans and a 2014 Philippine Presidential Award.
Jon's own record label, Irabbagast Records, has currently released five of his efforts, including I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 2: Appalachian Haze (with Mike Pride and Mick Barr), Outright! Unhinged (with Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert and Tom Rainey) and It Takes All Kinds (featuring Mark Helias and Barry Altschul), and most recently, the dual release of Behind the Sky (featuring Tom Harrell, Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura and Rudy Royston) as well as Jon's first solo saxophone recording, Inaction is an Action."-Jon Irabagon Website (http://www.jonirabagon.com/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Ches Smith
"Born in San Diego, CA and raised in Sacramento, Ches Smith came up in a scene of punks and metal musicians who were listening to and experimenting with jazz and free improvisation. He studied philosophy at the University of Oregon before relocating to the San Francisco Bay area in 1995. After a few years of playing with obscure bands and intensive study with drummer / educator Peter Magadini, he enrolled in the graduate program at Mills College in Oakland at the suggestion of percussionist William Winant. There he studied percussion, improvisation, and composition with Winant, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran. One of Winant's first "assignments" for Ches was to sub in his touring gig at the time, Mr. Bungle (here he met bassist / composer Trevor Dunn who would later hire him for the second incarnation of his Trio-Convulsant). During his time at Mills, Ches co-founded two bands: Theory of Ruin (with Fudgetunnel / Nailbomb frontman Alex Newport), and Good for Cows (w/ Nels Cline Singers' Devin Hoff). He currently performs and records with Xiu Xiu, and Secret Chiefs 3. He has also performed with Ben Goldberg, Annie Gosfield, Wadada Leo Smith, John Tchicai, Fred Frith, and Trevor Dunn. In addition to Ceramic Dog, he also leads his two of his own projects, Congs for Brums and These Arches. He currently spends his time between Los Angeles, San Francisco and Brooklyn."-Ches Smith Website (http://www.chessmith.com/)
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Label: Firehouse 12 Records
Catalog ID: FH12-04-01-013
Squidco Product Code: 13541
Recorded December 19th and 20th, 2009 at Firehouse 12 by Nick Lloyd.
Jon Irabagon-alto saxophone
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