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Bebop Spoken There

Tim Berne: "My guys improvise. They're not going to do something just because it works, or it worked the night before." - (Downbeat December 2004.)

Barry McRae: “Arguments about the importance or even the necessity for improvisation in jazz are never likely to be resolved.” – (Jazz Journal December 1992)

Archives.

Today Tuesday January 24

Afternoon.
?????
Evening.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, April 03, 2015

LOOSE TUBES INTERVIEW (with Chris Batchelor)

(Our man, Russell, put some questions to Chris Batchelor ahead of the appearance by Loose Tubes at GIJF)
Which Loose Tuber was it who said: Let’s get back together?
Django Bates had been working on the Ronnie Scott’s recordings from 1990, and these came out on the CD “Dancing In Frith Street” . Subsequently Django had some interest from promoters about a reunion and that started the ball rolling.
The Loose Tubes’ line-up at this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival is remarkably similar to the early days. Was everyone ‘up for it’ or did some arm-twisting take place?
The reaction was very positive – a few people were no longer in touch, or no longer interested, but the majority were into it and plans began to fall in place. Personally, I was a bit sceptical until it was confirmed that there would be new music. I didn’t want it to be a purely nostalgic event, as the band always had a reputation for fresh ideas and experimentation, so it swung it for me when the BBC commissioned some new music.
The band reformed to perform at the Cheltenham and Brecon jazz festivals and Ronnie Scott’s. Is there the collective will to continue indefinitely and is touring restricted to festival gigs due to the economics of taking a big band on the road?
Obviously it is difficult in terms of logistics and finance to put the band on, and Jeremy Farnell has done an incredible job on this front. Things are tight at the moment in terms of funding and fees, and in addition everyone in the group is very busy with their individual projects - there must be at least a dozen band leaders in the group. So it is ongoing, but for the time being the opportunities to play are restricted.
It is said Graham Collier’s workshops were an inspiration to the band. What was Collier’s role?
In the early 80s Graham set up a rehearsal band to play his music and that of other jazz composers from outside the swing big band tradition. I remember John Warren coming in with some charts. A few of us in the band were also into writing and so we began to bring our own charts in and it developed from there, but we wouldn’t have all been in the same space if it wasn’t for Graham’s initiative and enthusiasm.
Loose Tubes’ early recordings featured compositions by several band members. How did the process work? Was it a case of ‘We like that’ and it was in the pad?
After the Graham Collier period we began rehearsing every Monday at Wood Wharf studios in Greenwich, which was run by Billy Jenkins. We would bring charts in (I distinctly remember staying up all weekend to copy 21 parts by hand and crawling in to the rehearsals) and the band would gravitate towards certain pieces. The pad grew to quite a size with six or seven writers in the band, so it was a question of what we would play on any particular night. The band was set up as a collective so there was always a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about any decision.
Miles Davis’ producer Teo Macero was involved on the 1988 album Open Letter. How did he become involved?
We had self–produced the first two records, which again was a fairly chaotic process, and with the third album there was a bit more money available, so we decided to get a name producer involved. At one point it was a toss up between Teo Macero and Joe Zawinul, but in the end the negotiations with Zawinul didn’t work out and we went ahead with Macero.
You composed and arranged Arriving on Loose Tubes and composed Would I Were (the final track on Delightful Precipice) and Sticklebacks on Open Letter. Did you write with the various soloists in mind (Django Bates, Steve Buckley, John Parricelli, Ashley Slater and, of course, yourself!)?
Some of the solos would move around from player to player – it would often depend who had not had a solo because of the set list. Other solos were more written into the fabric of the music and didn’t get changed. At this point we were all working in small groups together; I played a lot with Steve Buckley and Ashley Slater, Django and Iain Ballamy were in Earthworks, Mark Lockheart and John Parricelli played together a lot. So some of those relationships would come through in Loose Tubes, as if there were several small bands contained within the larger group.
In the early days Loose Tubes visited Tyneside (from memory on a CMN tour) at around the same time as the Jazz Warriors. Was there a friendly rivalry at the time?
There was, but there was also crossover to some extent. This history of the two bands is sometimes presented as being totally separate but lots of Tubes and Warriors were working together in other projects, and I think Harry Beckett and Cheryl Alleyne played in both bands.
There was an attempt at putting on a gig with members of both groups (called Big Blender) but it didn’t work out because of schedules. It would be great if we were to have an opportunity to do a Jazz Warriors/Loose Tubes double bill– it’s the 30th anniversary of both bands, so it’s the perfect time.
At Sage Gateshead will the audience hear new material as well as the very best of the back catalogue? Bebop Spoken Here will be surprised and disappointed if Sad Afrika and Delightful Precipice aren’t in the set list!
We will be playing the new material alongside older pieces such as those you mentioned – everyone has different favourites, (some of them quite obscure!) but there is something for everyone hopefully.
The third and final Ronnie Scott’s recording, entitled “Arriving”, will come out in July and half of the material is from the 1990 farewell gigs and half is the new material from last year. The older stuff also includes some previously unrecorded pieces.
You recently played a gig on Tyneside with Laura Jurd. What do you make of the new generation of British jazz musicians and the scene in general?
There are some incredible young players and writers coming onto the scene, and I think it is very healthy, in artistic terms if not financially. Lots of younger players are technically really strong and very broad in their approach, so it will be interesting to see how things develop. The UK has always had great jazz musicians but has been cut off from the US/EU circuit and hopefully some of the next generation can break through.
Thank you Chris, We’ll see you at Sage Gateshead on April 12.
Russell.
Sunday 12th April, 2015. 7.30pm
Pre-concert talk at 6.30pm with Django Bates, Chris Batchelor, Eddie Parker and Ashley Slater from Loose Tubes (free to ticket holders)
Venue: Hall One
Tickets: £25 (Includes £1.50 handling fee) Multi-Buy Available      


2 comments :

  1. On Saturday 11 April Jazz.Coop is running a special Play Jazz! workshop at the Sage from 2pm to 5pm led by award-winning composer and saxophonist Iain Ballamy, a key member of Loose Tubes. book here http://sagegateshead.com/event/playjazz-workshop/

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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