Mary Halvorson Amaryllis & Belladonna 2LP

Mary Halvorson

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Guitarist/Composer's Nonesuch Debut on Double LP!
Featuring a Sextet of Master Improvisers + the Mivos String Quartet!

Jazzwise The 20 Best Jazz Albums of 2022 - Rated 4/20!
Fred Kaplan's The Best Jazz Albums of 2022 - Rated 7/10!
JazzTimes The Top 40 Jazz Albums of 2022 - Rated 5/40!

Nonesuch Records releases twin label debut albums, Amaryllis and Belladonna, from Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson.

Halvorson describes these two suites as "modular and interlocking." The records, produced and mixed by John Dieterich (Deerhoof), are available as a two-LP vinyl set. Jazziz calls it "some of the most accomplished writing of Halvorson's meteoric career."

"Halvorson's current double release, Amaryllis and Belladonna, shows how far this singleminded original has come, and affords a glimpse of how far she may go," says the Guardian, in its five-star Jazz Album of the Month review. "Both sessions confirm how years of jaggedly lyrical solo and ensemble improvising and a quirkily subversive affection for mainstream music have now nurtured a composer of unpredictable but warmly expressive character … These are new landmarks in Halvorson's already inimitable discography."

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.

"Working with the Mivos Quartet was a dream. After I composed the Belladonna record, for string quartet and guitar, I wanted to keep going, so I started adding string quartet parts to the Amaryllis sextet music, too. Hence the project ultimately circled back around to contain both groups, as a tentet," Halvorson concludes. "I liked the notion that the projects are modular—they can exist separately or come together as one large ensemble."

One of New York City's most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot, and John Zorn. She is also part of several collaborative projects, most notably the longstanding trio Thumbscrew with Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums.

The language Halvorson constructs on Amaryllis is lush yet balanced and symmetrical. Her harmonic core, though fluid, offers a generous tonal palette for ensemble players and soloists alike, no matter who ultimately converses with who, while her melodies are simultaneously memorable, complex, and thought-provoking.
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic, 4/5 (The AllMusic 2022 Year in Review - Favorite Jazz Albums)
The release of either of these albums would be significant: but to have them released simultaneously is a major musical event.
-Andy Robson, Jazzwise, The 20 Best Albums of 2022
A singular guitarist, Halvorson weaves era-spanning jazz traditions in with corrosive rock, avant-funk, and chamber writing, all reflected through a funhouse mirror warp. What's most remarkable about Amaryllis is the way that voice is embodied through the full ensemble.
-Shaun Brady, JazzTimes, The Top 40 Jazz Albums of 2022
Jimi Hendrix was Mary Halvorson's inspiration as a child. She has reinvented guitar improvisation in comparably radical ways, but also blossomed into a major contemporary composer. Avant-funk and warped swing, graceful classical-string sounds, headlong boppish grooves and more collide on these fearless but warmly communicative albums.
-John Fordham, The Guardian, The 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2022
What more could a listener want?
-J.D. Considine, Downbeat, 5/5


  • Double LP
  • LP 1: Amaryllis
  • LP 2: Belladonna
  • Gatefold Jacket
  • Made in the Netherlands



Adam O'Farrill trumpet
Jacob Garchik trombone
Patricia Brennan vibraphone
Mary Halvorson guitar
Nick Dunston bass
Tomas Fujiwara drums
Olivia De Prato violin
Maya Bennardo violin
Victor Lowrie Tafoya viola
Tyler J. Borden cello


Mary Halvorson guitar
Olivia De Prato violin
Maya Bennardo violin
Victor Lowrie Tafoya viola
Tyler J. Borden cello



Side A:
  1. Night Shift
  2. Anesthesia
  3. Amaryllis
Side B:
  1. Side Effect
  2. Hoodwink
  3. 892 Teeth


Side C:
  1. Nodding Yellow
  2. Moonburn
  3. Flying Song
Side D:
  1. Haunted Head
  2. Belladonna

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