Thumbscrew Workshop – 6.30.15 – City of Asylum – North Side, Pittsburgh, PA

ts_6.30.15_3The jazz trio Thumbscrew is currently in the middle of a 2 week long residency hosted by Pittsburgh’s City Of Asylum.  During their stay, the group has been composing, rehearsing and recording for what will be a new record scheduled for early 2016 on Cuneiform Records.  Last night, guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara held a free workshop that was open to the public, in which they played a few pieces and discussed all things music.  The event was super insightful and gave a great glimpse into the minds of these incredible musicians/artists/composers. The workshop was open to the public but there was a limit of 30 people.  The minute I found out about it a few weeks back I immediately RSVP’d online thinking that there was no way I would get in.  Well I did get in and and, quite surprisingly, I don’t think there were even 25 people there.  I fully expected to see some familiar faces at this, but strangely I did not.

I’ve never really attended anything like this before where you can just ask the musicians anything in such a small and intimate setting. They discussed things like composition, form, the characteristics they look for in other musicians, their reaction to audiences, influences, gear, etc etc.  All three of them seemed really comfortable, sociable and eager to share their knowledge, opinions and past experiences.  They also played a few tunes including a brand new piece that they plan to record here in Pittsburgh this weekend.

On Sunday evening, Thumbscrew will be playing for free in the same location, which is called the Alphabet City Tent on 318 Sampsonia Way.  The show is free but, like the workshop, you need to RSVP online to save a space.  I’m really looking forward to it.  It’s certain to be an incredible night of music.  I do hope more people make it out, because this music deserves to be heard.  I’ll also be looking forward to the upcoming record especially since I got a little glimpse into the process and their mindset while it’s being written and recorded.

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