Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

9

Mary Halvorson - Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara: Thumbscrew

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
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 Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "All These Hands" CD/LP/Track Review All These Hands
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Feefifofum Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Feefifofum Quartet
by James Nadal
Published: July 9, 2017
Read "Surface of Inscription" CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!