Tres Hongos is a trio comprised of Bay Area trumpeter Jacob Wick (White Rocket, HighLife), pianist Marc Riordan (Wishgift, Old Idea), and percussionist Frank Rosaly (Mandarin Movie, Rolldown, Scorch Trio), both from Chicago. Formed in Chicago in March 2010, Tres Hongos explores long and short form improvisations that draw influences from a wide range of sound and music traditions, reflecting the individual members’ diverse backgrounds and experiences. These improvised performances are characterized by sudden, playful shifts between static harmonies and tones, modular melodies, pointillistic interplay and dense, percussive assaults. Tres Hongos is three modern musicians in suits.
Their debut recording, Where My Dreams Go To Die, was recorded partially at Strobe Studio in Chicago and partially in front of a live audience at Audio for the Arts while on tour in Madison, WI. Where My Dreams Go To Die is being released by Chicago-based Molk Records and Brooklyn-based Prom Night records, on Tuesday, January 10th.
Listen to the first cut off the record:
a recent review from mr. clifford allen:
Tres Hongos (three swine) is a free improvisation trio comprised of Chicagoans Frank Rosaly (drums) and Marc Riordan (piano), and Oakland-based trumpeter/sound artist Jacob Wick (ex-NYC/Chicago). This disc, comprising five pieces, is their first release and balances well the tension between group listening and players pushing back and challenging one another. Of the three, Wick is probably the least well-known; his disassembled solo trumpet performances, swarm, are enigmatic and frustrating but bear the fruit of an artist in self-dialogue who is not afraid to fail (I witnessed it in November 2010 in a cold outdoor space). He’s also worked in various ensembles with bassoonist Katherine Young, trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, clarinetist Jeff Kimmel, and others. Wick belongs to the “micro” school of trumpet playing and builds a language from crumpled fluffs, circular breathing, percussive wind and valve actions, whistles and guffaws. He’s a bit more fragile in his approach than fellow travelers Nate Wooley, Taylor Ho Bynum and Peter Evans, and less linear, but as an extended technician his reach is impressive.
On “God’s Girlfriend,” coiled inhalations and exhalations kiss and sweep alongside Riordan’s plaintive right-hand accents and whining patter from Rosaly’s hands, sticks, and surfaces. The trio takes an already somewhat fragmentary language and parses it further, piano and percussion emphasizing both space and seemingly disconnected, random gestures while Wick flutters, scrawls and crinkles in the path of a drunken moth. “Champagne Bayside” begins with fluent skitter, Wick both steely and limpid in runs that soon smear themselves in taut shrikes, spurred by Riordan’s jagged circularity and high-volume athleticism. The latter is somewhat reminiscent of European masters like Alexander von Schlippenbach and Irène Schweizer (or contemporary American pianist John Blum) in his quick, edgy constructions. Sure, he’s more pointillist than any of those three, but poised between robustness and hesitancy, his art is interesting. The piece is a series of soli, duos and trios, although each of these sections is arrived at spontaneously. Piano and trumpet play off of one another with crackling, muscular brilliance, while Wick and Riordan pair together especially well and scale brightly against Rosaly’s agitated breaks, needles and subterfuge.
Though there isn’t a clear thematic thrust for Tres Hongos to reference, they work within a very physical mode of improvisation that is literally sparse and retains a lot of energy. Their rapport seems to be based on achieving copacetic balance through regular undermining. Rosaly bashes or stops playing altogether against one of Riordan’s “prettier” phrases, while Wick might pick up a stately, clarion call only to let it fall flat. The closing “Franklin at Night” begins with gulps and scribble, Wick’s terse, insectile ululations a focal point amidst arching chords and heaving rattle. One might ask what separates Tres Hongos from a range of equally facile contemporary improvisation trios. The answer is that, rather than being polite, they go for punching one another in the arms just enough while retaining poise. That's not an easy task at all.
--clifford allen, 4/20/12
here's a review from peter margasak of the chicago reader:
Two members of relatively new improvising trio Tres Hongos are staples of the local jazz scene, but here they show off skills that aren't the ones for which they're widely known. Marc Riordan has made his name as a drummer, working with folks like Josh Berman and Jeff Kimmel, but in Tres Hongos he sticks to piano, which he's been playing in public more and more; Frank Rosaly, a masterful pulse-oriented drummer in countless ensembles and a bold explorer of electroacoustic approaches as a solo artist, plays his usual instrument but does it largely free of tempo and meter, building his parts from explosive outbursts, pointillistic patter, and frictive shading. Trumpeter Jacob Wick—a Chicago native based in Oakland—rounds out the group with playing that's as broad-minded and versatile as anything his bandmates can do. On the forthcoming Where My Dreams Go to Die (Prom Night/Molk) their easygoing rapport allows them to shift moods and textures without a hiccup—the album's five fully improvised tracks flow naturally in and out of energy music, self-contained tunelike snippets, gestural abstraction, and buoyant free-bop. It's easy to hear in real time how a new idea thrown into the mix by a single player opens up an area of exploration for the whole trio, and they all dig into it before one of them edges toward a new destination. —Peter Margasak 1/3/12