The Gentle War (Jazzhead Records)
Sean Foran (piano)
Pat Marchisella (bass)
John Parker (drums)
The piano trio has blossomed in the last ten years. But with each new group there are definitely distinctive qualities that make them all enjoyable and in some cases extremely fascinating. Misinterprotato are one of those fascinating trios. This Brisbane, Australia based group has been igniting the Australian scene for just over a decade. Their influences are definitely an amalgam of modern jazz, improvised thought and the excitement of a rock trio.
I first got turned on to Misinterprotato as a result of my obsession with fellow Australians, The Necks. I wanted to find more interesting jazz bands from the country and...well... I found it.
While many people may only be aware of Australian trio The Necks, Misinterprotato occupy a completely different area from fellow countrymen who utilize more improvisation and dense space as part of their repertoire. Misinterprotato have developed over five albums into a highly creative and deeply thoughtful group. Their latest album, The Gentle War (Jazzhead) echos the subtle adventurousness of one of their earlier releases, Delay, but also combines the more crisp and well focused melody driven material of the last two albums, Variations and In Is In.
"The Gentle War" burns with intensity and a rolling groove laid out by Foran and Parker. But this is a group effort throughout. Marchisella joins in with a wonderful meditative solo that might make Charlie Haden proud. "Cute" is something you don't get from many trios of late, a sense of humour centered around some forceful playing. The group dig deep with the melody that moves swiftly but with a real command that is both shining and invigorating.
"Wrestle" is another thoughtful and compelling work that really highlights the well rounded ideas Misinterprotato put together. "Wrestle" moves with grace and beauty that is both ethereal and joyous all in one. "Not According To Plan" is the real triumph on The Gentle War and for me its my favourite track on the album. With mellow openings and very textured passages from Foran, this piece delivers on introspection in the best possible way. Marchisella and Parker move in larger during the final movement and give the piece more depth. A real treat for anyone listening.
The closing number "Time" is beautiful and atmospheric. It's extremely reminiscent of the Delay album which was mostly an improvised exploration and the perfect ending to a richly satisfying outing.
Comparisons to The Bad Plus, Keith Jarrett trio (Charlie Haden and Paul Motian) and even the great Esbjorn Svensson Trio are unavoidable but Misinterprotato do lay out their own path and clearly distinguish themselves from the those trios. I think if you use the aforementioned groups as your starting point, you will undoubtedly fall in love this Australian trio. Misinterprotato has created one of the best trio records so far this year with The Gentle War and I urge you to take the journey with them. Misinterprotato is your new favourite band.