“(Secret Keeper’s) rapport and shared intuition seemed present from the outset of their partnership, but the new record, which features them moving effortlessly from structured passages to wide-open excursions, is even richer and more satisfying. The tunes burrow deeper into my memory with each pass, but it’s the way Halvorson and Crump dance together in those melodies that really knocks me out. That sort of connection can’t be faked.”
— Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader
Quinn’s is proud to present the duo Secret Keeper, featuring two of the most celebrated, forward-thinking musicians playing today: bassist Stephan Crump and guitarist Mary Halvorson. Secret Keeper will perform at Quinn’s on Thursday, December 8 at 8 PM. There will be no cover at the door but a $10 donation towards the musicians is requested.
The NY Times says that “as a bassist and composer, (Stephan) Crump avoids obvious routes but manages never to lose his way.” He has performed with a wide array of musicians ranging from Vijay Iyer to Jorma Kaukonen, The Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano to Patti Austin, among many others. Mary Halvorson has been called ”NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts) and “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz—or otherwise” (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal). She has performed with such notable musicians as Anthony Braxton, Marc Ribot, Tim Berne, Ingrid Laubrock and many others.
One of improvised music’s most in-demand guitarists, Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. Critics have called her “a singular talent” (Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes), ”NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz—or otherwise” (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal), and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). The Philadelphia City Paper‘s Shaun Brady adds, “Halvorson has been steadily reshaping the sound of jazz guitar in recent years with her elastic, sometimes-fluid, sometimes-shredding, wholly unique style.”
After three years of study with visionary composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, Ms. Halvorson became an active member of several of his bands, including his trio, septet and 12+1tet. To date, she appears on six of Mr. Braxton’s recordings. Ms. Halvorson has also performed alongside iconic guitarist Marc Ribot, in his bands Sun Ship and The Young Philadelphians, and with the bassist Trevor Dunn in his Trio-Convulsant. Over the past decade she has worked with such diverse bandleaders as Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey and Mike Reed.
As a bandleader and composer, one of Ms. Halvorson’s primary outlets is her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith. Since their 2008 debut album, Dragon’s Head, the band has been recognized as a rising star jazz band by Downbeat Magazine for five consecutive years. Ms. Halvorson’s quintet, which adds trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon to the trio, has released two critically acclaimed albums on the Firehouse 12 label: Saturn Sings and Bending Bridges. Most recently she has added two additional band members—tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik—to form a septet, featured on her 2013 release Illusionary Sea. Ms. Halvorson also co-leads a longstanding chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew and Secret Keeper.
Memphis-bred, Grammy-nominated bassist/composer Stephan Crump has lived in Brooklyn since 1994. An active bandleader and composer, he has released ten critically-acclaimed albums in addition to numerous film scoring contributions. As bassist, known for transforming his instrument into a speaking entity of magnetic pull, his focus on creative instrumental music has led to collaborations with many of the leading lights of his generation.
Shunning barriers of genre, Crump has performed and recorded with a diverse range of musicians, from Portishead’s Dave McDonald, The Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano, to Patti Austin, Jim Campilongo, Jorma Kaukonen, Lucy Kaplansky, Big Ass Truck, Sonny Fortune, and late blues legend Johnny Clyde Copeland. Currently, he can be heard as a long-standing member of Vijay Iyer Trio and Sextet, Jen Chapin Band, Ches Smith Trio, Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, Liberty Ellman Sextet, Secret Keeper (with Mary Halvorson), his own Rosetta Trio, as well as groups with Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock, Cory Smythe, Eric McPherson, Mat Maneri, and Okkyung Lee.
Stephan comes from a family of architects, sculptors, painters, storytellers, musicians, civic leaders, and craftsmen. He was raised in music and the arts by his Parisian mother, an amateur pianist, and his Memphian father, an architect, painter, and jazz drummer. After six years of classical piano study and two years with the alto saxophone, he got his first bass guitar at age thirteen and spent his high school years playing in rock and funk bands around Memphis. During the summers, he worked in the studio of his uncle, Stephen, a wood sculptor.
Crump received his Bachelor of Music degree from Amherst College, where he studied under Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlin and was awarded the Sundquist Prize for performance and composition. It was at Amherst that he began his acoustic bass journey, with a focus on classical training that culminated in a year of study in Paris with Gary Karr-protégé Patrick Hardouineau. His jazz studies at Amherst included work with Max Roach, Frank Foster, and Ray Drummond.
Crump launched his solo performance career as an invited artist at the 2009 International Society of Bassists conference and has since released several recordings documenting his duo collaborations with alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, pianist James Carney, and guitarist Mary Halvorson. His all-string Rosetta Trio, with Jamie Fox and Liberty Ellman, is working toward their fourth album, while and his Rhombal quartet, with Tyshawn Sorey, Ellery Eskelin, and Adam O’Farrill, recently released its eponymous debut.
Stephan is an enthusiastic endorser of Velvet strings, Aguilar bass amplifiers, AMT acoustic bass microphones, and David Gage Czech Ease travel bass.