Cloudward is the new release by Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson. The album features eight new compositions by Halvorson, performed with her sextet Amaryllis; the improvisatory band that performed on her critically praised 2022 albums Amaryllis and Belladonna comprises Halvorson, Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Nick Dunston (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Jacob Garchik (trombone), and Adam O’Farrill (trumpet). Labelmate Laurie Anderson also is featured on the album track “Incarnadine.” The dual 2022 releases’ acclaim included being named Jazz Album of the Year in DownBeat’s annual Critics Poll. Halvorson and the ensemble will tour internationally following the Cloudward release, including February and March dates in Maryland and New York, as well as at the Big Ears Festival as part of Nonesuch’s 60th anniversary celebration.
“All the music on Cloudward was written in 2022, mostly in the fall and winter, when things started moving forward. Life felt like a creaky machine starting up again,” Halvorson says. “Air travel, however chaotic, had resumed, and we were once again cloudward. Performances and tours and recordings were happening after a long hiatus and with a renewed sense of gratitude. This band, for me, was quite simply working, both musically and personally, and the main thing I felt while writing the music was optimism.”