Topology & Trichotomy – “Healthy”


Topology & Trichotomy - "Healthy"An interesting collaboration between the progressive jazz trio Trichotomy and the chamber ensemble Topology.  The source of greatest intrigue on their 2014 release Healthy is found in the transitions.  This album isn’t a blend of modern jazz and contemporary classical… it’s a fusing of the two, as if with a soldering gun, and those points where jazz piano trio music becomes contemporary classical and then back again make for some pretty thrilling music.  Those transitions, thankfully, aren’t clean or seamless.  Sometimes things get a little messy, and influences and approaches commingle, and those brief interludes of cross-pollination are often just as intriguing as the transitions themselves.

Your album personnel:  Topology: John Babbage (saxophones), Kylie Davidson (piano), Robert Davidson (bass), Bernard Hoey (viola), and Christa Powell (violin).  Trichotomy: Sean Foran (piano, Rhodes), John Parker (percussion), and Pat Marchisella (bass).

No track better symbolizes the album more dramatically than “That Which Is Not Fleeting,” which sees jazz piano trio glittering like stars, opening the door for strings and wind instruments to pour through.  But this is only momentary, for the middle section is a conflagration of electronic fire and force.  It’s a jarring moment, and it threatens to obliterate all the gorgeous serenity built up to that point.  But, impressively, the combined forces of jazz and chamber outfits coalesce around the jacked up tempo and ignited dissonance.  And then Topology’s John Babbage takes the baton from electronics and dashes off a sax solo that brings the same kind of energy to the table, but contrasting the messiness of the effects with a lithe elegance.  This, then, instigates another quick change, also jarring in its way, when the ensemble pulls the tempo and the ferocity out from under the song and enter a most beautiful melodic passage as it steers the song back to its opening state.

Fourth track “Mean” is another good example of the combined ensembles nifty talent at transitions.  A bit of a folk tune demeanor to it, the song develops into a more traditional modern piano trio recording… Topology augmenting with strings as Trichotomy’s Sean Foran takes some giddy runs around the playground on Rhodes.  And then again, as before, he steps back and comps for both sax and strings, who step up for a pretty, peaceful section that gradually builds up to a grand finale.

“Round Roads” drops a little jazz interplay in the middle of a soaring contemporary classical piece.  And they take a nifty turn at Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music,” adding a nervous tension and harmonic richness to the rhythmic experiment.  What they didn’t add… clapping.

Some tracks don’t toy with the transitions.  “A New Beginning” and “Generations” stick with a chamber music sound from start to finish, and the Trichotomy crew blends right in with the crowd, as if they’ve been part of a chamber outfit all their lives.

Just a beautiful album that switches in and out of different phases of that beauty.  It’s the kind of effect that can make a recording feel both intimate and expansive… a nice trait to have.

This album is Self-Produced.

It appears this album may have been released back in 2010, but then pulled off the shelves before very long.  It also appears that Trichotomy was calling themselves Misinterprotato back then.  Whatever the story behind all that, it appears that everyone involved in considering 2014 the official grand-opening of this album, so we’ll go with that.

Music from the Brisbane, Australia scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | CDBaby | Amazon MP3