Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Partisans: Max

152

Partisans: Max

By

Sign in to view read count
Partisans: Max
Longer established than their Babel label mates and fellow London radicals Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear—and several light years closer to the straight-ahead tradition than either—in energy and attitude Phil Robson's and Julian Siegel's Partisans are very much on the same side of the barricades. Here, in their first album since '00's Sourpuss, they cook up another trademark shot of gritty bop and hard bop, early electric Miles, rock riffs and jam band grooves, a bona fide ain't broke and don't need fixing blast, short on introspection and big on in-the-moment excitement and invention.

Max is dedicated to Max Roach, and the opening track, which segues from Parker's "Klact-oveeseds-tene" into Siegel's variation "Max," borrows its rhythm from the drummer and rides it hard and at speed for just under seven minutes, establishing a fierce and full-on mood which runs through the album with just a few contrasting moments of delicacy and reflection. Instrumental textures at times inevitably bring Miles' work with Bennie Maupin and John McLaughlin to mind, but the Miles album of which Max is most strongly reminiscent is the guitarless and bass clarinetless Live At The Fillmore East (March 7 1970)—it has that same intensely exciting heightened level of fire and passion.

"Klact-oveeseds-tene" aside, all the tunes here are written, separately, by Robson and Siegel (except for Wayne Krantz's "Partisans #2" and David Bowie's "John, I'm Only Dancing"), and they show the two men's talent for richly lyrical composition to be undimmed. "Closing Light," which features its composer Robson on acoustic guitar behind Siegel's almost breathy tenor, is the only track of sustained delicacy on the album, but they're all blessed with strong melodies, even the fastest and fiercest.

Guests Jim Watson, Chris Batchelor, and Thebe Lipere bring plenty of flavour to the party, with Watson's chicken shack B3 a particular pleasure on Robson's "The Eskaton," and Batchelor helping attach an electrified fifty-years-on Diz 'n' Bird vibe to "Max," and Kelly and Calderazzo are simultaneously and characteristically rock solid and supercharged. But nine years down the line, it's the Robson/Siegel take-no-prisoners axis which continues to define Partisans.

Terrific, invigorating music.

Track Listing

Max; Z Car; Partisans #2; The Eskaton; The Lacemakers; Last Chance; Some Of Those; John, I'm Only Dancing; Quarterlight; Wise Child.

Personnel

Partisans
band / ensemble / orchestra

Phil Robson, guitars; Julian Siegel, tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, cuica; Thaddeus Kelly, bass; Gene Calderazzo, drums. Chris Batchelor, trumpet on "Max," "John, I'm Only Dancing" and "Quarterlight." Thebe Lipere, percussion on "The Lacemakers," "Last Chance" and "John, I'm Only Dancing." Jim Watson, Hammond B3 on "The Eskaton," "Some Of Those" and "John, I'm Only Dancing."

Album information

Title: Max | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Babel Label

Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Eagle's Point
Chris Potter
Can You Hear It?
Mikko Innanen / Cedric Piromalli / Stefan Pasborg
Elegy for Thelonious
Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble

Popular

Jazz Hands
Bob James
Esengo
London Afrobeat Collective
Light Streams
John Donegan - The Irish Sextet

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.