Illegal Crowns Jazz Quartet

Illegal Crowns
June 14, 2022 | 7:30pm
Villa Albertine hosts international jazz masters ILLEGAL CROWNS at La Maison Française on June 14


Taylor Ho Bynum (USA): cornet, flugelhorn

Mary Halvorson (USA): guitar

Benoît Delbecq (FR): piano

Tomas Fujiwara (USA): drums

Illegal Crowns is a collective quartet that brings together the long-time collaborative trio of guitarist Mary Halvorson, drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum with the French pianist Benoît Delbecq.

All four artists are critically recognized as leading figures in contemporary music, and have created multiple original compositions written specifically for this group. The band has recorded two albums (the self-titled debut album released in 2016, and “The No-Nosed Puppet” released in 2019, both on the RogueArt label) and has toured throughout Europe and Canada, and will be making its long overdue US debut with this tour.

Tomas Fujiwara is a Brooklyn-based drummer, composer, and band leader. Described as “a ubiquitous presence in the New York scene…an artist whose urbane writing is equal to his impressively nuanced drumming” (Point of Departure), Tomas is an active player in some of the most exciting music of the current generation, with his bands Triple Double, 7 Poets Trio, and Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up; his collaborative duo with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum; the collective trio Thumbscrew (with Mary Halvorson and Michael Formanek); and a diversity of creative work with Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Mary Halvorson, Matana Roberts, Joe Morris, Taylor Ho Bynum, Nicole Mitchell, Ben Goldberg, Tomeka Reid, Amir ElSaffar, Benoit Delbecq, and many others. “Drummer Tomas Fujiwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, solid but ever shifting. His style is forward-driving but rarely blunt or aggressive, and never random. He has a way of spreading out the center of a pulse while setting up a rigorous scaffolding of restraint…A conception of the drum set as a full-canvas instrument, almost orchestral in its scope.” (New York Times).

Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been described as “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). In recent Downbeat Critics Polls Halvorson has been celebrated as guitarist, rising star jazz artist, and rising star composer of the year, and in 2019 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Halvorson has released a series of critically acclaimed albums on the Firehouse 12 label, most recently Artlessly Falling with her ensemble Code Girl. One of New York City’s most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot and John Zorn. She is also part of several collaborative projects, most notably the longstanding trio Thumbscrew with Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums.

Taylor Ho Bynum is a composer, performer and interdisciplinary collaborator, and a producer, organizer, teacher, and writer. His expressionistic playing on cornet and expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention on over twenty recordings as a bandleader and dozens more as a sideman, including The Ambiguity Manifesto, a top-10 choice in the 2019 NPR Jazz Critics’ Poll. His varied endeavors include leading his own bands, his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation (which he served as executive director from 2010-2018, producing and performing on many major Braxton projects, including two operas and multiple festivals). Bynum has worked with other legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor and maintains current collaborative projects with Tomas Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson, Kyoko Kitamura, Joe Morris, and Tomeka Reid, among others. He is currently the director of the Coast Jazz Orchestra at Dartmouth College, where he also teaches music history, composition and improvisation, and his writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Baffler, Point of Departure and Sound American.

Born in 1966, based in Paris, pianist, composer and producer Benoît Delbecq figures among the innovators of the international contemporary jazz scene. He has about forty discs as leader or in collectives, on a discography of more than 120 recordings. A former student of Mal Waldron and Muhal Richard Abrams among others, Benoît’s international career started around 1992 from Parisian cutting-edge club Les Instants Chavirés, in parallel to the founding of Kartet, The Recyclers and the hyperactive Hask Collective which helped revitalize the Paris creative music scene. Delbecq’s works include regular collaborations with Evan Parker, Mark Turner, John Hébert, Gerald Cleaver, Fred Hersch, Andy Milne, Ethan Iverson, Kris Davis, among many others. His latest solo album, The Weight of Light on Pyroclastic Records, was described as “a mysterious and moving artistic statement from a richly important voice in contemporary improvised music” (London Jazz News).

This tour of Illegal Crowns has been made possible through the Jazz & New Music, a program of FACE Foundation, and Villa Albertine with support from the Florence Gould Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, Institut français-Paris, and Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs de Musique (SACEM). Additional support for women artists has been provided by CHANEL Fund for Women in the Arts and Culture.

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