Partikel: Anniversary Song

At the times the chordless British saxophone trio reminds of Rollins and in general presents an effective straightahead face

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This the fifth album for Partikel, the trio that first emerged in 2009 via a pub in Kingston upon Thames and followed up with their first release in 2010 for the Whirlwind label. We are presented now with a dues-paid group whose members have a clear rapport. Saxophonist Duncan Eagles says in the press release “We have our strongest statement to date” and he’s probably right.

Eagles is responsible for supplying all the music, although the arrangements are a collective effort; hence the cohesion when the trio abruptly change direction in a number of these tunes. The saxophonist may be the major voice but the music very much revolves around the bold bass lines of Luthert, who gels beautifully with the ever-shifting drum patterns.

Whether on tenor or soprano the front man is no “squeak and howl” reedman, preferring to live within his instrument’s natural range, although he does briefly flirt with the tenor’s extreme upper register on the opening Catford Muse. When he turns to the straight horn on Silhouettes his lines are pleasingly fluent, complemented by the ever-reliable Luthert.

Contrast is the order of the day, from the group restraint of Suburbiton, the Rollins-inspired phrasing and tone Eagles displays on Riad to the attractive ballad that is Rose Bush, an effective performance full of control.

Partikel remain a little under the radar and deserve a much higher profile.

Discography
Catford Muse; Silhouettes; Cryptography; The Golden Bridge; The Butterfly Effect; Suburbiton; (Drum Intro); Riad; Citizen; Rose Bush (49.48)
Duncan Eagles (ts, ss); Max Luthert (b); Eric Ford (d). 2021.
Berthold Records BR321099