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Thumbscrew: Thumbscrew

Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) play serious music but don’t take themselves too seriously. A Fujiwara composition, inspired by the angular writing on Formanek’s recent albums, has the self-deprecating title “Cheap Knock Off.” The bassist contributes a piece called “Still … Doesn’t Swing” that begins with jaunty brushwork and veers into a free tornado. Even the group name is something of a sendup: Thumbscrew implies a more intense form of free improvisation that these three could easily deliver, yet, with a few exceptions, this music often relies on subtle interaction, lower volumes and expansive compositions.

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