15:31 Tuesday 22 January 2013

Trio have much more to offer than elevator music


AUSTRALIAN group Trichotomy have carved out a reputation as one of the most exciting trios in contemporary jazz and arrive in the UK next month to show live audiences what they are all about. Reporter JAMES BRINDLE spoke to pianist Sean Foran about the band’s third album Fact Finding Mission and the upcoming tour.


I HAVE never really warmed to jazz music.

For me it has always been music for elevators in the most part and little more.

However, coming across Australian contemporary jazz piano trio Trichotomy that opinion has been challenged somewhat.

A band that lists the likes of Radiohead and Aphex Twin as influences – not the usual references for jazz artists – may be worth a little bit of exploring.

Trichotomy are used to critical acclaim – their first two records have won no shortage of admirers meaning the pressure was on to deliver on album number three.

Fact Finding Mission is in many ways the band’s most expansive recording and pianist Foran told the Mail it was an enjoyable record to make.

“It was really fun,” he said. “We actually spent more time in the studio for this record than we ever have.

“We did four days of tracking, which was quite luxurious for us.

“The plan was to record a heap of material, which we did, and then we pieced it all together after it had been mixed and mastered.

“We also recorded straight to tape which was a new experience sonically and process wise.

“The album has a strong vibrancy to it, we think, and it’s a little extra special as we brought in some guest artists.

“The sound of the album is also great, probably the best one we’ve produced – plus it’s coming out on vinyl which will be lovely.”

Talking of the band’s sound it is difficult to describe but Foran gave it a go and said he feels it has developed over the three records to date.

He said: “Our sound is modern jazz that draws influence from contemporary classical, world and modern rock sounds. It is intensely rhythmic with a clear sense of melody.

“We have a stronger trio sound for sure now and a clearer sense of the group’s style. We’re at that stage now where we really know each other’s musical characteristics quite well and we respond to them.

“Musically, it’s probably more assured, coming from loads of touring and recording together.”

Fact Finding Mission is the result of shifts in the lives of the band’s members with two of the band – Foran and percussionist John Parker – welcoming their first born’s to the world and double bassist Patrick Marchisella making the decision to go back to studying.

Foran said these personal changes have undoubtedly had an impact on the music the trio have created on the new record.

“What has happened in our personal lives between records has had a big influence I believe,” he said.

“So many of the songs are inspired by or written for specific people or places of times. It’s fun to communicate these feelings, concepts or places through instrumental music.”

The new songs have already been aired live on tour in the band’s home country of Australia with a good reaction from fans.

However, they record mainly live so there is little trepidation for the band in recreating that sound in front of a live audience

The UK tour which kicks off next month will provide Trichotomy with a chance to both cool down and have some fun, according to Foran.

He said: “There is nothing like escaping a hot Australian summer!

“Seriously though the UK has great venues and lovely people and we can’t wait to get going.

“It’ll be our third tour over there and we’ve had a very positive response from audiences and the media previously.

“Each time we tour there seems to be bigger audiences and more media coverage.”

For a young band with young families touring the world can prove difficult but it is something Foran is trying to get used to – thanks in part to the wonders of modern technology.

Foran said: “It is hard being away. John and I both have small children so it’s always hard.

“But Skype is a wonderful thing. The kids are used to it already.”

Collaborations have proved great inspiration in the past for Trichotomy and looking ahead to the rest of 2013 they are keen to play with more talented musicians.

With such young families, though, Foran said the boys were keen to spend more time at home once the European tour is complete.

He said: “We’re working on some concerts and recordings with a string quartet in Australia plus inviting Manchester guitarist Stuart McCallum over to play with us.

“2012 was such a busy year so I think we’ll actively try to take some more time off in 2013.

“Something always comes up though!”

Trichotomy’s third album Fact Finding Mission is released on February 4, while the band will be performing live at the Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham on February 13.

See the venue for ticket details.

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