From the liner notes of Forget All That and Just Wail, new music compiled by Ross Simonini for the 2013 music issue:
Mary Halvorson Quintet, “Sea Cut Like Snow (No. 26)”
Most early jazz albums were live recordings, or studio recordings that were almost-live, completed in a room, over a few hours, with a lot of improv. This live Halvorson track has a nice blend of the composed and the improvised, and you can feel the ensemble ebbing and flowing as the music chugs along. You get some beautiful soloing from Mary here. Her guitar playing is raw and aggressive, an approach that sounds as much like punk as traditional jazz guitarists such as Django Reinhardt or Grant Green or Jim Hall. She uses a pedal to transform the sound of her guitar, adding a rubbery slip to the way notes are released and attacked. Her phrasing is as much the product of her years of rigorous discipline as it is of the musical technology of her time.