8

Mary Halvorson - Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara: Thumbscrew

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Mary Halvorson - Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara: Thumbscrew Kindred musical spirits unite on this composers' cooperative, featuring three musicians who have been forerunners and antagonists of new-fangled directions in the avant-garde jazz spectrum, other than ripping into customary modern jazz fare with a vengeance. The artists' divergent discographies offer a worldly testament to these aspects, besides their work as first-call session aces. With Michael Formanek's pronounced bass lines, guitarist Mary Halvorson's fascinating permutations, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara laying down a host of perky grooves, the group executes within a 360-degree realm of invention.

With her hollow-body electric guitar, Halvorson's strangely appealing detuning mechanisms, dodgy and zippy single note runs amid her use of distortion techniques, occasionally conjure notions of what Jimi Hendrix might sound like if he indulged in the avant-rock sphere of influence. However, Halvorson does not use a stack of Marshall Amps and a Fender Stratocaster, but her markedly unique approach combines zinging rock motifs via the jazz and improvisation schemas. Nonetheless, the band establishes an open form of communication, navigating through numerous channels, containing rough and tumble cadences and counterbalancing choruses. While moving forward, they also take a few steps back to re-engineer previously stated sub-themes and melody lines.

"Fluid Hills In Pink" is framed on Formanek's flickering bass lines, nicely mimicked by Fujiwara's snappy rim-shots and rolling patterns in support of an oddball theme. The trio often soars with vigorously enacted, linear unison lines and thronging clusters of sound. They basically keep you on your toes via works that are symmetrically designed with structure and free-floating improv segments. Moreover, "Goddess Sparkle" is constructed on the musicians' nimble phrasings, off-kilter voicings and wily abstractions. And during "Buzzard's Breath," Halvorson generates some high-heat by dishing out undulating harmonics and ascending thematic advances, tinged with distortion and bordering on a progressive-rock slant, propelled by Formanek's thumping bass notes.

Thumbscrew is uncannily cohesive, especially for a musical production that sneakily changes courses on an intermittent basis. Among other pluses, the trio projects a marvel of creativity, complemented by stinging solos and a highly intuitive command and control gameplan that provides thrills a minute and a simmering impetus.

Track Listing: Cheap Knock Off; iThumbscrew; Fluid Hills In Pink; Nothing Doing; Goddess Sparkle; Buzzard’s Breath; Still…Doesn’t Swing; Falling Too Far; Line To Create.

Personnel: Mary Halvorson: guitar; Michael Formanek: double bass; Tomas Fujiwara: drums.

Title: Thumbscrew | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Espiritu Zombi" CD/LP/Track Review Espiritu Zombi
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Times and Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Times and Tides
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Autumn Tales" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Tales
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "Iberica" CD/LP/Track Review Iberica
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.