The trio Thumbscrew came about by accident, after bassist Michael Formanek subbed in a band including guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara back in 2011. Something special happened among them right away, so they formed a trio, a co-operative in the truest sense. They play originals by all hands, compositions whose rhythms may surge or lag or veer sideways according to their own internal logic. Bass and drums solo within the ensemble, not in quarantine. No one needs to be loudest. The blend is tight: one string (or metal) sound may bleed into another. It’s something to hear—something twisty and turny and always on the move. The band has released six albums to date, all on Cuneiform Records: Never Is Enough (2021), The Anthony Braxton Project (2020), Ours and Theirs (2018), Convallaria (2016), and Thumbscrew (2014). Their seventh album, Multicolored Midnight, is coming in September 2021 and will celebrate the band’s ten year anniversary.
“Made up of three highly distinctive voices in the world of jazz and avantgarde 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!