tres hongos

tres hongos - where my dreams go to die

or pick up a digital copy through prom night records (click here)

tres hongos is:
jacob wick - trumpet
marc riordan - piano
frank rosaly - drums

tres hongos is a trio comprised of new york trumpeter jacob wick, chicago pianist marc riordan, and percussionist frank rosaly. the trio explores long and short form improvisation that draws influences from a wide range of sound and music traditions, from the improvised to the strictly composed. their 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.

from lyn horton, contributor to jazztimes
from peter margasak of the chicago reader

hear our first meeting, in march 2011 at the hideout:


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

from lyn horton:

In a trio collaboration with Jacob Wick on trumpet, Marc Riordan on piano and Frank Rosaly on drums, Tres Hongos demonstrates that improvised music from musicians,  born within the last four decades, recalls as much from the past as it projects innovation and awareness of the present. The youthfulness of the musicians gives the music its rawness, its edge, its angularity, its penchant for sound examination as opposed to grandiloquent, lilting lyricism, for instance.  

The inexorable amount of detailed expression that documents the energy that goes into maintaining restraint gives the music its edge. It is no mystery that muscle and breathing control are components of managing the non-explosive retention within the playing.  No time is wasted to clarify that the trio is going to pull back and articulate no further than the tremolos or choruses that Wick repeats on his brass instrument or the notes Riordan plays mechanistically on the piano keys or the snare rolls, snaps, and cymbal hisses that Rosaly sculpts in the most high-tempo moments on the album. Volume is permitted, as in “Champagne Bayside;” but that does not mean that the overall sound steps out of the boundaries that were set from the very beginning.

This music is linked to the classical compositions of the last fifty years that includes that of John Cage, Morton Feldman, George Crumb and the Minimalists. Nonetheless, what is taken out of that music is naturally incorporated into a new process that allows the flow to happen rather than be irrevocably metered out.

The trio exhibits a sense of the passage of discrete units of time which intensifies the fact that no resonance contributes to the ongoing sonic unwinding. “God’s Girlfriend” is a prime example of the players’ complete introversion: trumpeter Wick plays his mouthpiece; Riordan interjects measurable silence between short chords or briefly rolled phrases; Rosaly barely touches the cymbal or the snare and any potential for ringing is damped and transformed quickly as he moves from place to place within the percussion spectrum.

The cover photo is called “Mojave Desert, California (Bottle of Piss)” from a series by Chicago photographer, Greg Stimac. That the members of the trio believe that this picture is simply a “strong stand-alone image” and lends no particular meaning to the music that is played on Tres Hongos testifies to the same kind of  provocative character in the title: for the “bad” translation of the spanish ‘Tres Hongos’ is 'Three Fungi.’

If there is any meaning to be had, though, the subtitle speaks the loudest of all: ‘Where My Dreams Go to Die.’ The evanescence of dreams is similar to the evanescence of improvised music. Neither a dream nor the music ever dies; neither can be replicated and once experienced simply becomes a part of the omnipresent universe.
--Lyn Horton 2/24/12

here's a review from peter margasak:
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

photo: amanda raber