Monday, 11 March 2013

Partikel : Harnessing Eric Ford

Eric Ford - Drums
I know Partikel and their music more intimately than any other Jazz trio in London, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be writing this now. Many years ago I accompanied my friend and guitarist Richard Savage to the infamous Jazz Jam at Kingston's Grey Horse. As we entered, our eyes were assaulted with a vision straight out of Star Wars' Mos Eisley Cantina band, imagine Duncan Hemstock mid-clarinet solo and you've got it!

As I returned week after week I started to draw the house band, Partikel, and the motley crew of jammers. Eventually I tried to draw their new (replacement) drummer Eric Ford and capture his Yoda like persona. I realised then that Ford is as enigmatic as a Jedi Master.

Cast yourselves light years ahead and I was once again in front of Partikel last Tuesday (05/03/2013) at The Amersham Arms, New Cross with the rest of the S.E. Collective audience.
In the years in between I have spent a considerable time listening to and drawing Duncan Eagles, Max Luthert and Eric Ford. I have dissected their work to create album covers and their tunes have inspired many an animation.
So here in the present they appeared before me. It was a night of new and old material, all superbly executed with passion and verve.

Max Luthert - Bass

Running full pelt through their first tune 'Restless Child' they immerged the other side in Luthert Land, and his signature tune 'Assam'. The crowd were particularly appreciative of Luthert this night. He is the most laid back of the band, considering he is a 10 cups of tea a day connoisseur, I would hate to think what would happen if he stopped imbibing the caffeinated drink, the result would be the first prone bass player in history. He must of been playing well to have caught the eye for he is a modest man for the shadows, like so many bass players.

Duncan Eagles is the ultimate pro and one of London Jazz's great facilitators. He was exemplary tonight if not a little aggressive in his delivery. With something to get off his slim chest I checked my usual Eagles indicator, the left shoulder, like a barometer in changeable weather, spits and starts when Eagles is 'in the groove'.
I was side on so couldn't measure the degree of tilt adequately. I looked for new indicators. I've never seen him blow so hard and his face turned a cherry red. In fact he was blowing so hard his slow-slung hipster jeans nearly fell off his narrow hips. He excelled on both tunes 'The Landing' and 'D to the G'.

My favourite tune of the night is a mysterious one.
Duncan Eagles - Saxophone
I hope you all get the chance to hear it one day. I first heard it in Derek Nash's studio last year during the notorious Mark Perry Experiment session. Why and what the experiment was I never found out but imagine a child with ADHD and who'd eaten a pack of blue smarties then that would be the excitable trumpeter Mark Perry.
His group (Eagles, Luthert, Leak and Nicholls) was bolstered by the small matter of Gareth Lockrane on flute and they created the most brilliant tune called 'Barter's Band' together. It is a swinging joy and provides you with a melody that kicks like a mule for the week to come. There are rumours that this experimental brew (including Ola Onabule on vocals) may be released into the world sometime soon.

Partikel were fantastic tonight providing us with all the proof why they are one of Michael Janisch's leading lights at Whirlwind Recordings. I dearly hope the talk is true and a third album is in the pipeline.

I was pleased with my night's work, at last, I captured a likeness of Eric Ford, that quizzical look when he is pleased with his cow-bell skills or he has battered the audience with a particularly loud solo.
He still remains an enigmatic figure on the London circuit and if Partikel want to take the next step in their development they'll need to harness the force of nature that is Eric Ford.

May the force be with them.


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