Live reviews

Partikel ‘Anniversary Song’ album launch at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Partikel (Duncan Eagles, Max Luthert, Eric Ford)

(Pizza Express Dean Street. 9 August 2020. Live review by Sebastian Scotney)

Partikel at the launch. L-R: Duncan Eagles, Max Luthert, Eric Ford. Phone snap

The album launch of Partikel’s “Anniversary Song” (Berthold Records) inevitably makes one reflect on how far this band has travelled in the period of more than a decade since it started. It did its musical growing up as the house band for jam sessions in the back room of the Grey Horse in Kingston. These days, the three members have the kind of experience andd total professionalism which enables each one to step forward into the limelight in much larger settings.

That is most obviously the case for Max Luthert. The bassist, who is also a producer, is either booked or steps in as dep for the bands of many of the stars of the new London jazz scene and a key role in a major LJF project in 2021 by Bill Laurence (REVIEWED) . Drummer Eric Ford‘s adaptability and sensitivity to sound equip him to be super-dep in some quite high-profile swing bands, as well as other gigs across a wide stylistic spectrum. And Duncan Eagles‘s fluency as improviser and his gentle yet focused and very appealing sound are ideal for any kind of soloing or section work.

The newly-refurbished Pizza Express Jazz Club hosted this intimate occasion. Family, friends and supporters were clinking glasses to celebrate the continued existence of a band which has survived all this time “without us killing each other”, as Duncan Eagles expressed it with typical honesty.

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A tune which maybe sums up the virtues of Partikel best is “Riad” from the new album. The story behind it is that the music portrays the contrast between the insane busy-ness of the markets in Marrakech and the calm of the adjacent quiet backstreets. So what we hear are moments of contemplation versus all-consuming total energy. Partikel does that just about as well as any other band I know. I did wonder if Eric Ford was channelling Jack DeJohnette on his 80th birthday as he launched into the full-texture ‘market’ episodes. I closed my eyes…and the Chicago-born maestro really was in the room.

LINKS: John Fordham’s interview with Duncan Eagles

Bruce Lindsay’s “Anniversary Song” album review

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