Thumbscrew (U.S.)Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 8 p.m.
Thumbscrew (guitarist Mary Halvorson, double bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara) return to the Alphabet City stage. This band has been dubbed “One of the most exciting bands currently playing,” and we could not be more thrilled to welcome them back to City of Asylum!
“If Cream and Nirvana had played instrumental jazz…they might have sounded something like Thumbscrew… [who] forge a sound that is both heavy and melodic, qualities shared by those iconic power trios….it’s the taught rhythmic and harmonic interplay…that makes the album’s 55 minutes unrelentingly gripping through passages both quiet and lilting and insanely fast and furious”
– The Absolute Sound
Thumbscrew, a band consisting of three well-established leaders on the new jazz/new music scene, make inviting music full of wonder and discovery. Creative artists aren’t subject to state persecution in the United States, but indifference can exact its own cost, just as generous support can pay steep dividends. Thumbscrew spent two weeks honing the tunes on Convallaria during their BNY Mellon Jazz Residency at City of Asylum, and for Thumbscrew the opportunity for intensive, undistracted work and woodshedding yielded a particularly striking body of music.
Already closely bonded by extensive collaborations in a variety of overlapping ensembles, the powerhouse triumvirate got to spend the kind of concentrated time together that’s “almost unheard of these days,” says Formanek. “I’ve done some composition residencies working on my own. But we were all there together, working on music every day, trying things out. I miss that from my younger days.”
“It was amazing,” agrees Halvorson. “Everyone’s so busy. Even with my own band it can be like pulling teeth to get one rehearsal together. For two weeks we played every day and worked on all the new music. It really helped us to take the band to the next level.”
Convallaria is the work of a true collective with all three players contributing compositions and taking equal responsibility for shaping the music’s flow. While exploring an array of improvisational spaces, the band has honed a sinewy sound marked by transparent textures and astringent rhythms. It’s music that pushes outward and snaps back into unexpectedly altered forms.