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Thursday, September 18, 2014

CD Review: Partisans – Swamp

Julian Siegel - saxophones & bass clarinets;  Phil Robson – guitars; Thaddeus Kelly – bass; Gene Calderazzo – drums.
(Review by Steve H.)
The Partisans could be described as an Indie Jazz British super group - all members being stars in their own right. Swamp is the band’s fifth studio album since their formation in 1996 and the tightness and empathy in this performance are apparent throughout.
Flip the Sneck (Siegel) is a jolly opener with an easily recognisable theme.  Siegel  leads the way before Robson ends the piece with a crushing guitar solo. Low Glow (Siegal) has a great bass  background reminiscent of Miles’ 70’s era recordings complemented by Calderazzo’s sensitive drumming allowing Siegal and Robson space to flow with fine solos. 
Thin Man (Robson)  is driven by Calderazzo’s classic drumming as again Robson and Siegel serve up tasteful and interesting solos . The title track Swamp (Robson) certainly evokes the feeling of being in the middle of some whirling foggy morass. This is the ‘free-est’  and for me the most enjoyable track on the album again with a definite  Miles Davis electronic feel to it. Robson uses fascinating electronic effects whilst drum and bass really set the groove. 
Veto (Siegel) is another vehicle for the tenor player to delight with a more or less straight ahead piece and the guitar is also played in classic jazz fashion. Overview (Robson) starts with a gentle airy soprano solo before Robson takes over with one of his more imaginative guitar breaks.  Mickey (Robson) sees Siegel and Robson once more trade solos as bass and drums provide the perfect backdrop. Finally, Icicle Architects (Robson) starts with a melancholic bass clarinet solo before slowly building to a rumbling group finale.
Apart from the title track this album is more landscape garden than quagmire so for those who revel in tight well executed contemporary jazz played by a first rate ensemble this will be a fine offering. For those seeking some heavier trekking this album may be a few mud baths short of a Swamp
Swamp is released by Whirlwind Recordings Ltd. on Sept. 22.
Steve H.

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