After six years of composing primarily for solo viola, NY violist and violinist Jessica Pavone formed the J. Pavone String Ensemble as an extension of the sonic discoveries of her solo music, exploring tactile experience that expand on the themes of her solo work while also integrating a deeper understanding of the effects sound has on the listener.
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Label: Birdwatcher Records
Catalog ID: CD-BW-012
Squidco Product Code: 28106
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Issue Project Room, in Brooklyn, New York, in May, 2018, by Bob Bellerue.
Jessica Pavone-viola, composer
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• Show Bio for Jessica Pavone
"Jessica Pavone (composer, viola, violin, el.bass) has performed in countless improvisation, avant jazz, experimental, folk, soul, and chamber ensembles since moving to NYC in 2000. She currently plays with Normal Love, in a duo with guitarist Mary Halvorson, with Anthony Braxton's ensembles and as a solo violist. As a composer, The Wire magazine praised her "ability to transform a naked tonal gesture into something special," and The New York Times described her music as "distinct and beguiling...its core is steely, and its execution clear."
Pavone's recent works for solo viola and voice stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. She combines her long tone rituals with delay, understated melodies and sparse lyrical content while continuously experimenting with new forms. She is interested in the physicality of performing her somewhat larger-than-comfortable instrument and believes that cultivating physical bodies as a strong container for her thoughts is part of the creative process.
As an instrumentalist, she has personally worked with and interpreted new music by; Aaron Seigel, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Elliott Sharp, Glenn Branca, Henry Threadgill, Leo Smith, Jason Ajemian, Jason Cady, Jeremiah Cymerman, John King, Matana Roberts, Matthew Welch, Tristan Perich, Tyondai Braxton and William Parker; and, has played strings in bands such as Christy and Emily, Pure Horsehair, White Blue Yellow and Clouds, Joy Mega, and The Artificials.
Pavone has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, performing in venues ranging from international music festivals, universities, and art galleries, to community centers and basements. Her music has premiered in venues in New York City such as, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and The Kitchen, and at the Klangbad Festival in Sheer, Germany. In 2011 she was featured in NPR's "The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40." She has received grants and commissions from the Aaron Copland Recording Fund, the American Music Center, New Music USA for her collaboration with choreographer, Anna Sperber, The Kitchen, MATA, The Jerome Foundation, The Tri-Centric Foundation, Experiments in Opera, and the chamber music collective, Till By Turning."-Jessica Pavone Website (http://www.jessicapavone.com/bio.htm)
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1. Hurtle and Hurdle 5:28
2. Lullaby and Goodnight 7:27
3. Brick and Mortar 9:03
4. Sooner or Later 5:32
5. By and Large 7:43
sample the album:
"As both an instrumentalist and composer, Pavone has regularly and thematically explored tactile experience in her compositions and performances. This is most notable in her solo viola music, where she performs indeterminate pieces that stem from years of concentrated long tone practice, my interest in repetition, song form, sympathetic vibration, and the physicality of playing my somewhat larger-than-comfortable instrument. Founded in 2017, The Jessica Pavone String Ensemble combines these two modalities as an ensemble she both compose for, and performs in as a violist. The group presents original compositions which expand on the themes of her solo work while also integrating a deeper understanding of the effects sound has on the listener. While these discoveries have been primarily instinctual, she plans to further study these principles more formally by gaining a better understanding of Cymatics."-Birdwatcher
"Jessica Pavone has been an integral part of the improvised music scene for the better part of this century. From her long running duo with Mary Halvorson (still can't believe I missed them when they were in town 15 years ago, why didn't I cancel my own gig to see their's?), to appearances with legends like Anthony Braxton and William Parker, to her current role in the band Jobs and a recent string of excellent solo viola albums, Pavone has developed a unique voice both as a composer and violist.
The new album Brick and Mortar, credited to the J. Pavone String Ensemble, sees Pavone helming a string quartet of two violins and two violas. The music shimmers and twists around bends, recalling the rhythms of a subway train hurtling across the city, hinting at the quiet force of a shallow river slowly eroding the earth beneath it. The music builds on similar techniques that Pavone has been exploring on solo albums like Knuckle Under (2014) and In The Action (2019).
Much of the album is constructed from small thoughts expanded through repetition and subtle variation. The first track "Hurt and Hurdle" hits with the shifting rhythm of sunlight filtered by the trees on an Appalachian mountainside. The second cut "Lullaby and Goodnight" percolates up through the layers of your memory like a forgotten piece of your childhood. The illuminating drones of the title track dance like the charge of a 9v battery gingerly placed against your tongue slowed to glacial speeds. The album ends with the achingly beautiful "By and Large," which mostly feels like you're eavesdropping on an intimate ritual.
Special mention to Bob Bellerue for his excellent recording, done at ISSUE Project Room, and to Weasel Water for the mastering. The album sounds excellent, a wonderful thing given how the music is so deeply focused on the actual physicality of the sounds and the tones of these acoustic instruments and their performers. The recording sounds like you're eavesdropping on a most intimate ritual."-David Menestres, The Free Jazz Collective
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