12 O'Clock Track: "Cheap Knock Off," some appealingly knotty free jazz by Thumbscrew | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: "Cheap Knock Off," some appealingly knotty free jazz by Thumbscrew

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On Tuesday the New York trio known as Thumbscrew will release its debut album, an eponymous release for Cuneiform Records. The trio is comprised of guitarist Mary Halvorson (one of the brightest new talents in jazz), drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and bassist Michael Formanek. Halvorson and Fujiwara have worked together in many different contexts over the years, but within this group they feel like coleaders, masterfully colliding swing rhythms and melodic sophistication with carefully meted dissonance, surprise-laden structures, and potent doses of free time. Formanek, a veteran who now lives in Baltimore, has returned to the scene after a long absence—during which he moved away from New York and began teaching at the Peabody Conservatory—and is now leading a group that's made two strong records for ECM. He once again proves his muscle and versatility, providing the structural anchor while prodding and complementing his partners. Today's 12 O'Clock Track is the slightly sinister-sounding album opener, "Cheap Knock Off."

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