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Mary Halvorson: Fractured Guitar

Mary Halvorson Trio (L to R): Ches Smith, John Hebert, Mary Halvorson

Mary Halvorson’s music is best described as “slightly off.” Indeed, that’s how she herself describes it: “I would say about my compositional style, and I think it’s true for my guitar playing as well, that I like to have things that are slightly off. Chords that aren’t complete chaos, but also aren’t completely straight. I like unexpected twists, something that might make it a little unusual without being completely abstract.”

The Brooklyn-based, 28-year-old electric guitarist and composer’s résumé bears out her fondness for idiosyncrasy. Her unique playing style-brittle, knotty and abrasive-has earned attention in the avant-garde community and work with ensembles led by Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum and Trevor Dunn. Halvorson also has two duos, the rock-oriented People with drummer Kevin Shea and an acoustic project with violist Jessica Pavone. In October she released her first recording as a leader, the bewildering Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12), with her trio featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith.

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