Ours by Thumbscrew.
Bandcamp Link: Ours
Thumbscrew is Michael Formanek, Bass; Tomas Fujiwara, drums; Mary Halvorson, guitar.
Formanek is probably best known for his work in the sphere of Tim Berne and from his own ensembles. Fujiwara and Halvorson have spent time in the circles of Anthony Braxton’s recent ensembles.
Halvorson’s work is often prickly and angular, trad jazz folks complain it doesn’t “swing” or “rock”. She plays with largely dry tone on a big hollow body that is almost as tall as she is. Her main thing seems to be balancing between electric sound of the amplified guitar, the acoustic sound of the plucked guitar strings, and discreet use of a looper/delay.
Formanek is a very melodic and flexible bass player, despite his involvement in Berne’s often full contact ensembles. I feel it is his often bowed sound that is the heart of this ensemble.
Fujiwara, I would describe as a lithe and nimble drummer, one second he is playing swing time, the next he is tick-tacking along as if he were playing percussion in an orchestra, the next he is dragging the surprising sounds out if his kit, and the next he is playing a rock beat.
Anyway, for musicians who have spent a lot of time playing “difficult” music and who play in an ensemble called “thumbscrew”, this is a very accessible and pleasant album. Even lyrical in places! No one will mistake it for a Jim Hall or John McLaughlin trio, but there is a lot of variety here and a surprising amount of swinging and rocking.
It seems like the ensemble is very democratic, with three songs composed by each member. Certainly, everyone is pulling their weight. My favorite tunes are probably “Smoketree”, “Cruel Heartless Bastards”, and “Words That Rhyme With Spangle (angle bangle dangle jangle mangel mangle strangle tangle wangle wrangle)”. I even picked one tune from each member without knowing beforehand who had written them!
They are all at the top of their game.
#Thumbscrew #Ours #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #MichaelFormanek #TomasFujiwara #MaryHalvorson