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Maria Schneider and Rudresh Mahanthappa share top honors in the 2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.
Briene Lermitte/Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artists
December 21, 2015 Composer-bandleader Maria Schneider's The Thompson Fields and alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls tie for top album honors among 147 writers and broadcasters.
Trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik enlisted three guitarists and a drummer for his winding new concept album, Ye Olde.
Peter Gannushkin/Courtesy of the artist
December 13, 2015 The composer and trombonist has covered a lot of territory, from jazz to Balkan brass bands to arranging for Kronos quartet. His latest album enlists three guitars and one very esoteric concept.
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Robert Ashcroft/Courtesy of the artist
December 18, 2013 We asked 137 jazz journalists to pick their favorite albums that came out this year. Out of over 700 nominees, here are their collective top 50 picks, along with top finishers in the Latin jazz, vocal, debut and reissue categories.
The Mary Halvorson Quintet performs at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR
August 4, 2013 A guitarist who sounds like no other, Halvorson can both astound and confound, with craggy phrasing, strange pitch-bends and pedal effects galore. She arrives at Newport as a bandleader.
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Mary Halvorson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2012.
February 25, 2013 A guitarist with a decidedly non-standard approach to jazz's standard practices, Halvorson balances golden-era hard-bop order and free improvising entropy. At the NPR Music offices, her band strikes comforting tones, but also morphs, rephrases and implodes those ideas.
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December 1, 2010 The list of our 50 favorite albums of the year includes Jonsi, LCD Soundsystem, Jonsi and more artists from H to L.
September 28, 2010 On this All Songs Considered, we've got a cut from a new collection of some of Syd Barrett's best work. Also Bee Vs. Moth and Sea of Bees, new music from Swans, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, and more.
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Mary Halvorson's Saturn Sings is an abstract jazz cliff-dive inspired by Thelonious Monk, Sam Cooke and Robert Wyatt.
September 26, 2010 With inspiration cast wide, from Thelonious Monk and Sam Cooke to Robert Wyatt, Saturn Sings is an abstract cliff-dive. But in the midst of Mary Halvorson's mind-bogglingly knotty guitar work, there's a backbone of smart jazz composition that reaches deeper. Hear the full album until its release on Oct. 5.
February 11, 2009 She says she never encountered any other female jazz guitarists growing up. But then again, Mary Halvorson is no run-of-the-mill jazz guitarist. She demonstrates her unique, hard-edged attack with her trio on WNYC's Soundcheck.
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Sonny Sharrock (pictured here with Linda Sharrock, then his wife) approach his guitar like Albert Ayler played his saxophone â fiercely, yet tenderly out of bounds.
Courtesy of the artist
November 3, 2008 Rock music may give the electric guitar fire, but avant-garde jazz musicians often re-think the instrument beyond its basic, melody- and rhythm-based functions. Here are five musicians who eschew standard conventions and instead approach the guitar as a device of pure sound.
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