Mary Halvorson | Cloudward




“Cloudward” features eight new compositions by guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson, performed with her sextet Amaryllis, an improvisational group previously heard on her acclaimed 2022 albums “Amaryllis” and “Belladonna”. The band includes Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Nick Dunston (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Jacob Garchik (trombone), and Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), with Laurie Anderson featured on the track “Incarnadine”.


Halvorson describes the music on “Cloudward”, all written in 2022 as the world began to open up again, as being born out of a sense of optimism. She highlights the ease of working with the band both musically and personally. NPR has recognized Halvorson as a forward-thinking guitarist, known for her provocative and original exploration of the boundaries between jazz and non-jazz. Her approach is characterized by a restless search and a critical self-reflection, balancing spontaneous outbursts with carefully considered compositions.


The album’s eight compositions continue the rich textures of Amaryllis but place more emphasis on the sextet’s interplay and the individual voices of its members. These pieces go beyond typical improvisational starting points, creating vivid visual scenarios where subtle, internal decision-making processes build into roaring climaxes. “Ultramarine” contrasts the orderly, soothing flow of a baroque canon with a tension-filled fantasia on the chromatic scale. “Incarnadine” features a hypnotically tempo-less atmosphere, carried by Laurie Anderson’s ethereal violin harmonies, showcasing Halvorson’s detailed and dynamic compositional style.


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