As both an instrumentalist and composer, Jessica Pavone has regularly and thematically explored tactile experience and the use of the body in her compositions and performances. This is most notable in her solo viola music, where indeterminate pieces stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and her interests in repetition, song form, sympathetic vibration and the physicality of playing her somewhat larger-than-comfortable instrument. For her string ensemble, Pavone has merged these two distinct modalities by creating an ensemble she both composes for and performs in. These pieces continue to explore the themes of her solo music, while also integrating a deeper understanding of the affects sound has on the listener. The way sound affects the body and psyche have always been an interest; and, while her discoveries in this area have been primarily through direct experience, she plans to further understand responses through sound with this ensemble.
We are the band called JOBS, and sometimes that feels like a big responsibility. JOBS believes that this band is our job, and it is the band’s job to provide an experience that makes you forget your job, and hopefully gets you to look at the way things are with an eye towards how things could be.
The original members of JOBS - drummer Max Jaffe, bassist Rob Lundberg, and guitarist David Scanlon - started the project (under the name “killer BOB”) in a tiny closet in Manhattan when they were music students (yes, this is music made by music students, but don’t let that scare you away), and 10 years later, they continue to devise new ways of maintaining their creative vitality.
The music on their forthcoming record, “Log On For The Free Chance To Log On For Free”, is the result of changes to their environment and lineup. To prepare for this record, JOBS rented a small two-bedroom bungalow in Santa Fe for a week. There is a vastness and an openness to the environment there that is nowhere to be found in New York, and the band took full advantage of that, feeling the space and freedom to run with their craziest ideas. Long unstructured days of writing and rehearsing were broken up by spontaneous hikes in the Galisteo Basin. Food was prepared together. Energy flowed with ease. A record of new material was essentially complete by the end of the week.
After completing the recordings in a communal house studio in Woodstock (The Isokon), JOBS had one final crucial step, which was to formally bring longtime friend and occasional member Jessica Pavone into the band. She brings her own highly-developed musical personality to the table, as well as years of immeasurable experience as a luminary of the New York avant-garde. Her viola playing and one of her compositions (“Held Up Fairly”) make its debut with JOBS on this record.
On the title of the record, "Log On For The Free Chance To Log On For Free”, it can easily be heard as coming from the voice of a corporation which, for many, is the keeper of their job. “Logging in... is a ploy to acquire information. ‘Log on for the free chance to log on for free’ is a catch-22. It is a corporation exploiting someone and, in return, giving them what they already had,” says Lundberg. Jaffe adds, “there are corporations that we have socially agreed to collaborate with. Our information and the content that we create is monetized and in exchange we are given a community that we already had.”
Pavone’s recent works for solo viola stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. She combines her long tone rituals with delay, understated melodies and sparse lyrical content while continuously experimenting with new forms.
Guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone's longstanding duo embraces a wide range of musical traditions to create what Time Out New York describes as "a challenging fusion of oblique art song, reflective chamber music and thorny free improv."
Critics have noted their "level of interplay that borders on the clairvoyant" (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com) and likened them to "an avant-garde Thelma and Louise, blazing a trail across the stylistic horizon like a 1966 Ford Thunderbird jerry-rigged from scraps of Eric Dolphy, Django Reinhardt, Appalachian gothic campfires, Charles Ives, and Hendrix-laced psychedelia" (Aidan Levy, Village Voice).
Known as "two of the most exciting figures in New York’s jazz and improvised-music community" (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader), Halvorson and Pavone have worked together in a variety of musical settings over the past decade, most notably the collective quartet The Thirteenth Assembly and the ensembles of the iconic saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton.
Unlike those larger groups, their duo boils down its diverse influences into intimate original compositions that skillfully blend ethereal vocals and folk-inspired simplicity with an experimental edge, expanding their appeal beyond the boundaries of avant-garde jazz.
"Pavone and Halvorson reach in and touch the brain, activating dreams and aggravations with their spare and insidious tunes," writes the Montreal Mirror's Gordon Allen. "The music challenges what is comfortable, with enough restraint to beckon the imagination, sometimes lifting and carrying along, sometimes dragging us toward what we cannot see."
The group, which has performed at venues ranging from small cafés to major international festivals since 2002, will release its fourth recording this fall on the Thirsty Ear label. Learn more about Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone at http://maryhalvorson.com and http://jessicapavone.com
Following upon her acclaimed first CD for Tzadik, Songs of Synastry and Solitude (2009), Jessica Pavone has created a beautiful and evocative song cycle that meditates on themes of destruction and rebuilding, migration, falsities, and undeniable truths. Adding the heartfelt voice of Emily Manzo and long time associate Mary Halvorson, to the Toomai String quartet along with a dynamic rhythm section, the music is explorative and lyrical. Pavone continues her imaginative exploration of new and exciting ways to present stories and song forms in chamber music contexts with this latest offering.
"Songs of Synastry and Solitude" is a collection of songs for string quartet influenced by an interest in the simple beauty of folk songs, the ghosts of all things lost and Leonard Cohen's encouragement to live outside this world.
QUOTIDIAN This Work was funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.
Performed by Till By Turning
Quotidian is a suite for violin, viola, cello, bassoon, and piano.
Composed in four movements: Hypnopompic, Post Meridiem, Weight of Dusk, and The Darkest Hour, it examines four temporal landmarks that occur within each single day.
Quotidian stems from a belief that the shifting balance between light and dark, as well as other environmental changes constantly affect us regardless of how conscious or aware we are of them. Our external environment has a direct effect on our moods and feelings and therefore, in a sense, has ultimate control overall living beings.
Erica Dicker - violin
Amy Cimini - viola
Loren Dempster - cello
Katherine Young - bassoon
Emily Manzo - piano