John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald

Jeff “Siege” Siegel​ Quartet
LONDON LIVE (ARC)

★★★★☆

No, I hadn’t heard of Jeff Siegel​ either, but the American drummer leads a storming band. This live album was recorded on the last date of a European tour, so the quartet was well primed. Alas the gig was in London on the night of a tube strike, shrinking the audience, although, as often happens in the face of mutual adversity, band and listeners sound like they bonded all the more strongly. With Siegel​ are tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley​ and bassist Uli Langthaler​, and the collective language, in terms of compositions, improvisation and even saxophone sound, is often overtly post-Coltrane to a degree that would usually drive me to distraction. The energy that this quartet generates, however, sweeps away such thoughts on a tide of sheer elation. Aside from the originals (by Siegel​, Lindsay and Tanksley​) they cover Coltrane’s​ majestic Peace on Earth, and then the excitement reaches its apotheosis on the traditional spiritual I Want Jesus to Walk with Me, which rides on a rolling groove as unstoppable as a mid-ocean swell, atop which both Tanksley​ and Lindsay build solos in which the rapture is underpinned by deeper truths.

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