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Monday, April 13, 2015

GIJF DayThree: Loose Tubes + Andy Sheppard & Rita Marcotulli

(Review by Russell)
The last day of the Gateshead International Jazz Festival, the final concert in Hall One at Sage Gateshead, featured the reformed twenty one piece big band Loose Tubes. Festival Director Ros Rigby introduced the band and in so doing asked of the audience: Who had heard the band previously? Many in the hall had indeed heard the band first time around – some thirty years ago. Those who hadn't were in for a new experience.
Some things never change – Django Bates (hat firmly on head), flautist Eddie Parker (an ‘eccentric’ pair of striped trousers – possibly the same pair from thirty years ago!) and an infectious enthusiasm. MC Ashley Slater cracked the jokes (band mates the butt of them) and, tellingly, frequently acknowledged the ‘boys’ in the band were no longer that. Paul Taylor, standing alongside Slater, was the band’s ‘resident northern git’ and others didn't escape his ire.
Yellow Hill (comp. Django Bates) opened the show. It was as if they’d never been away. The same instantly recognisable anarchic/chaotic ensemble sound. The Chris Batchelor composition Would I Were sounded fresh yet familiar. Batchelor soloed, so too guitarist John Parricelli. Newer material festured such as Batchelor’s Creeper and Django Bates’ Like Life (heard on Dancing in Frith Street from 2010). Loose Tubes prospered on being out of left field, now, 2015, where do they stand? Eddie Parker couldn't resist a sideways swipe at the state of the global village. Was it rage or weary acceptance? The music is, or should be central to any performance and Loose Tubes certainly let the music do (most) of their talking. The multi-layered ensemble textures, the solo spots observing big band convention, the spotlighted one standing out front.
One extended set seemed to satisfy the adoring Gateshead audience. Earlier saxophonist Andy Sheppard played for three quarters of an hour in the company of his accomplished Italian partner Rita Marcotulli. The duo clearly delighted in working together. 
Russell.         
Django Bates (keyboards & tenor horn), John Parricelli (guitar),Julian Arguelles (baritone saxophone), Mark Lockheart (tenor saxophone), Julian Nicholas (tenor saxophone), Steve Buckley (alto & soprano saxophones), Iain Ballamy (soprano saxophone), Eddie Parker (flute), Dai Pritchard (clarinet, bass clarinet, flute), Dave DeFries (trumpet), Noel Langley (trumpet), Chris Batchelor (trumpet), John Eacott (trumpet), Ashley Slater (trombone), Paul Taylor (trombone), Richard Pywell (trombone), Richard Henry (bass trombone), Dave Powell (tuba), Steve Watts (double bass), Louise Peterson Matjeka (percussion) & Martin France (drums)
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Andy Sheppard (tenor & soprano saxophones) & Rita Marcotulli (piano). 

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