“Made up of three highly distinctive voices in the world of jazz and avant-garde music, Thumbscrew should probably collapse under the weight of its own star power but Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Mary Halvorson (electric guitar) and Michael Formanek (acoustic bass) are just too aware of the potential of this supertrio to let that happen.” – S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!
Thumbscrew demonstrates their unique collective musical vision in contrasting but complementary ways on Theirs. Comprised of longtime collaborators Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara, and Mary Halvorson, Thumbscrew is a true collaborative effort with all three members contributing at an equal rate both in terms of composition and improvisation.
Born out of a residency at Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum where Thumbscrew created their striking second album Convallaria, Theirs showcases Thumbscrew performing all covers on Theirs, presenting a meticulous and intuitive original sound that could only be crafted during focused and intensive time as a collective in a place like City of Asylum. “When we arrived at City of Asylum for our second residency in June 2017, we immediately said, ’we’re home!’” says Fujiwara, “The feelings we get when being at City of Asylum, around the people that make it such a unique place doing great work…All of this contributes to a creative process that’s open and inclusive and experimental.”
Theirsfeatures covers penned by venerable composers, from North American jazz legends Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter, to South American composers Julio De Caro (Argentina) and Jacob Do Bandolim (Brazil), to songwriter Evelyn Danzig and Dutch avant-gardist Misha Mengelberg. Thumbscrew covers considerable ground in bringing their unique arrangements and ensemble sensibility to this transfixing set of other composers’ music. On the selection of covers, Fujiwara says, “Each of us brought in a number of covers–more than double what we ended up releasing–that we were curious for Thumbscrew to try. We played through each composition many times, trying different arrangements, and slowly started to focus in on which ones felt right for the group.” Formanek states that “for me it was mostly a matter of which tunes I thought would have strong enough bones to sustain a Thumbscrew interpretation. It was also a matter of imagining how certain pieces would work with Mary, Tomas, and my approaches that wouldn’t sound like just another version.”
released June 8, 2018
Michael Formanek – bass
Tomas Fujiwara – drums
Mary Halvorson – guitar
Tracks 6 inspired by Johnny Smith’s arrangement of “Scarlet Ribbons.”
Mixed October 2017 through January 2018 by Jake K. Leckie, Brooklyn, NY.
Mastered February 2018 by Liberty Ellman at 4D, Brooklyn, NY.
Produced by Thumbscrew.
Art and design by Diane Samuels.
Thumbscrew would like to thank City of Asylum, Henry Reese, Diane Samuels, Silvia Duarte, Nate Campisi, Jake K. Leckie, Liberty Ellman and Steve Feigenbaum.
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