In conversation with Django Bates’ Belovèd

Jul 09 2013 Published by under Events, News

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On Sunday 16 June, I hosted a public conversation with Django Bates’ Belovèd before their concert at the Holmfirth Arts Festival in West Yorkshire. Bates was joined on stage by bassist Petter Eldh and drummer Peter Bruun and I started off the conversation with a question about the relationship between place and creativity. We moved from an examination of the differences between festivals and venues – how performing contexts shape the direction of music – to exploring how the Danish jazz scene had led to the formation of the trio. Belovèd formed in Copenhagen during Bates’ time at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory and their Charlie Parker-inspired albums developed out of an event organised by the Copenhagen Jazzhouse.

Beloved with TWDuring the talk, we discussed concepts of inheritance and identity, how the ‘weight of history’ can often hamper the creative process. In my first book, Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition, I suggested that official histories of jazz are too fixed in nature and the presence of iconic figures has spawned a number of imitative projects which can be read as too indebted to past masters. Exploring these themes with Belovèd, Bates was keen to stress the difference between love and reverence for an artist, and suggested that this was the key to his success; using Parker’s music as a springboard for his own creativity without feeling restricted by official narratives or expectations about how to draw on music of the past. The trio touched on ways in which working transnationally encourages this kind of thinking.

The conversation moved on to a consideration of what it means to be an artist and a refusal to be pigeonholed and the trio discussed their musical and compositional processes. Bates will be developing the Belovèd project for big band for the BBC Proms in August and the translation of this material has presented a number of challenges for the group. Both Bruun and Eldh have such a close working relationship with Bates, feeding off each other and taking the music in different directions, that the inclusion of additional musicians has led to the need for the clarification of ideas and the sharing of established processes beyond the trio.
Beloved at Holmfirth by Ken DrewWe concluded our discussion by considering the dynamics of cultural influence and the flow of ideas. I asked the trio to reconsider the well trodden idea that creative influences flow in one direction – namely that musicians of the present are influenced by the great masters of the past – and posed the question of how Bates’ music could encourage us to think about the past in different ways. For example, I asked how does Belovèd encourage people to listen again to Charlie Parker with fresh ears and think differently about Parker? Although Bates acknowledged that all our listening is tempered by present values, he suggested that associations with his own music (ranging from compositional complexity to playful humour, from political statement to improvising in the moment) could be used as a strategy for revising our readings of the music of the past.

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Rethinking Jazz Cultures, Thursday night concert offer, Band on the Wall, Manchester

Apr 10 2013 Published by under Events

And here is another good deal for delegates coming to the Rhythm Changes conference this week in Salford. After the opening reception at CUBE Gallery in Manchester city centre on Thursday, we”ve arranged a special discount for a terrific jazz gig at one of the city”s leading live music club venues, the Band on the Wall. (25 Swan Street, in the Northern Quarter.) It just keeps getting better and better …

A very special jazz double bill featuring the spectacular and visceral mash-up of rock, jazz and dance music of Troyka plus the Anton Hunter Trio whose debut at last year”s Manchester Jazz Festival got everyone talking about this immensely creative new outfit.

Troyka

Troyka are Chris Montague (guitars and loops), Joshua Blackmore (drums) and Kit Downes (organ), three young musicians based in London whose intense live shows have seen them hotly tipped to follow in the foot steps of Polar Bear and Portico Quartet and become the next young band to explode from the capital’s fertile jazz scene. A multi-textured trio with a febrile imagination where no role is pre-defined, their music twists and mutates in an ongoing dialogue inspired by a shared love of Aphex Twin, the angular world of iconclastic New York saxophonist Tim Berne and the blues-jazz-rock groove of legendary Steely Dan and Billy Cobham guitarist Wayne Krantz.

Anton Hunter Trio

The Anton Hunter Trio made its debut at Band On The Wall at Manchester Jazz Festival 2012 and showcases material at the borders of composition and improvisation. More introspective and spacious than his work with HAQ or the Beats & Pieces Big Band, there is, as ever, still plenty of room for freedom and exploration within the structures, whilst not letting go of strong melodies. The trio is completed by his “Skamel” bandmates Johnny Hunter on drums and James Adolpho on bass.

This concert begins at 8pm but the venue”s Picturehouse Cafe Bar is open earlier for delicious food and drinks. Full price tickets at the door are £14.00 but Rhythm Changes delegates pay £8.00. Yes, in these hard economic times, we are still supporting venues, live musicians, but also looking after our delegates!

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Every Time it Rains – The Thin Red Line

Sep 04 2011 Published by under Events

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The Thin Red Line live at the Blue Note

Sep 03 2011 Published by under Events

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Thin, Red and Line

Sep 03 2011 Published by under Events

Thin, Red and Line

Performing at the conference this evening: The Thin Red Line. Turns out that’s not actually their names though.

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Bringing technology into the music

Aug 31 2011 Published by under Events

Drummer Bobby Petrov explains where the relationship between music and technology started for Tin Men and the Telephone…

Tin Men and the Telephone perform at the Bimhuis at the opening of the Rhythm Changes conference in Amsterdam, this Thursday, 1st September.

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The Piano as Word Processor

Aug 31 2011 Published by under Events

Tony demonstrates ‘piano to text via midi’ technology…

Tin Men and the Telephone perform at the play online pokies Bimhuis at the opening of the Rhythm Changes conference in Amsterdam, this Thursday, 1st September.

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Jazz in layers

Aug 31 2011 Published by under Events

Tony Roe talks about the concept of “layering” within music and video performance.

Tin Men and the Telephone perform at the Bimhuis at the opening of the Rhythm Changes conference in Amsterdam, this Thursday, 1st September.

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Why use video in jazz?

Aug 30 2011 Published by under Events

Tony Roe from Tin Men and the Telephone explains why he uses video in his performances.

Tin Men and the Telephone perform at the Bimhuis at the opening of the Rhythm Changes conference in Amsterdam, this Thursday, 1st September.

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