Thumbscrew will be working on a new album in Pittsburgh for a month-long residency hosted by City of Asylum. They will be performing these new works at this post-residency-concert!
Always elastic and innovative, Thumbscrew has honed a sinewy sound marked by transparent textures and astringent rhythms drawing widely and deeply from any number of sonic sources. Generating tremendous intensity without necessarily increasingly volume or density, Thumbscrew buzzes and crackles, burns and croons.
Mary Halvorson (guitar)
Michael Formanek (bass)
Tomas Fujiwara (drums)
Tomas Fujiwara is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer. Described as “a ubiquitous presence in the New York scene…an artist whose urbane writing is equal to his impressively nuanced drumming” (Troy Collins, Point of Departure), Tomas is an active player in some of the most exciting music of the current generation, with his various bands and projects. In The New York Times, Nate Chinen writes, “Drummer Tomas Fuijwara 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.”
Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has been called “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” (Lars Gotrich, NPR.org) and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). Ms. Halvorson is best known for her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, and more recently for her solo guitar project, Meltframe. She has several other projects as a bandleader including a quintet, septet and octet. Collaborative projects include a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew (with Michael Formanek and Tomas Fujiwara) and Secret Keeper (with Stephan Crump). Ms. Halvorson is also an active member of bands led by Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Mike Reed and Marc Ribot, among others.
One marker of bassist Michael Formanek‘s creativity and versatility is the range of distinguished musicians of several generations he’s worked with. While still a teenager in the 1970s he toured with drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Joe Henderson; starting in the ’80s he played long stints with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Fred Hersch and Freddie Hubbard. (As a callback to those days, Formanek recorded with hardbop pianist Freddie Redd in 2013). The bassist has played a pivotal role on New York’s creative jazz scene going back to the ’90s when he notably led his own quintet and played in Tim Berne’s barnstorming quartet Bloodcount. Nowadays Formanek’s in the co-op Thumbscrew with Brooklyn guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.
“The barrage of riffs are both epic and melodic, the low end beefy and the percussion massive. Expect nothing less than magic from these three avant purveyors.” –The Village Voice
“Of course they throw punches—any band with Formanek guiding it through the rocks is going to have a feisty side. But from Halvorson’s increasing poise to Fujiwara’s deep agility, even the rumble purrs now and again” -“The Hot Box”, Downbeat
“Thumbscrew implies a more intense form of free improvisation that these three could easily deliver, yet, with a few exceptions, this music often relies on subtle interaction, lower volumes and expansive compositions.” –JazzTimes