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Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

Away With You
    • Music
    • Sonics
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    After being drawn into the dreamy intimacy of Meltframe, Mary Halvoron’s solo guitar outing from 2015, it’s startling to hear her singular voice in an octet setting on Away With You. While guitar was the sole star on Meltframe, it’s Halvorson’s writing and ambitious arrangements for four horns and pedal steel guitar that intrigues on this large ensemble affair. Her swirling counterpoint, well-crafted horn voicings, and dense textures are her calling card from the opening salvo “Spirit Splitter” to the evocative closer “Inky Spots.” The fugue-like movement of the horns against Halvorson’s precisely picked arpeggios on the title track is exhilarating while her maverick guitar solo combines inside-outside aesthetics. Susan Alcorn’s pedal steel guitar is featured on the intro to the suite-like “The Absolute Almost,” which builds to a tumultuous crescendo with altoist Jon Irabagon, tenorist Ingrid Laubrock, and trombonist Jacob Garchik blowing in unbridled fashion over the fray. Laubrock skronks mightily on the rubato section to “Sword Barrel,” and on “Safety Orange” the leader demonstrates the kind of courageous approach to improvisation that we heard from her in the stripped-down setting of last year’s Meltframe

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