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Illusionary Sea

Mary Halvorson Septet

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Mary Halvorson has shaken up the jazz world with her innovative guitar playing and striking compositions. She has recorded four albums for the excellent Connecticut-based Firehouse 12 label: 2008's Dragon’s Head, where she leads a trio; 2010's Saturn Sings and 2012's Bending Bridges, both of which feature her quintet; and 2013’s Illusionary Sea, where she leads a septet. New member and trombonist Jacob Garchik is stellar on the latter album’s opening title cut, and it’s delightful to hear Halvorson’s cliché-free comping brush up against his husky tones. “Smiles of Great Men” has room for Sonic Youth–like aural drama, nicely interwoven horns, and a freewheeling solo by Halvorson that sounds like no other guitarist. The slow-tempo “Fourth Dimensional Confession” spotlights Jonathan Finlayson’s trumpet as the rhythm section (drummer Ches Smith and bassist John Hebert) flickers in the background. “Nairam” is an arrangement of “Maryan,” a piece written by Robert Wyatt and Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine that appeared on Wyatt’s 1997 release Shleep. It’s a lovely version that nicely draws from the groove and feel of the original.

Customer Reviews

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I'm new to Mary Halvorson, but I wish I had heard her sooner. It's fun when disparate music that you love comes together in one form. This is a great jazz record, but with enough prog rock to make it feel fresh and new. Sure, at times it sounds like Bill Frisell or Marc Ribot with horns, but there's a pinch of King Crimson and Shipping News and Tortoise in there, too. I shouldn't mention other musicians because Mary has forged a sound all her own. The compositions are structured and yet it sounds free.

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Illusionary Sea, Mary Halvorson Septet
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  • $6.93
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 10, 2013

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