Nonesuch Records releases twin label debut albums, Amaryllis and Belladonna, from Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson. The two suites, which Halvorson describes as “modular and interlocking,” were performed at Brooklyn’s Roulette last fall. The records, produced and mixed by John Dieterich (Deerhoof), will be available as a two-LP vinyl set or as two separate CDs, and also will be available digitally. Halvorson and the ensembles celebrate the albums’ release with a special performance of the two suites at National Sawdust in Brooklyn on May 18.
Amaryllis is a six-song suite performed by a newly formed sextet of master improvisers, including Halvorson, Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Nick Dunston (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Jacob Garchik (trombone), and Adam O’Farrill (trumpet). The Mivos string quartet joins for three of the songs, making this the largest ensemble for which Halvorson has written to date. The suite showcases Halvorson’s many musical influences from jazz, experimental, new music, and beyond.
Belladonna is a set of five compositions written for Halvorson on guitar plus The Mivos Quartet: Olivia De Prato (violin), Maya Bennardo (violin), Victor Lowrie Tafoya (viola), and Tyler J. Borden (cello). It is Halvorson’s first time writing for a string quartet. Mivos’ parts are through-composed and augmented by Halvorson’s guitar improvisations.
Side A – Amaryllis
Side B – Amaryllis
Side C – Belladonna
Side D – Belladonna