Mary Halvorson has made a name for herself in recent years, not just as one of the foremost and original new avant jazz guitarists, but also a composer and bandleader of stature.
That trend continues and goes a step further in her new CD Bending Bridges (Firehouse 12 12-04-01-016). It's a fine quintet with Mary, Jon Irabagon, alto, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, John Hebert, bass, and Ches Smith, drums.
They combine a loose freedom with a good amount of significant compositional part playing that goes in and out without resorting to cliches or overworked phrasings.
The band is quite well-suited for this sort of thing, which is not surprising given the personnel. There is however a surprise is the trumpet work of Mr. Finlayson. I have not heard much of him and he holds his own here, most certainly.
Mary's guitar work sometimes combines the electricity of hard rock, the outness of post-Sharrock sound color and a harmonic-melodic sense that stands out as of great interest and originality.
Nine originals of substance grace the CD and if you are like me you'll find it all quite worth hearing, with nary a wasted moment. Definitely recommended.