Whenever I want music and don't know where to go, The Stone is always a good idea for me. I have been wanting to check out Mary Halverson for a while. I remember when she curated The Stone last Feb. I went the first night, with Ches Smith, Matt Moran, Joe Karten and Nate Wooley. Mary was there for most of the shows she curated, and they were saying how they can't wait to see her play. I made a mental note that if these greats wanted to see her play, I should as well. I only made it back for a couple more sets that month, inpulsively, and she was never playing. Since then, I've seen her in the listings a number of times, but haven't made it.
Then, I see Mary Halverson in this month's All About Jazz, in the lesser known artist section. I was surprised because this is the first time I knew of anyone in that part. I thought the 2 people they show there every month are even lesser known. I mean, she curated The Stone already. Anyway, that got me even more intrigued, especially when I read how Joe Morris, one of her guitar teachers, emphasized the importance of finding a unique voice on the guitar, and that was a big deal to her.
So, I finally see her and Jessica Pavone last night, 2nd set, and it was excellent. They were so in sync with each other and every moment sounded excellent. Both had unique styles and sounds, but it was more cohesive than a lot of avant-garde music. It wasn't too "out there". I am very impressed with Mary's guitar playing. I thought at times it sounded like the viola, with the various pedals and techniques. I couldn't really see her play because they were reading music that was in the way. I had to watch her feet on the pedals and I could see Jessica playing the viola because she held it higher. It was really excellent.
Before that, I went to a full house for The Instruments. Most people knew one of the 8 artists. They were all excellent. I was a little skeptical how it would go when I glanced at the listing right before I went. I was worried it might be kind of boring. It was actually excellent and quite alive. I kept thinking of Bang on a Can, which I finally made it to the marathon at WFC last summer. That is many classically trained musicians doing music in new and innovative ways. Now that I see it listed as folk music, I can see that, but it didn't occur to me that's what it was when I was listening.
The music was very alive and felt really, really good. There was one song where the guitar player put chopsticks under the strings, and that sounded cool. The vibraphone player sometimes played with bows on the edges.
The only one I couldn't really hear or figure out what he was doing there was the french horn. I was very intrigued by it, since it's not something I usually see, but I couldn't tell what sounds were coming from it. It was still fun to watch it work, though.
It was just a great night in general and I'm glad I impulsively decided to do it and not stay in.