Reading Room: Why Mary Halvorson Sounds Like No Other Guitarist

“‘…it’s not uncommon now for me to play in bands where women outnumber men. I think there’s a real momentum, and things are starting to shift.’ But it’s still not all that common to see a young woman leading a jazz band. Halvorson says her philosophy as a leader is to give musicians the freedom to make their own choice, in much the same way that she found her own voice on the guitar. ‘For me it’s more a matter of just trusting my instincts, even if you have a really simple idea — just, OK, I like this, I’m gonna play – and not worrying too much about what it is, what it sounds like, or doesn’t sound like,’ she says. ‘So I try as much as I can to play what I like, and trust what I like.'”

By Joel Rose

Mary Halvorson participated in the AUX 4 Experimental Arts Festival and is featured with Jessica Pavone on AUX Vol. 2.