Ok, so Pigbag split up in 1983 and this is their first gig for 28 years. I’m not sure why they’ve decided to reform and play live again now after all this time, but I never got around to seeing them so it’s good to get the chance to catch them live.
Original members Ollie Moore (soprano, tenor and baritone sax) and Chris Lee (trumpet, percussion) take it in turns to introduce the songs and lead the band which consists of drums, percussion, bass, lead guitar, keyboards and trombone (played by Annie Whitehead, long standing stalwart of the UK Jazz scene who’s played with Joan Armatrading and Elvis Costello amongst others).
From the off it’s clear this lot can really play. The tunes are all fairly long, giving each musician plenty of time to solo and really show off their musical chops. They play songs from their 1982(!) album “Dr Heckle & Mr Jive” as well as some new material and it’s all good and funky.
They always had a lot of percussion on their songs, something of a Pigbag trademark, so percussionist Godwin Awala is on hand with plenty of congas, cowbells, whistles and of course the timbale. This coupled with some of the Afrobeat drumming courtesy of Kofi Adu keeps things danceable and funky but with a jazzy feel.
Their encore is of course “Papa’s got a brand new pigbag” and it still sounds as fresh as when I first heard it, despite it being used in adverts and as incidental music over the years.
I’m not sure if they plan to release the new songs they played but Ollie Moore assures us they won’t leave it 28 years before they play another gig.