Best of 2018 #4: Thumbscrew – “Ours” and “Theirs”


The Thumbscrew trio of guitarist Mary Halvorson, drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and double bassist Michael Formanek had two simultaneous releases in 2018, but for all intents and purposes, they should be viewed as a single recording.  Ours consists solely of compositions from the trio members, while Theirs features compositions by jazz giants Wayne Shorter, Herbie Nichols, Jimmy Rowles, and Misha Mengelberg.  However, Theirs is Ours, too, because these three musicians, each with their own striking personal voice, bring that same individuality as a trio to that music from a past jazz age and make it sound as brand new as tomorrow’s sunrise.  The language of jazz is passed on down through the generations, and in that way each successive generation is shaped by the environment they are born to, they give new shape to the music language they’ve inherited.  Thumbscrew is a priceless example of how old and new can sound nothing alike and yet still exist in a state of unity like one slow exhalation of the most enchanting sound ever.  Jazz never dies.  It evolves.  And then there are those instances, like Theirs and Ours, when sometimes, instead, it is an act of reincarnation.  These are the tiny miracles that music can convey upon our lives.  Be sure to celebrate them.

Released on Cuneiform Records.

Music from New York City.

I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily.

Available at: (Ours) Bandcamp | Amazon and (Theirs) Bandcamp | Amazon