The Red Lion, Hockley, Birmingham UK
Partikel are a young trio playing mainly original tunes by Duncan Eagles on soprano and tenor saxophone, with Max Luthert on bass and Eric Ford on drums. They are an extremely tight unit with a contemporary melodic, but hard hitting sound. Their second CD Cohesion was released last year on Whirlwind Recordings.
The Caribbean sounding Restless Child kicked off the first set, immediately conjuring up comparisons with Sonny Rollins, with Eric Ford utilizing all sorts of additions to the percussionist’s tool kit such as mini symbols and drums, wood blocks and bells, to produce a captivating Afro-infected rhythm while the saxophone gained energy and speed.
This was followed by Assam, a Luthert composition, which featured his deeply rich, propulsive bass and a seductive eastern tinged melody. Conquistador had a beguiling shimmering bass sound with the tune building to a muscular full-throated climax.
This was followed by two new tunes which slightly changed the vibe: a swing number followed by a beautiful and reflective short piece. After this came one of the first pieces the trio had learnt together, with strong robust tenor and quieter reflective interludes before Ford, featuring some impressive hi-hat work, picked up the pace with some high energy, take no prisoners drumming.
A new tune The Landing, featured galloping bass and inventive metronomic percussion building to a fraught, full-on finale.
The second set featured Blood of the Pharaohs, an outstanding tune with dark menacing soprano and fluid bass lines, which was reminiscent of Polar Bear’s Peepers and was something of a showcase for Ford’s drumming, which was apparently transcribed from African drummers. It involved an unusual piece of audience participation with the trio directing the audience to scream as the music invoked a stabbing, although Birmingham isn’t necessarily the best place for quips about knife crime!
A cool version of Body and Soul was slightly affected by the unexpected intrusion from the music downstairs. The Steep and Thorny Way had an exploring elusive quality with probing saxophone and a combustible close. The Optimist, with its searching saxophone and explosive, highly original drum solo, was a fitting end to the scheduled set.
An encore featured tender saxophone morphing into free-blowing with a final explosive solo from the formidable Eric Ford.
This was a Birmingham Jazz gig.
Categories: Live review