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From NY and Boston the Aych group (pronounce as "H", a letter shared by all 3's names) presents three improvisers representing some of the best of the new breed of modern jazz based players in a trio without bass and drums.

AYCH (Jim Hobbs, Mary Halvorson, Taylor Ho Bynum)
As The Crow Flies

AYCH (Jim Hobbs, Mary Halvorson, Taylor Ho Bynum): As The Crow Flies (Relative Pitch)
Label: Relative Pitch    
Released in: USA    

The Band

Apart from being talented musicians, the three members of the group heard on this recording have one thing in common: the eighth letter of the alphabet. It is the "H" in Hobbs, Halvorson and Ho Bynum that gives this band their phonetic-derived identity-Aych. The three had played and toured together in larger groups but not as a trio. The idea of recording without bass and drums was decided while riding in an elevator, but the results could never be confused with elevator music.

The Musicians

Jim Hobbs, alto sax. Indiana native transplanted to Boston. Received full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, composition major. Met bassistTimo Shanko at Berklee and started the still active Fully Celebrated Orchestra (1987) with more than 10 recordings by that group. Recipient of the Doris Duke New Works Grant for composition from Chamber Music America. Performed and recorded with Joe Morris, Luther Gray,Taylor Ho Bynum, Bill Lowe, Jazz Composers Alliance, Forbes Graham,The Prodigal Suns, Mackie Burnett, Fred Hopkins, Lawrence Cook, Jon Voight, Nightstick, Death's Head Quartet, Josh Roseman, Curtis Hasselbring,The Lunch Factor, Laura Andel, Brother Blue and many others.

Mary Halvorson, guitar. Massachusetts native, now Brooklyn. Switched from violin to guitar in middle school. Summer studies at Berklee and NEC summer programs. Sought classes with Anthony Braxton at Wesleyan University; veteran of several Braxton ensembles and tours. Attended, then taught at the New School of Jazz & Contemporary Music. Leads a trio and quintet. Co-leads a chamber music duo with violist Jessica Pavone. Also co-leads the avant-rock project People with drummer Kevin Shea. In 2008 Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, referred to her as "probably the most original jazz guitarist to emerge this decade." Troy Collins of AllAboutJazz. com said, "The future of jazz guitar starts here."

Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet, various brass. Born in Baltimore, raised in Boston. Studied in high school under Bill Lowe. Earned a BA in music in 1998 and a MA in Composition in 2004 at Wesleyan University, where he studied with saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton. Worked with CecilTaylor's large ensemble. Worked with Bill Dixon on some of his late masterpieces. Leads a sextet and the chamber ensemble SpiderMonkey Strings, co-leads the little big band Positive Catastrophe, works with collective ensembles such as Book of Three, Fujiwara/Bynum Duo,Thirteenth Assembly, OtherTet and Convergence Quartet. Vice president of Festival of New Trumpet (FONT) Music; founding partner of Firehouse 12 Records; president of Anthony Braxton'sTri-Centric Foundation. In City Arts, David Adler writes "Bynum is a quick-witted and virtuosic player, steeped in the flutters, growls and extended techniques associated with the late Bill Dixon, the tunefulness of Don Cherry and bluesy humor of Lester Bowie."

The Music

Hobbs wears the producer's hat here. Knowing that Halvorson and Bynum would be in Boston, he booked a studio and composed or repurposed five of his tunes for the trio. The rest of the session was collectively improvised. Three contemporary masters of their respective instruments get to show off their stuff. Hobbs and Bynum play off each other perfectly, a comfort born of work together for 10 years in Hobb's Fully Celebrated Orchestra-where their playing has been likened to Ornette and Cherry-and in Bynum's sextet. On Hobb's memorable tunes, there's some tight ensemble playing for the trio, and some surprising Americana elements-particularly on OverYonder.

On AsThe Crow Flies, each player gets the spotlight for an unaccompanied solo that they make the most of. The group improv takes the prerequisite unexpected turns, with extended technique for guitar, alto sax and trumpet put to frequent use. Not only a power trio but also revealing a wide range of nuances and influences, this music is indeed about the sound of surprise."-Relative Pitch

"One of improvised music's most in-demand guitarists, Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. Critics have called her "a singular talent" (Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes), "NYC's least-predictable improviser" (Howard Mandel, City Arts), "one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz-or otherwise" (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal), and "one of today's most formidable bandleaders" (Francis Davis, Village Voice). The Philadelphia City Paper's Shaun Brady adds, "Halvorson has been steadily reshaping the sound of jazz guitar in recent years with her elastic, sometimes-fluid, sometimes-shredding, wholly unique style."

After three years of study with visionary composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, Ms. Halvorson became an active member of several of his bands, including his trio, septet and 12+1tet. To date, she appears on six of Mr. Braxton's recordings. Ms. Halvorson has also performed alongside iconic guitarist Marc Ribot, in his bands Sun Ship and The Young Philadelphians, and with the bassist Trevor Dunn in his Trio-Convulsant. Over the past decade she has worked with such diverse bandleaders as Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey and Mike Reed.

As a bandleader and composer, one of Ms. Halvorson's primary outlets is her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith. Since their 2008 debut album, Dragon's Head, the band has been recognized as a rising star jazz band by Downbeat Magazine for five consecutive years. Ms. Halvorson's quintet, which adds trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon to the trio, has released two critically acclaimed albums on the Firehouse 12 label: Saturn Sings and Bending Bridges. Most recently she has added two additional band members-tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik-to form a septet, featured on her 2013 release Illusionary Sea. Ms. Halvorson also co-leads a longstanding chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew and Secret Keeper."

-Mary Halvorson Website (

"Taylor Ho Bynum (b. 1975) has spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation - through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. As heard on over twenty recordings as a bandleader, Bynum's expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention as one of the singular musical voices of his generation. He currently leads his Sextet and 7-tette, and works with many collective ensembles including a duo with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, the improv trio Book of Three, the UK/US collaborative Convergence Quartet, the dance/music interdisciplinary ensemble Masters of Ceremony, and the trans-idiomatic little big band Positive Catastrophe.

His varied endeavors include his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation (which he serves as executive director, producing most of Braxton's recent major projects). In addition to his own bands, his ongoing collaboration with Braxton, past work with other legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, and current collective projects with forward thinking peers, Bynum increasingly travels the globe to conduct community-based large ensembles in explorations of new creative orchestra music. He is also a published author and contributor to The New Yorker's Culture Blog, has taught at universities, festivals, and workshops worldwide, and has served as a panelist and consultant for leading funders and organizations. His work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, USArtists International, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation."

-Taylor Ho Bynum website (

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Price: $13.95
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

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Product Information:

UPC: 616892029946

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR-1004
Squidco Product Code: 15675

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded by Joe Stewart at Hummelvision Studio.


Jim Hobbs-alto saxophone

Mary Halvorson-guitar

Taylor Ho Bynum-cornet, brass

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Track Listing:

1. The First Time (Aych) 3:32

2. As The Crow Flies (Hobbs) 9:10

3. High Noon (Aych) 2:22

4. Keiklonga (Hobbs) 5:25

5. Southern School Of Reality (Aych) 5:17

6. The North Wind (Aych) 1:46

7. Over Yonder (Hobbs) 5:27

8. Forrest Of The Dead King (Aych) 3:27

9. Cydonia's Face Hobbs) 3:53

10. Salamander And Ramona (Aych) 3:29

11. Bimini Road (Aych) 2:00

12. Il Est Escrit Que La Vie Se (Hobbs) 2:57