Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

513

Partisans: By Proxy

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
London band Partisans has been making the hair stand up on the back of audiences' necks with its supercharged collision of jazz and rock since 1996. By Proxy is the band's fourth album following the acclaimed Max (Babel, 2005), which was the most effective recreation of Partisans' ferocious live sound in the recording studio up to that date.



Max was a monster. By Proxy is even better. Like its predecessor, it conveys much of the impact of the group live, but is also a cleverly conceived studio set, in which the group's multi-layered, rhythmically sophisticated, twisting and turning arrangements reveal new points of interest each time they are heard. The gumbo of genres touched on is the same as before—updated electric Miles Davis, bop, hard bop, rock and funk (of the intelligently bootalicious Parliament/Funkadelic type), even an occasional taste of heavy metal—but the blend is deeper, displaying those degrees of collective energy and focus which only a stable, working band can achieve after years of playing together.



Partisans is co-led by reed player Julian Siegel and guitarist Phil Robson, each of whom has recently released an outstanding solo album. Siegel's double CD Live At The Vortex (Basho, 2009), made with Americans Greg Cohen on bass and Joey Baron on drums, is one of the year's great saxophone albums. Robson's Six Strings And The Beat (Babel, 2008), made with a string quartet, is an elegant electric guitar and chamber music outing, all the more delightful for having apparently come out of nowhere. Good things are said to come in threes, and By Proxy completes the sequence.



Siegel and Robson are Partisans' chief composers—between them they wrote all the tunes on By Proxy with the exception of Wayne Krantz's "Partisans #1" and Duke Ellington's "Prelude To A Kiss" (like it's never been heard before)—but the high energy contributions of bassist Thaddeus Kelly and drummer Gene Calderazzo, a long-time American resident in London, are key to the band's sound. Kelly, in addition, is responsible for the daring, electronica-seeped mix-down of "Prelude To A Kiss," featuring Siegel's delicately poised saxophone over urgent, rapid-fire bass, drums and effects-laden guitar.



True to form, there aren't many ballads on By Proxy, and it's not until track six, "Munch," a feature for tenor saxophone and acoustic guitar, that there's a sustained softening of the ambiance. But the arrangements of the other tunes, with their unexpected but always on the money diversions, tributaries, meter morphs and secondary themes, provide plenty of internal contrasts and varied dynamics. "Partisans #1" and "Advance" are both jewels of serpentine, post-Miles Davis, electric jazz/rock; the first features Siegel on bass clarinet, the second soprano saxophone over a tricksy electric guitar and bass ostinato. The heavy metal tinged "By Proxy" takes a more relentless path.



Partisans' long expected masterpiece, By Proxy is one of the most exciting albums to be released on either side of the Atlantic in 2009.

Track Listing: Advance; By Proxy; Mirrors; MBadgers; Lapdog; Munch; Partisans #1; Traitor; Prelude To A Kiss.

Personnel: Julian Siegel: tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Phil Robson: guitar; Thaddeus Kelly: bass; Gene Calderazzo: drums.

Title: By Proxy | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Babel Label

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019