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Jessica Pavone

Primary Instrument: Viola

Jessica Pavone

Brooklyn based string instrumentalist/composer Jessica Pavone, has been active in New York City for the past eight years. She is best known for her work performing all over the world with Anthony Braxton in his current Septet and Twelve+1tet and for her duo project with guitarist, Mary Halvorson, which has been described as “distinct and beguiling...its core is steely, and its execution clear.” (The New York Times).

As a composer, Pavone has received grants from the American Music Center and commissions to write chamber music from the MATA Foundation, and the chamber music collectives; Till by Turning and The Eastern Winds. She has been noted as having “the ability to transform a naked tonal gesture into something special” (The Wire). She currently leads and plays bass guitar and viola in her 60's soul inspired band The Pavones , plays viola and composes for... No Way to Say Goodbye (a string quartet that substitutes a second violin for a double bass) and a CD of her indeterminate works for solo viola was recently released by the Nowaki label in Paris, France....
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(Mary and Jess ) “Thorny compositions that sound as if female teen punkers the Shaggs received doctorates in the music of 12-tone composer Alban Berg, and then rewrote their Philosophy of the World.... Carefully notated structures and interplay morph effortlessly into free improvisation that is intelligent and expressive, but never self-indulgent. Also featuring intense lyrics sung with their clear and melodic voices, the two women make transcendent chamber music outside of any genre.” - Elliott Sharp, Guitar Player Magazine, December 2007

“...lush beauty and exquisite delicacy....'Quotidian' is powerful and probing and thoughtfully written and executed.” - Bruce Gallanter Downtown Music Gallery

Guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone are in the thick of New York's bustling new music scene, routinely erasing the lines that separate free improvisation, jazz, experimental, and pop musics ... read full review - Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

The guitarist Mary Halvorson and the violist Jessica Pavone have worked together in ensembles led by the avant-garde eminence Anthony Braxton, and separately in a wide array of upstart new-music groups. As an acoustic duo they produce something distinct and beguiling: an amalgam of experimental folk, rock and chamber music that feels both meticulous and raw. Their debut, “On and Off” (Skirl), presents a dozen pieces of modest scale but impressive metabolism. There's a disarming openness to their interaction, never more pronounced than when the two are blending their voices in something like a campfire harmony. But this music isn't clever or cute. Its core is steely, and its execution clear. (Catch the duo this Thursday in New York at Cake Shop on the Lower East Side.) - Nate Chinen, The New York Times

“Unlike the leather-jacketed punk godfathers that prompted the name, Jessica Pavone, of The Pavones, doesn't insist that her bandmates change their surnames to gain membership into the band. Still, the vibe remains one of the extended family.” “I've chosen the musicians in this band because they're all friends of mine,” Pavone said via e-mail. “I feel it adds so much more to the music as well as the experience of playing it.” - Shaun Brady, Metro

“Pavone's compositions lead you to a mesmerizing place where the usual mad scramble to express something 'weighty' or 'important' doesn't count for very much. Pavone's own viola solos are placed between miniatures for a glacial-sounding quartet and a warmer trio, and her deliberately paced mobile-like forms infatuate the brain while calming the pulse.” - Philip Clark, The Wire

“The pieces on 27 Epigrams are all only about a minute or two long, which works perfectly for Pavone's style of composing. Her pieces last only as long as it takes for her to exhaust a simple idea. She sets up tiny hurdles, then leaps over them with ease: for example, a piece might consist of a short phrase played on the viola in several different octaves. Her clear, simple approach to the way the instruments she uses are actually played allows the listener to concentrate on the lovely way the notes circle around each other... Her music moves with balance and grace to spare, and few composers bother to take as much care with as few materials as she does.” - Charlie Wilmoth, Dusted Magazine

Her epigrams are compellingly moving and stir deep feelings that range from despondency to lightheartedness, but the artistry of Pavone and the other musicians overflows in these ever-transforming sequences. Art does imitate life, and the musical expressions of Pavone are a microcosm of life's reality. - Frank Rubilino, All About Jazz

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