Though Sacramento isn’t attracting established big-name jazz artists, we have had a strong run of acclaimed, up-and-coming younger artists dropping in at venues where audience support is loyal. Ross Hammond’s Nebraska Mondays – now nearing its fifth year at Luna’s – continues that string with the heady Brooklyn-based collaborative band Thumbscrew.
The trio features two young players who already have created strong international reps individually and together in guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. Halvorson has played for several years with Fujiwara in his horn-fronted band The Hook Up and has had associations with bassist John Hebert (Fred Hersh Trio) and bassist Stephan Crump (Vijay Iyer Trio).
They are joined by the formidable bassist Michael Formanek, who comes from the previous generation of progressive, broadminded improvisers. As a teenager Formanek toured with the great drummer Tony Williams and also legendary saxophonist Joe Henderson; he subsequently played with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan and Freddie Hubbard, among many others.
Thumbscrew’s self-titled debut record came out this spring featuring an equal number of tunes from each member of the co-operative trio. The songs always end in far different places than they started.
That’s no lady
While the poets Kathryn Hohlwein, Annie Menebroker, Viola Weinberg Spencer and Victoria Dalkey (art correspondent for The Bee) are apparently calling their joint appearance Sunday afternoon Tough Old Broads Poetry, I can’t quite bring myself to it. It sounds like a movie starring Judi Dench, Ellen Burstyn, Kathleen Turner and Maggie Smith. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, or maybe it was an unforgettable lesson in female nomenclature I received as a young journalist from a charming Gloria Steinem, but I can note the four women individually have remarkable records of literary achievement, and that together, this reading should rock.
Jazz on a summer’s day
On Sunday pianist and arranger Jim Martinez presents “Summer Jazz Family Day,” an all-day, vocal-rich, mainstream jazz festival on the mellow grounds of Christ the King Retreat Center, in Citrus Heights. Performers include the former Count Basie Band vocalist Jamie Davis, who’ll have the hard-working Ron Cunha Big Band behind him, drummer Tim Metz with his Entropy band, and popular Sacramento-based singers Beth Duncan, Vivian Lee and Keith Williams performing their own sets. Martinez will also play his Jazz Praise set of hymns arranged for jazz piano and his Doris Day tribute with the fine vocalist Laura Didier.