Mike Pardew: Stairwell




Mike Pardew (guitar)


Azul (Afan Music AFAN0005)


Mike Pardew (guitar),

Damian Erskine (bass), Micah Kassell (drums)


Composed by Mike Pardew


Recorded: Portland, OR, March 2007


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

In reviewing Mike Pardew's "Road Worn," I pointed out that among jazz and fusion influences in Pardew's playing, I also heard a touch of the iconic rock metal band Black Sabbath (specifically, guitarist Tony Iommi). On "Stairwell," I don't so much hear Sabbath's influence. Instead, the rock side of the equation sounds more like Robin Trower. Pardew himself might say that his music is unaffected by either Iommi or Trower. But since I like much of Black Sabbath and Robin Trower, such comparisons are for me a good thing.

"Stairwell" is an aggressive fusion number. A thick, repeating unison riff from Pardew and bassist Damian Erskine, and drummer Micah Kassell's heavy double-timing beat, start the tune off mid-groove. A rolling bassline accompanies a feverish solo from Pardew. He doesn't sound like Iommi or Trower here. He sounds like Mike Pardew, fusion guitarist. (Actually a few repeating riff lines do evoke Trower toward the end.) Erskine's own impressive solo, heard high in the mix, is aided by background textures from Pardew and Kassell. There is a short revisit to the tune's opening riffs. Then the tune stops cold. Maybe it lost its balance or was pushed off the steps. I don't know. What I do know is that this is highly engaging and powerful fusion music. You should seek it out at your first opportunity.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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