Tuned in: Ken Maiuri on Valley music
GUITARIST Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone return to the Valley to close out this season’s Solos and Duos Series of concerts at Bezanson Recital Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
They’re also celebrating 10 years of collaboration. When they first met in New York City, they’d get together weekly to make dinner and work on new composition ideas. Those regular hang-outs blossomed into a lasting partnership that now includes four full-length duo recordings, the latest of which is last year’s “Departure of Reason.”
Their music defies categorization, mixing elements of folk and jazz, acoustic and electric textures, instrumental and vocal, poppy melodies and dissonance — even making catchy hooks out of the dissonance itself.
“Onslaught” is an accessible entryway into their world, with a jaunty fanfare on the viola that soon gets punctuated by woozy electronics-garbled interjections, turning the major-key melody into something fractured and minor and then back again, ending with a playful galloping ending.
Time Out New York tried to sum up the longtime duo’s sound as “a challenging fusion of oblique art song, reflective chamber music and thorny free improv.” NPR called Halvorson “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” — she truly has a unique sound on the instrument, immediately recognizable.
Halvorson and Pavone aren’t neighbors anymore but their expanding universe of musical work often finds them crossing paths — they both play with Anthony Braxton and also The Thirteenth Assembly — and the Brooklyn-based artists tour together as often as their busy schedules allow. (They last came to the Valley in February, performing at an intimate venue in Turners Falls.)
Angry Johnny and the Killbillies have their annual “Thanks for Nothin’” show at Whiskerz Pub in Easthampton on Saturday at 9 p.m.
The Lonesome Brothers perform among the many stringed instruments at Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. No cover, tips appreciated.
Soul Prophet, Amber O’Brien and members of Earth Tribe Love and Rebelle are banding together to raise money for hurricane relief, with all profits going to the American Red Cross and local grassroots organization Occupy Sandy Relief. At the Munson Library in Amherst on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Harmonizing Americana trio The Boxcar Lilies plays its 2nd annual full-band post-Thanksgiving show — joined by an all-star group of Jim Henry on dobro, Paul Kochanski on bass and Rick Mauran on drums — at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Sunday at 7 p.m. Singer-songwriter Carrie Ferguson opens. Both acts are currently raising funds online for the production of their new CDs.
Dinosaur Jr., still going strong and loud in their post-2005 reunion rebirth, plays Pearl Street in Northampton on Wednesday at 8 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Common School in Amherst. Hush Arbors opens.
Jazz lovers take note: Wednesday nights are jazz night at The Black Moon Music Lounge in Belchertown. This week’s featured group is Moment’s Notice, a local quartet that features Dick Poccia on saxophone, Karl Rausch on guitar, Jimmy Burgoff on bass and Bill Matthews on drums. On Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Ray Mason and Robin Lane share the bill for a free show at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls on Thursday at 8 p.m.