Music

Thumbscrew (Halvorson, Formanek, Fujiwara)

Thumbscrew is a cooperative trio consisting of Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (double bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums). The band’s name might conjure a fearsome image, but Thumbscrew makes inviting music full of wonder and discovery from creative catalysts on jazz’s adventurous frontiers. “It is neither hierarchical, the way a soloist with accompaniment is, nor anti­hierarchical, the was free improv can be. The balance of governance and acquiescence is in constant flux, governed by a jointly shared sense of responsibility engendered by trust.” (Bill Meyer, The Wire) It's a collaboration that works beautifully, producing music greater than the sum of its parts. Thumbscrew is refreshingly original, and works as a strong composer's vehicle. While many cooperative bands draw on material recycled from other projects, "One of the things we said at the beginning is let's just write music for Thumbscrew and it will only be Thumbscrew music," says Formanek. "It really is a three­composer trio, and all of our tunes have our basic aesthetics attached. But we want everybody to have input. Nobody's afraid to make a decision. It's one of the first co­ops I've been in where everyone's really willing to take control at any given moment."

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