For some reason, this group operates under the name Misinterprotato in its native Australia; this album came out there in 2008 under that billing. So if you’re a close follower of the Australian jazz scene, make sure you don’t buy the same record twice by mistake.
It’s primarily a piano trio disc, with occasional augmentations. On “Start,” the core group—pianist Sean Foran, bassist Pat Marchisella and drummer John Parker—are joined by violinist Christa Powell, violist Bernard Hoey and alto saxophonist John Babbage. On “Ascent,” the instrumentation is trio, plus trumpeter Peter Knight and electronics guy Lawrence English. But the three main members of Trichotomy/Misinterprotato do just fine all by themselves. The first track, “Island of the Sun,” sets the listener up for a hard-driving set of very modern jazz. Foran’s piano has a rich, full tone and his runs offer a powerful feeling of purpose that reminds me of some of Matthew Shipp’s recent trio recordings, minus some of the churchy thunder. Marchisella runs away with the piece in the middle, though, when he runs his bass through a fuzz pedal. (He pulls the same trick again, to even greater effect, later in the album, on “Chunk.”) Other tracks jump back and forth between gentleness and force, like “Branching Out,” which has a churning main melody that’s like a cross between a classical piece and some rock tune pounded into a new shape by the Bad Plus, but also settles down into near-ambient stretches. When the strings come in on “Start,” they’re not there to make things romantic or lush—the players are sawing away, or ominously plucking the strings, battling the trio players for dominance rather than backing them up. The trumpet and extremely subtle, almost atmospheric electronics on “Ascent” take the music into territory reminiscent of Nils-Petter Molvaer’s quieter work, or even Tomasz Stanko’s ultra-languid ballads.
This is a much more head-spinning album than yesterday’s piano trio offering. I highly recommend checking it out, especially since this group is unlikely to tour the U.S. anytime soon.
1. Do I foresee myself listening to this record again? Yes.
2. Should you buy this record? Yes.
Link to purchase, if you’re so inclined…