Django Bates: Beloved Bird

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Django Bates
LABELS: Lost Marble
WORKS: Belovèd Bird
PERFORMER: Django Bates (piano), Peter Bruun (drums), Petter Eldh (bass)
CATALOGUE NO: LM004

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Pianist Django Bates, soon to be 50, enjoys rattling the cage of the UK jazz establishment – whether as a pivotal player in ’80s big band Loose Tubes, or performing with his own students at Copenhagen’s Jazz House.

Under its uninhibited improvisation, Loose Tubes often evoked past jazz styles – with brief pastiche glimpses. And here, Bates scales down to a trio, eschewing his usual vocal elements, and dedicates an entire album to childhood ‘hero’ Charlie Parker. 

Bates’s idiosyncratic style lends itself to bebop and you find yourself swept in by the ebb and flow of his tempo changes. Standards such as ‘Now’s The Time’ get a thorough going over – as the trio hits the pace hard, while ‘My Little Suede Shows’ finds a striking new groove.

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With Loose Tubes discs now strangely scarce, Bates can be visited afresh, and this disc, along with his trio’s UK tour, should win over dissenters and reward fans – his creativity has come of age. Neil McKim