Die Pazäros (The Buddies) are a German-based Colombian power trio consisting of good mates, Juan-Pablo González-Tobón (guitar), Joan Chavez (bass) and Luis-Javier Londoño (drums/percussion). They create a raw Colombian-rhythm enthused, jazz-rock; belting out a mix of originals and deconstructions of traditional Colombian pieces.
Opener “Galleguiando” is a quick insight into the hearts, minds and hips of the trio. A smashed wash of a power chord introduces a nasty, broken choppy riff with punctuated tremolo arm wobbles and jerks while the Latin percussion grooves. Over before it begins but the intent is clear.
“Tosque” expands on the “Galleguiando” riff and takes it into a more overt Colombian space – feeling like a slightly miffed, Latin John Scofield reworking some King Crimson/Song X mashup. Angular, busy and danceable, it has that breathing space/bottom falling out-ness unique to trios; most notable when González-Tobón and Chavez enjoy jaunty solos. Bet it’s fierce fun live.
“Madera Negra” is initially an edgy Latin-jazz stroll with a plucked, 4-chord wash over an emerging bass pattern before González-Tobón stamps on his overdrive, throwing some nasty prog our way – making way for a psych exploration to take over – the band really filling the space as sinuous guitar lines pop and dance.
“Kama de Shrekens” creates an exotic bluesy drama with Chavez and Londoño getting busy as González-Tobón ‘s guitar tells an unhurried story through several chapters. Much more hurry about “El Cuarto” though. It riffs hard, jagged and urgent. It builds and falls apart, just about keeping a lid on things. “Tunel” offers a needed respite from the angular aggression with a gorgeous guitar sequence of glancing chords, arpeggios and lines that are seemingly effortlessly moved into their rightful position by Chavez and Londoño’s gentle, yet purposeful, work. I’d like to hear a bit more of this. Handsome.
“Un Porrito para Noica” is a study of unbalanced binary; mainly watchful and very occasionally explosive. Chavez takes advantage of a watchful period to deliver a peppy, perky solo. “Q’hubo Pues” is a charged staccato while traditional piece, ” La Rebuscona”, has the uncomplicated “Go on son!” energy of 3 cerveza-happy mates jamming on it for the first time.
Die Pazäros have a unique schtick – do (actually, don’t) correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure there’s no other successful integrations of Colombian traditional music and raw jazz-rock out there? And successful it is. They crack, snap and drive with an endearing uncooked, organic roughness; almost ‘unthinking’, it is so instinctive, so visceral. They naturally, easily bounce off each other. I could imagine them being a real bag of fun live. My only reservation is a lack of dynamic shift; an occasional need for some relent, subtlety and maybe wider instrumentation to help deliver that. That said, I’m chuffed that they met up and became buddies.