What I’m Listening to Wednesday – Mary Halvorson Trio ‘Ghost Loop’


I really enjoyed the narrower focus of doing a quick music post last Wednesday – so I am going to keep it going! As with most weeks there were many things that grabbed my listening time, but one in particular I kept returning to … something that was MY JAM!

This week it is ‘Ghost Loop’ from the Mary Halvorson trio

Here is the (translated from Polish) press info:

” Nobody plays like her , no one writes such music as she is .” ” One of the most original artists of today’s jazz scene .” ” A truly original voice in the world of guitars ” – thunder headers magazines jazz and improvised music . But not only the specialist press saw in it an intriguing personality . Mary Halvorson – a young American artist without assault , advertising, publishers without the support of powerful and dangerous shouting about the end of jazz criticism has gained attention around the world.

‘Ghost Loop’ is a live recording from her classic trio with John Hebert on bass and Ches Smith on drums. This is the trio from 2008’s ‘Dragon’s Head’, and also the rhythm section from her critically acclaimed ‘Saturn Sings’, ‘Bending Bridges’ and 2013’s ‘Illusionary Sea’.

The interesting thing is that I first heard about this when I got a notification just over a week ago from Spotify, telling me that ‘new music from the Mary Halvorson Trio was available’. I assumed that Ghost Loop was an older release that they were back-filling that I hadn’t heard about.

When I looked this up on iTunes it claimed a September 2013 release date, making it likely this recording was taken from her May 2013 trio mini-tour of Europe. Yet I can’t find any English language remarks about it until mid-December.

OK, so what do I love about this? Mary Halvorson functions incredibly well in a trio setting because it allows to move fluidly between structure and chaos, intense exchanges and quiet passages. This trio has been around for several years, and the level of communication is just astounding. Every song here is a Halvorson composition, most of which appear on studio albums, and all of which take on new twists here.

I love the song “Forgotten Men In Silver (No. 24)” from ‘Bending Bridges’, and it really shines here, but some of the newer compositions allow her to stretch out her intervallic and syncopation chops and bring in some of the harmonic sensibilities of her larger compositions into a smaller framework.

As always, Halvorson’s recordings are challenging listens, taking wild harmonic leaps and featuring sonic assaults and broad passages of dissonance. You really never know what is going to happen!

The album is available on iTunesand Amazon MP3 both for $8.91, and also streaming on Spotify.

Here is the official preview video:

So … what is YOUR jam this Wednesday?

5 thoughts on “What I’m Listening to Wednesday – Mary Halvorson Trio ‘Ghost Loop’

  1. As soon as I started playing this, my husband asked if I was listening to Mary Halvorson, you both obviously have good taste in music! Thanks for the recommendation!

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