One can hear echoes of Braxton on Through an Open Window and Emojis Have Consequences in Halvorson’s crisp soloing over knotty rhythms. The densely packed Scam Likely spans these bearings. Thus, Thumbscrew is anything but conventional and manages to break new ground even within this tried and true format. Thumbscrew would never be mistaken as straight jazz or free improv, but these influences also subtly underlie the group’s writing. Fractured Sanity heads in several other, more assertive trajectories simultaneously, as the title would suggest. Do not hesitate. AMN Reviews: Thumbscrew – Never is Enough (2021; Cuneiform Records)
February 22, 2021February 22, 2021 ~ Mike
Thumbscrew, the trio of guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, has produced a series of must-have releases over the last 6 years, culminating in 2020’s The Anthony Braxton Project. Fujiwara provides supple and snare-heavy percussion. If anything, the album leans more introspective and melancholy than their previous efforts, with the title track’s slowly evolving structures being a prime example. Indeed, the influence of Braxton is present on this album as well, though perhaps at a subconscious level. During that session, they also worked on originals that make up their newest offering, Never is Enough. The ballad-like Heartdrop is another. Never is Enough comes out this Friday. Instead, this an “anti-guitar-trio” – three individuals who take a traditional grouping of instruments that have been used across jazz and rock outfits for years, and head off into uncharted territory. She couples acoustic and undistorted electric to produce twisted notes and carry out speed-picking, while Formanek’s fingering continuously heads in unexpected directions.