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Michael Formanek

Michael Formanek

As a member of Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, bassist Michael Formanek has pushed the envelope on what his instrument can do in a group setting, blurring the lines as that edgy and adventurous quartet does so well between thoroughly composed material and purely improvised music (see 1996’s Unwound and 1997’s Discretion, both on Berne’s Screwgun Records). It’s an aesthetic that Formanek has also honed in his ethereal and intense duet situation with Berne, as documented on 1998’s Ornery People on Little Brother Records. (Formanek recently received a Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project grant to compose new music for the Tim Berne/ Michael Formanek Duo.)

But Formanek’s most daring outlet remains the naked setting of solo bass. “The solo thing came about from playing longer, more extended kind of things on gigs,” he explains. “And then eventually I just got more interested in making that a separate entity.”

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