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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, May 27, 2019

CD Review: Partisans - NIT DE NIT


Phil Robson (guitar), Julian Siegel (tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet), Thaddeus Kelly (bass guitar), Gene Calderazzo (drums). 
(Review by Chris)  

My latest foray into the shadow world of reviewing for Bebop Spoken Here.... rendezvous with the boss at Sage before the big gig (Kamasi Washington, BSH passim). Lance rocks up dispensing CDs to his acolytes... what’s in his oh so stylish plastic carrier bag this time? Well, on the night of the current giant of the tenor (?), what else but three sax led albums  - The Three Tenors”? 


The first of these a live album by Partisans, led by Phil Robson on guitar plus Julian Siegel on saxes and bass clarinet.  I wasn’t familiar with this UK-based band, or the members, but they have serious pedigree, together and individually, stretching back 20 years and more. Their music is variously reported as jazz-rock, fusion, post-bop or even “post-jazz”, but as futile as these labels are, I’d say they are still in the “jazz” fold somewhere. 

They have their own distinctive voice and direction, but there are clear echoes of Soft Machine, electric Miles, Weather Report or even Mahavishnu. The lead alternates between reeds and guitar, over a powerful and sophisticated beat (yes, he is Joey’s brother) and grooving bass (from rock to wandering funk lines and back again).  

The album kicks off with a phrase from Bird’s 1947 Klact-Oveeseds-tene, which is then taken to the Max by all members of the band in homage to Mr. Roach, with the tune energetically worked over alternately by sax and guitar.   TheThat’s Not His Bag (from the airport carousel, apparently) features repeated guitar and bass riffs, Nucleus-style, with fluent, interlocking soloing from sax throughout.  

The title track is more urgent, cutting loose with angular lines and free sections driven by frantic (but precise) fireworks from the rhythm section.  Another change in direction for Bowie’s John I'm Only Dancing given a lengthy, luxurious blues treatment.  
Heavy rock riffs and withering overdriven guitar dominate The Overthink, over bubbling bass lines, punctuated by occasional quieter sections  - these guys aren’t short of confidence.  A languorous and thoughtful Latin-tinged number - EG (after Gismonti) - follows, with subtle, shuffling percussion and flying licks bounced between soprano and guitar.  

Pork Scratching hits a more jazz-rock note, with guitar effects to the fore, before the album closes with Last Chance. Starting with ruminant bass clarinet and pensive guitar, this gives way to another, more energetic Nucleus-style bass riff driving some sublime guitar pyrotechnics.  

Altogether, a very engaging, stimulating and varied work which has grown on me a lot through repeated listening.  I'd certainly like to catch them live on the basis of this recording, and I’ll be checking out their other albums and projects.  
Chris Kilsby 
Nearest gig on their 2019 tour:  September 22 at Scarborough Jazz Festival  
Release date: 17/05/2019 Whirlwind Recordings  

1 comment :

Hugh said...

Regarding the plastic bag of goodies...

...in the winter, the gaffer sports a stylish greatcoat with generous pockets in the lining, from which the CDs are dispensed.

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