Best Guitarist (2011)

Mary Halvorson

Mary Halvorson's discography is ever-growing, though it isn't expanding as quickly as the guitarist-composer's seemingly ever-expanding arsenal of ways to use her instrument. Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear), her collaboration with trumpeter Peter Evans and drummer Weasel Walter, is full of improvisations that have her nearly turning her guitar inside-out in order to coax new sounds from it. Her willingness to see just where her fleet fingers might take whatever music she's playing results in even the most abstract riffs and chord-shards transforming into chaotic beauty. Later this year, she'll release Station Direct with the Thirteenth Assembly (cornettist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and violist Jessica Pavone round out the group); when talking about that project with the Voice, she noted that "good, old-fashioned shit-giving" was essential to her extra-musical bonding process, which might help explain the on-a-dime rapport that she strikes up with her fellow improvisers.


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