Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone: Departure of Reason

Steve Greenlee reviews the collaboration between the guitarist and violinist

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

One gets the sense that the music goes wherever whimsy takes guitarist Mary Halvorson and violinist Jessica Pavone. Their tunes are composed beforehand, but there are so many twists, turns and abrupt shifts that the structure can’t be planned entirely. Too, their music is insanely hard to pin down: It draws from jazz, folk, rock, modern classical and even medieval-sometimes all in one song, or so it seems.

Departure of Reason is the pair’s fourth album together, and it is an inaccessible delight. They open with “That Other Thing,” a tune that manages to blend proto-punk guitar strumming with the type of fiddling that feels like the bridge between early music and traditional Celtic. On “Hyphen,” Pavone bows monochromatically and Halvorson picks an ascending scale; then things get gruff, with distortion and unrestrained use of effects that resemble the dramatic pitch-bending normally achieved with a whammy bar. Halvorson solos fancifully over Pavone’s violin drone on “Begin Again,” intentionally marring her performance by bending pitches-something she does again and again throughout the album.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published