Thumbscrew with Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara; Wednesday, June 25, 2014

with Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Thumbscrew is the brainchild of freewheeling, cutting-edge improvisors Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, and Tomas Fujiwara. All together, this three-composer trio makes new music that is intriguing and accessible, blurring the boundaries of mainstream jazz, rock, and avant-garde. The three first worked together as the rhythm section for the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet where they developed a creative musical kinship. In Thumbscrew, with Halvorson on guitar; Formanek on bass; and Fujiwara on drums, they have established a cooperative vehicle to feature their music in a way that is distinct from their individual projects. The trio’s compositional approach is open-ended and fluid, allowing each member full freedom to guide the sonic interplay. Their debut CD, entitled Thumbscrew, is available on Cuneiform Records.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1980, Mary Halvorson has been steadily carving out a niche for herself on the progressive end of the jazz spectrum with a number of uncompromising recordings. The hard-charging guitarist has been drawing a great deal of attention for her adventurous work with avant-garde icon Anthony Braxton, as well as Jason Moran, Tim Berne, and John Tchicai. From chamber music duos to experimental rock bands and classic hard bop, Halvorson follows her own muse, crossing musical boundaries, mixing and matching the conventional with the unconventional.

Michael Formanek’s professional career reaches back to the ’70s when, still in his teens, he was touring with groups led by drum icon Tony Williams and master saxophonist Joe Henderson. In the following decades he has performed with a number of top jazz musicians, including Stan Getz, Fred Hersch, Gerry Mulligan, Jane Ira Bloom, Marty Ehrlich, and Freddie Hubbard. A veteran of New York City’s creative music scene, Formanek composes for a variety of ensembles, ranging from duos to full orchestra and everything in between. The bass virtuoso is also a music educator at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory.

Tomas Fujiwara, another Boston native, has been drumming since he was in grade school. A former student of famed jazz drummer/educator Alan Dawson (Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck), Fujiwara has been heavily involved in the New York experimental music scene and theater productions. He has worn a number of hats over the years as a sideman, bandleader, composer, and educator. His adroit drumming has accompanied a long list of creative musicians, including Anthony Braxton, Herbie Mann, Norah Jones, and William Parker. The New York Times has said of his playing: “(Tomas’) alert drumming has propelled some excellent ensembles on the New Music landscape.”

Thumbscrew with Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara

DATE:  Wednesday, June 25, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $20/Adv $25/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at:
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227 

Media contact:
Sandy Sloan
(831) 427-2227

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