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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Partisans @ Pizza Express, Soho, EFG London Jazz Festival - November 13/14

Phil Robson (guitar), Julien Siegel (tenor, soprano, bass clarinet, percussion), Thad Kelly (bass), Gene Calderazzo (drums).
(Review by Steve T).
“This is what Jazz gigs used to be like, starting around midnight”, said Julien Siegel. Pizza Express is a big deal in London Jazz; a class venue, downstairs, small, intimate with dim lights and a low ceiling.
I generally prefer to sit further back so I can see the whole event including audience, but I was seated right at the front, sharing a table with Siegel’s percussion thingy.
The drumming was intense from the start and never really let up throughout the set. Guitar rocked it up for his first solo, ending with some heavy feedback and the audience didn't flinch, but the next piece had a more traditional Jazz guitar sound.
Everything was from their comeback album Swamp, winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards album of last year, confirming our MPs aren't complete fools and don't just do nothing.     
Rap Dog was the highlight for me, bass relentlessly hanging on one note, the drummer mostly using hi-hat for the longest and most impressive guitar solo of the set. As the bass came loose, the drumming spread across the kit, reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra when the guitar hit a groove on top of the bass, unleashing a frenzied drum solo to finish the piece.
The title track was also pretty special; a suitably swamplike bass intro, soprano, eeffects-ladenguitar and finger drumming and we were in weird original Lifetime territory. Once it got going the guitar kept switching to a Fender Rhodes like sound, and with Siegel switching between soprano and his percussion thingy, it was close to Weather Report.
Overview and another whose title I missed brought things to a close, ending with another short crazy/ wild drum solo.
Steve T.

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