All About Jazz

Home » Music » Track of the Day


Pedernal by Susan Alcorn

From the album

Album Title: Pedernal
Label: Relative Pitch Records
Released: 2020


Sign in to view listen count

About the Album

“Pedernal,” the title track of Susan Alcorn’s new album. The album opens a new chapter for the Baltimore-based Alcorn, introducing her as a composer with a vision as subtle, bracing, and beautiful as her pedal steel playing. This fearless project is built around some of her deepest musical relationships, including those with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Ryan Sawyer. Also featured is new Alcorn collaborator, violinist Mark Feldman, an artist she’s wanted to work with since seeing him perform with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier some years ago. “Pedernal” opens with Alcorn’s gracefully slithery pedal steel line suggesting a dark, minor blues that’s joined in an undulating caress by Formanek’s lithe bass. Descending chords introduce the second section as the band steps into the gathering maelstrom, eventually resolving into a beatifically lyrical theme that seems to summon the abiding power of the iconic vista. Over the past quarter century Alcorn has blazed a singular trail on the pedal steel guitar, transforming an instrument inextricably linked to the music of Nashville and Hawaii into a vehicle for improvisational flights untethered to any particular idiom. Best known for her work as a solo improviser, she’s a master of impromptu duo encounters who’s also comfortable mixing it up with larger ensembles like the London Improvisers Orchestra and Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

Track Listing

Pedernal; Circular Ruins; R.U.R.; A Night in Gdansk; Northeast Rising Sun.


Susan Alcorn
guitar, steel
Michael Formanek
bass, acoustic


Date featured

March 4, 2021

This track appears by permission of the contributing artist and/or record company.
It is for personal use only; no other rights are granted or implied.


Shop Amazon

Free Tracks

Lo abismal, el agua
Luciana Morelli
Will St Peter
Sean Michael Giddings
Each Hidden Joy
Erin Propp


Paolo Angeli
Falling Forward
Quinn Johnson
Rumba Azul
Gabriel Evan Orchestra
Will Lyle
Opening Gambit
Matt Clark

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.