World of Jazz 537

With some great releases this year featuring guitarist Mary Halvorson it seemed timely to reflect her 2022 output and also look back at some great appearances as a leader, as part of Thumbscrew, and, as a guest on other albums.

Mary Halvorson – Side Effect – Amaryllis (2022)

Amaryllis is a six-song suite performed by a newly formed sextet of master improvisers, including Halvorson, Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Nick Dunston (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Jacob Garchik (trombone), and Adam O’Farrill (trumpet). The Mivos string quartet joins for three of the songs, including this one, making this the largest ensemble for which Halvorson has written to date. The suite showcases Halvorson’s many musical influences from jazz, experimental, new music, and beyond.

Michael Formanek Very Practical Trio – Still Here – Even Better (2019)

Michael Formanek: Bass, Tim Berne: Alto Saxophone, Mary Halvorson: Guitar

Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl – Muzzling Unwashed – Artlessly Falling (2020)

Amirtha Kidambi – voice, Maria Grand – tenor saxophone, voice, Adam O’Farrill – trumpet, Mary Halvorson – guitar, Michael Formanek – bass, Tomas Fujiwara – drums

Mary Halvorson – Inky Ribbons (No. 53) – Away With You (2016)

Mary Halvorson :: guitar, Susan Alcorn :: pedal steel guitar, Jonathan Finlayson :: trumpet, Jon Irabagon :: alto saxophone, Ingrid Laubrock :: tenor saxophone, Jacob Garchik :: trombone, John Hébert :: bass, Ches Smith :: drums

Trevor Dunn’s trio-Convulsant – The Asylum’s Guilt – Séances (2022)

October 28, 2022 via Pyroclastic Records, features Mary Halvorson, Ches Smith, Anna Webber, Carla Kihlstedt, Mariel Roberts and Oscar Noriega navigating chamber-jazz-metal compositions inspired by the bizarre tales of an 18th-century French religious sect


Thumbscrew – Goddess Sparkle – Thumbscrew (2014)

Debut album from the acclaimed trio – Mary Halvorson – guitar , Michael Formanek – double bass , Tomas Fujiwara – drums

Thumbscrew – The Peacocks – Theirs (2018)

Theirs features covers penned by venerable composers in this case JImmy Rowles

Tom Rainey Trio – Combobulated – Combobulated (2019)


Music by Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson and Ingrid Laubrock. Recorded live at Firehouse 12 on September 15, 2017, by Greg DiCrosta.

Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone – Crawling – On And Off (2007)

Skirl Records release from 2007

Thumbscrew – Scam Likely – Never Is Enough (2021)

Sixth album – Late in the summer of 2019 Thumbscrew hunkered down at City of Asylum, the Pittsburgh arts organization that has served as a creative hotbed for the trio via a series of residencies. The immediate plan was for them to rehearse and record a disparate program of Anthony Braxton compositions they’d gleaned from his Tri-Centric Foundation archives, pieces released last year on The Anthony Braxton Project, an album celebrating his 75th birthday. At the same time, the triumvirate brought in a batch of original compositions that they also spent time refining and recording, resulting in Never Is Enough

Thumbscrew – Composition No.35 – The Anthony Braxton Project (2020)

While not intentional, The Anthony Braxton Project and Never Is Enough do seem to speak eloquently (if cryptically) to each other. “Braxton’s presence was very strong in this period, spending time with his music, reading some of the composition notes” Formanek says. “I think and hope the influence was there. It was definitely in our minds. I don’t know if there’s a direct influence, but definitely inspiration.”

Mary Halvorson Trio – Totally Opaque (No.7) – Dragon’s Head (2008)

Her debut recording as a bandleader. Recorded at Firehouse 12’s state of the art studio in New Haven, it features ten new original compositions written specifically for her working trio with bassist John Hebert and drummer Ches Smith.
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Mary Halvorson – Haunted Head – Belladonna (2022)

Belladonna is a set of five compositions written for Halvorson on guitar plus The Mivos Quartet: Olivia De Prato (violin), Maya Bennardo (violin), Victor Lowrie Tafoya (viola), and Tyler J. Borden (cello). It is Halvorson’s first time writing for a string quartet. Mivos’ parts are through-composed and augmented by Halvorson’s guitar improvisations.

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