Sean Foran – Piano
John Parker – Drums
Samuel Vincent– Acoustic Bass
TRICHOTOMY are one of Australia’s most inventive contemporary music ensembles.
So much more than a traditional jazz trio, this group expands the capacities of the classic piano/bass/drums combination by skillfully blending dense, exciting improvisations and delicate atmospherics, conjuring up sounds of modern jazz, ambient music, avant-garde rock, free improvisation and contemporary classical music. Wonderfully unpredictable & absorbing, dramatic & always distinctive.
Formed in 1999 while studying at the Queensland Conservatorium, Australia, the group’s sound is driven by award winning pianist Sean Foran, teamed with John Parker’s expansive dynamic and timbral range on percussion and Sam Vincent’s visceral touch on the double bass. Originally known as ‘Misinterprotato’, they forged a clear place amongst the contemporary music landscape in Australia.
Their debut album “now for the free” released in 2003 gathered them critical acclaim and the second release “In is In” released on Jazzhead was an even stronger development for the group with The Australian calling it “intelligent and moodily reflective….4 stars”.
”Variations” (2007), their third album, and the first to be released internationally on the British label NAIM features a variety of melodic and rhythmic landscapes, with the relaxed structures of Foran and Parker’s intimate songwriting decorated by the group’s spontaneous musicality.
“A fine example of contemporary music in various tempos, incorporating a range of moods and drawing extensively on diverse classical references fused with 21st century jazz ideas.” - The Australian.
2010 saw the group release multiple recordings. Their 4th trio album “The Gentle War”, was a bold step forward for the group, cementing their place as an ensemble with a highly original approach to music making. - “The most vibrant album in the bands history” - Sydney Morning Herald, “So many surprises and exquisite moments” - The Age. It was subsequently nominated for the Bell Award for contemporary Jazz album of the year.
Around the time of “The Gentle War”, they released a collaborative album with chamber ensemble TOPOLOGY titled “HEALTHY”. A stunning album, it explores classical and improvised ideas in an organic yet challenging manner. Surprising and intense it showed a new level of vision by the trio.
They also collaborated with Expressions Dance Company in a season of live performance shows featuring works from a variety of previous releases set to engaging modern dance.
Inspired by a diverse range of influences from Aphex Twin to Vijay Iyer, and Tortoise to The Bad Plus, Trichotomy’s music combines a dense rhythmic focus with the melodic clarity of a Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, or the modern European jazz of Tord Gustavsen & Nik Bartsch. Compositions often find a fine balance between heavily notated sections and completely free improvisations.
There is a remarkable attention to detail and a desire to allow ideas to develop naturally within their music. A key focus is the balance between piano/bass/drums, with the trio maintaining a free flowing three way conversation with no one dominating and all contributing integral parts.
In 2012 the trio, with support from The Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Queensland, the trio collaborated with world music duo DVA, selected string quartets, and sound/video artist Andrew Gibbs for performances around Australia. With the additional support of the Regional Arts Development fund they recorded their new album FACT FINDING MISSION, released early 2013 on Jazzhead (Australia) and NAIM (UK). The album was nominated for both the AIR and Bell Awards for contemporary jazz album of the year in Australia. In a new step for the group the album was made available on LP and sheet music formats in addition to the high definition download and CD versions.
Recently, the group has been collaborating with a range of artists including a commissioned work for The Southern Cross Soloists, and festival performances with chamber groups Collusion, and Lunaire. They also toured Australia with guest saxophonist Julian Arguelles (UK) performing in major jazz festivals.
In 2015 they performed newly created work with the QLD Symphony Orchestra as part of the QSO Current festival.
2017 sees the trio return with a new release, KNOWN-UNKNOWN on the acclaimed European label, Challenge Records. In a distinct step into new territory electronic sounds merge with their acoustic improvisations, while the complexity of their compositions and group improvisations are balanced by graceful melodies and rich harmonies. This bold new work puts them firmly forward as a group with vision, depth and intensity. Vivid and bright, it is compelling listening.
In 2019 they released a new album “Between the Lines”, a collaboration with alt-country songwriter Danny Widdicombe, launching it at the QLD Music Festival during July.
Selected performance history:
Jazzahead Festival Germany, Tokyo, Takatsuki, and Kutchan Jazz Festivals Japan, Melbourne Jazz Festival, Brisbane Jazz Festival, Darling Harbour Jazz Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Canberra Jazz Festival, extensive tours around the UK, MIDEM Music Conference France & tours to Japan, Canada, China, & South America.
"These three make the resources of the conventional piano trio go a long way." 4 stars
“delightfully detailed ensembles, full of wit and vigour…they bamboozle with tricky time-signatures and intricate themes” 4 stars
“Startling contrasts in dynamics, unusual time signatures and great rhythmic flexibility are swept along in the flow of invention of exciting performances…a stunningly together group” 4 stars
BBC Music Magazine
"this is a genuine trio, with three equally important parts, and they never put a foot or finger wrong" 5 stars!
Manchester Evening News
"A suitable candidate to fill the large-shaped hole left by EST" 5 stars
"transcends the sum of it’s influences to come up with a powerful individual statement" 4 stars
"very ‘now'-sounding...beautifully poised" 3 stars
"vivaciously balances thematic eloquence with tight-knit polyphonic sophistication...you have to know a lot about music to make it this well".
The Evening Standard
"tuneful, scholarly approach to improvisation recalls the lyricism of EST and energy level of The Bad Plus...excellent" 3 stars