Mary Halvorson Quintet Saturn Sings

Mary Halvorson Quintet Saturn Sings
American guitarist/composer Halvorson is something of a critics' favourite in avant-garde/post-rock circles, and this strong second album as a bandleader demonstrates why. She's played with the likes of Marc Ribot, Anthony Braxton and Tim Berne, and is clearly a Braxton devotee. She calls "Leak Over Six Five" a tune inspired by a Braxton composition, while Yusef Lateef and Tomas Fujiwara are similarly acknowledged. Accompanying her inventive, angular playing are bass, drums, alto sax and trumpet, and this instrumental line-up (the first time Halvorson has worked with horns) have a nice dynamic. She cites Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke as inspirations, but her approach is more austere and abstract than soul stirring. This is an impressive outing. (Improvised Communications)