Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Ches Smith (drums) present a double bill evening of solo performances. The two complementary yet distinct sets offer an intimate view into the creative minds of two acclaimed contemporary composer-performers.
Mary Halvorson’s solo guitar project features her own unique take on jazz standards and more obscure covers. The solo guitar format allows her new terrain and a wide open sonic palette to explore. “…another bold expansion for Halvorson, under the clever guise of constriction.” -Nate Chinen, Jazz Times
Meltframe, her solo guitar record, will be officially released in September on Firehouse 12 Records.
Under the name Congs for Brums, Ches Smith has released three albums of pieces for vibraphone, drums, and electronics. 2012’s Psycho Predictions has gone the farthest to fulfilling Smith’s desire for a coherent compositional statement using three disparate instrumental elements, while retaining the visceral spark of improvisation. Indeed, “its manic clarity feels like a punk gesture even when the music suggests something airier or more methodical.” -New York Times.
Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. Critics have called Ms. Halvorson “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” (Lars Gotrich, NPR.org) and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). In addition to her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, and her quintet, which adds trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, Ms. Halvorson also co-leads a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew, Reverse Blue and Secret Keeper. She is also an active member of bands led by Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Tomas Fujiwara, Curtis Hasselbring, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, Mike Reed and Marc Ribot, among others.
Born in San Diego, CA and raised in Sacramento, drummer Ches Smith came up in a scene of punks and metal musicians who were listening to and experimenting with jazz and free improvisation. He went to the Mills College graduate program where he studied percussion, improvisation, and composition with Willie Winant, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran. During his time at Mills, he co-founded two bands: Theory of Ruin and Good for Cows, and toured with Mr. Bungle. Since relocating to New York in 2008, Ches has performed and recorded with Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, Xiu Xiu, Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, and Secret Chiefs 3. He has also performed with Jandek, Terry Riley, Iggy Pop, John Zorn, Annie Gosfield, Baikida Carroll, Wadada Leo Smith, John Tchicai, Fred Frith, and Nels Cline. Ches leads a quintet called These Arches (with Tim Berne, Mary Halvorson, Tony Malaby, and Andrea Parkins), and a solo percussion project called Congs for Brums.
Mary Halvorson and Ches Smith: Solo Music is made possible, in part, by the Jerome Foundation. This is the first presentation of three concerts as part of Halvorson’s Artist Residency.
Over the last 33 years the Jerome Foundation has awarded Roulette almost $1 million, supporting hundreds of emerging artists through Roulette commissions, residencies and presentations. This sustained support has helped Roulette welcome successive generations of experimental artists into our community and onto our stage.