Simply put; a masterclass of interplay and irrepressible, focused momentum...Mary Halvorson may have well invented a new sound: the disintegrating guitar solo! Spectacular...
Favorite track: Trigger.
“The barrage of riffs are both epic and melodic, the low end beefy and the percussion massive. Expect nothing less than magic from these three avant purveyors.”
– The Village Voice
“... all three of these musicians have a well-established history of creating unconventional music. That trend doesn’t end here, but as challenging as this music is, it’s presented in a way easy to accept.”
– Wondering Sound
“Three top avant jazzers with decades of experience among them create a distinctive band identity...contributing equally sans grandstanding...”
– AllMusic (Best Albums of 2014: Favorite Jazz Albums)
Creative artists aren’t subject to state persecution in the United States, but indifference can exact its own cost, just as generous support can pay steep dividends. Thumbscrew spent two weeks honing the tunes on Convallaria at City of Asylum, a residency program in Pittsburgh, and for Thumbscrew the opportunity for intensive, undistracted work and woodshedding yielded a particularly striking body of music.
Already closely bonded by extensive collaborations in a variety of overlapping ensembles, the powerhouse triumvirate got to spend the kind of concentrated time together that’s “almost unheard of these days,” says Formanek. “I’ve done some composition residencies working on my own. But we were all there together, working on music every day, trying things out. I miss that from my younger days.”
“It was amazing,” agrees Halvorson. “Everyone’s so busy. Even with my own band it can be like pulling teeth to get one rehearsal together. For two weeks we played every day and worked on all the new music. It really helped us to take the band to the next level.”
Convallaria is the work of a true collective with all three players contributing compositions and taking equal responsibility for shaping the music’s flow. While exploring an array of improvisational spaces, the band has honed a sinewy sound marked by transparent textures and astringent rhythms. It’s music that pushes outward and snaps back into unexpectedly altered forms.
released May 20, 2016
Mary Halvorson - Guitar
Michael Formanek - Double Bass
Tomas Fujiwara - Drums
Tracks 1, 6, 11 composed by Mary Halvorson (BMI)
Tracks 2, 4, 8 composed by Tomas Fujiwara (BMI)
Tracks 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 composed by Michael Formanek (Formtone Music, BMI)
Recorded on July 2-4, 2015 by Nate Campisi at Mr. Smalls Studio, Pittsburgh, PA.
Mixed in October and November 2015 by Jake K. Leckie, Brooklyn, NY.
Mastered in December 2015 by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Mastering, Brooklyn, NY.
Produced by Thumbscrew.
Photos by Brian Cohen.
Design by Bill Ellsworth.
The guitarists first solo album (like the actors first Hamlet) is a hoop that eventually has to be jumped through...and Mary Halvorson has finally risen to the challenge...a truly brilliant improviser and technician (I remember being knocked out by a performance she gave with Anthony Braxton in London),she has added layers of emotional and spiritual patina to those skills...the pre-release track here demonstrates all those qualities in spades...I see this release will include work by Noel Akchote (whose music plays a key part in my listening regime)...
So,until its release "I eat the air,promise crammed"...
Update! This album is now released and I can "count myself King of infinite riches"...this release catapults Mary Halvorson into a different league for me...wonderful,wonderful,wonderful! John Cratchley
I really appreciate that with such a large group of musicians the overall sound and experience of listening is really spacious, never cluttered. The lovely recording helps that a lot, and of course the compositional aspects that make it breathe are superb- it gets more and more fun as I listen again and again. Jasper Skydecker