Australian piano trio, Trichotomy really need no introduction. Over the course of two compelling, albums for Naim Jazz (2010's Variations and 2011's The Gentle War) they have carved out a reputation as one of the most exciting trios in contemporary jazz combining the lyricism of EST and the energy levels of The Bad Plus while nonetheless finding their own unique voice. Trichotomy are pianist Sean Foran, percussionist John Parker and double bassist Patrick Marchisella. Inspired by a diverse range of influences from Aphex Twin to Vijay Iyer, and John Zorn to Tord Gustavsen, Trichotomy's music combines a dense rhythmic focus with a refined melodic clarity. On their brilliant new album Fact Finding Mission the core trio is joined by Tunji Beier on percussion, Linsey Pollak on reeds, and guitarist James Muller allowing the band to draw on influences including elements from the European and Indian Folk traditions.
Fact Finding Mission shines with a bright vitality and an unbridled joy in music making. In many ways it's the band's most expansive recording but also one that really celebrates the unity of a band that have been playing together for 13 years. For Foran it's the result in shifts in the lives of the band's members: "It's a real time of change at the moment. There are children in the lives of two of us (myself and John), and Pat the bass player is back studying - this time pure mathematics. The mood is one of positivity, and a sense of fun, happiness, and a general love of playing music together". The album also captures what feels like a creative peak as 2012 has been completely about writing and recording new music.
Trichotomy have worked with a multitude of different collaborators including DVA - a duo of percussion and reeds, a string quartet, a video artist and a jazz guitarist. These collaborations have inspired the band to write in new ways, be inspired by different artists and try new concepts for the trio and the way they interact with other musicians.
The album opens with the upbeat and joyful Strom (meaning stream, current or flow), the catchy The Blank Canvas Part 1 features guitarist James Muller and enhances the albums sense of journey and movement as we set out on our Fact Finding Mission with the trio. The delicate and captivating Lullaby, was written by Parker for his sons. The title track is the most abstract work on the album and utilizes samples, bowed distorted bass, a range of Chinese gongs and other sounds to achieve its chaotic effect. The second track on the album to be inspired by the band's children, the playful Song For EV, was written for Foran's daughter and has a delightful rhythmic suppleness. On Civil Unrest (featuring guitarist James Muller and percussionist Tunji Beier) angular melodies and abstract harmonies meld with spacious free improvisations. While The Brook is all about rhythm; contrasting the idea of a dark intense bass groove with a delicate sparse melody. The captivating, rhythmic The Blank Canvas Part 2 transports us through to the beautiful Brick By Brick, which features DVA (Tunji Beier on percussion and Linsey Pollak on reeds) and draws on Eastern European folk melodies alongside modern jazz harmonic movements and freely improvised elements. Pollak's reeds weave in and out of the trio sounds with Beier's percussion adding another layer of rhythmic complexity. Dense, but melodically clear, it's a beautiful closer to the album with its sense of melodic finality and earthy folk ideas. It's this blend of earthy rhythms, beautiful melodies and the freedom of jazz that makes Trichotomy's Fact Finding Mission so worth joining!
Produced by Trichotomy