Format: Vinyl, CD, Download
Before I begin I will lay my cards on the table and state that jazz in general is not my usual thing and certainly not the most popular genre on this forum. With the exception of a few Hiromi CDs and the odd Diana Krall album there is rather a large hole in my ‘File under jazz’ section. So in my continuing search for some new music I came across the Australian trio Trichotomy consisting of pianist Sean Foran, bassist Pat Marchisella and drummer John Parker.
Fact Finding Mission is I believe the bands third album and kicks off with a strong opener in the form of ‘Strom’. Throughout its six minutes this track moves seamlessly from one groove to another never sitting in one mood long enough to become repetitive. In fact just when I felt things were getting a bit ‘lounge’ the track would morph into something else. Certainly a good sign in my book. Proceedings move on with ‘Blank Canvas (Part 1)’ featuring some excellent Metheny style guitar work from James Muller. With its fine balance of piano and guitar, neither attempting to dominate the other instead showing far more of a restrained collective approach. Cohesion is key here.
Along the way we are treated to the beautifully understated ‘Lullaby’ which is as calm and tranquil as its title would suggest. Guitarist James Muller reappears later on two further tracks, ‘Civil Unrest’ and a real grower in the form of ‘Blank Canvas (Part 2)’. Things change quite dramatically with the opening of the title track ‘Fact Finding Mission’. The listener is greeted with a heavily discordant piano riff and a mixture of spoken vocal samples some of which you may well recognise. Of all the tracks here this could be described as the odd one out yet it fails to sound totally out of place. There are more quality offerings in the form of ‘Song for EV’ and ‘The Brook’. The album wraps up with its longest composition ‘Brick by Brick’. At almost 9 minutes long this opens with an altogether darker more ambient feel before returning to more familiar ground.
This album rarely sounds like it is trying too hard. It’s not bogged down in overly complex time signatures and lacks any hint of pretentiousness to my ears. It all sounds rather fluid with enough variety to keep the listener fully engaged. These guys really gel and the results are impressive. I shall certainly be exploring their back catalogue.
I will end by saying that the vinyl release of this album is exemplary which coming from the Naim label is only to be expected I suppose. It’s a single 180g LP so no getting up to flip the disc every 12 minutes which is definitely welcomed and just to add some icing on the cake it also comes with a full hi-res download voucher. Digital fans can rest assured that those 24bit/48khz FLAC files sound simply superb. All this for a mere £12.99 delivered (as I write anyway). That’s a great deal in my book.
So if you fancy dipping your toe onto the jazz pond then this (in my none too experienced view) is as good a place to start as any. This is a very accomplished and cool sounding album.