Artist : Mary Halvorson
Label : Nonesuch
Format : LP - Black Vinyl
Condition : New
Released : 2024
Genre : Nu Jazz Jazz
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Regular Edition in Black Vinyl

In 2022, Halvorson’s already exalted reputation took a new leap with Amaryllis and Belladonna, albums respectively angled toward improv and written chamber music. Now comes Cloudward, a superb eight-piece set (reflecting in its title and moods the composer’s sense of liberation at the then-receding pandemic) for her sextet, joining guitar and Patricia Brennan’s vibraphone with trumpet, trombone, bass and drums, and the legendary Laurie Anderson on effects-violin for one track. The slowly mounting brass-and-vibes fanfare of The Gate conceals the groove of the building bassline and softly hustling drums that eventually emerge, while trumpeter Adam O’Farrill – secure and clean-toned all over the horn’s range – shares beautifully interwoven brass harmonies with trombonist Jacob Garchik on Collapsing Mouth and Unscrolling. The latter is bookended by quiet drum rolls and glittering cymbal flickers, and a contrastingly dark, slithery bowed-bass breakout late on. Halvorson throws distorted guitar into the avant-funky Desiderata; Anderson sketches bugged violin sounds from brass tones to chimes into the graceful arcs of Incarnadine; and the almost Latin jazz-like Tailhead sets exhilarating band-riffing behind the climbing, twisting melody. Halvorson’s fusions of written and spontaneous music reach an entrancing new seamlessness and seductive warmth with this terrific set.

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