21st Century Acid Trad
Village Life ****
Recorded in the Vortex in January and April 2013, anyone who has attended gigs in the east London club will know from the audience applause you can hear from time to time on these eight tracks that the captured sound is faithful to the upstairs room with its large windows on the side overlooking the square and paintings on the opposite wall and where little tables are dotted about providing enough left-over space for people to loll at the back and by the bar.
Issued on drummer Paul Clarvis’ own Village Life label, Clarvis, best known recently for his work with Blink and the Rich Tailors and as a film session drummer extraordinaire, is joined by Loose Tubes founder member Chris Batchelor on trumpet and soprano cornet; by pianist Liam Noble; and by the Sons of Kemet’s Oren Marshall on tuba. Clarvis and Batchelor produce. It’s a trad record played by a quartet more used to advanced and free forms of modern jazz (although not exclusively), so it’s an interesting exercise and everything is not quite what it seems, at times quite deliciously. But Pigfoot are not about post-modern reinvention or deconstruction if that’s what you’re thinking, but instead the four are playing a role as if they were swept back in time, stopping (even stomping) off in the trad boom years of the 1950s on their way to a mythical jazz past between the wars found behind privet hedges possibly or in suburban pubs in places like Osidge or Harrow Weald, part of the becalmed Metro-land of the imagination, but unhindered by the style's doctrinaire approaches or worse still odd notions of authenticity. ‘Basin Street Blues’, ‘12th Street Rag’, ‘Jitterbug Waltz’, 'Tennessee Waltz', ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee/His Eye Is On the Sparrow’, ‘Mood Indigo’, ‘Petite Fleur’, and ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’ are the tunes, a set you’ll hear selections of nearly any day of the week in a trad-loving pub or at the sort of festival where on a hot day people might wear hankies on their heads. Surprises? Well Batchelor manages to sound like Wynton Marsalis on ‘Just a Closer Walk With Thee’ before switching to wail (there is no other word) on ‘Mood Indigo’. Clarvis is on excellent form; his liking for a rudimentary kit well served by Pigfoot's sheer passion and his timing and expression are best heard on his break particularly on the toms on ‘Mood Indigo’. For the advanced bits that inure themselves miraculously compare and contrast Noble on ‘Mood Indigo’ with his work on Ellington In Anticipation, where the tune also appears; or for that matter Marshall in his opening foray on ‘Petite Fleur’ the flip side of his very different turn on Burn. A follow-up, 22nd century acid trad, might even feature a banjo. A fine debut.
It’s trad, er, dad