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Django Bates

British multi-instrumentalist Django Bates is well-known for his razor-sharp wit as a player, composer, and arranger. Bates founded the quartet Human Chain in 1979 -- a group that is still together in the 21st century -- and is, along with Courtney Pine and Iain Ballamy, one of the architects of the British jazz renaissance which began in earnest in the late '80s. Bates also leads the 19-piece big band Delightful Precipice. Bates' solo work consists of six notable recordings including the stellar Quiet Nights on Tim Berne's Screwgun label (for which he won Denmark's prestigious Jazzpar prize), 1993's Summer Fruits on JMT, and 1994's Autumn Fires, also on JMT. In addition to his work as a leader, Bates was prominently featured as a sideman in Bill Bruford's jazz fusion ensemble Earthworks from 1986-1994, and in the bands of George Russell and George Gruntz. He has been a session player as well, contributing to the extreme edge of the vanguard on Tim Berne's Caos Totale and Bloodcount projects, as well as to Ballamy's solo recordings. In addition to his work in the jazz world, Bates is also a composer, writing Dream Kitchen for percussionist Evelyn Glennie, Fine Frenzy for the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, and a piano concerto for soloist Joanna MacGregor and the RLPO. He also founded the Circus Umbilicus, a true circus-cum-musical project and composed the keyboard concerto entitled 2000 Years Beyond UNDO, which was performed at the millennium Barbican Festival. Though he has recorded infrequently as a leader, in 2017 he released two albums within a month of one another. The first was July's Saluting Sgt. Pepper on Edition. Bates arranged, conducted, and played with the Frankurt Radio Big Band performing a modern jazz take on the entire album. In November he released The Study of Touch, his debut release as a leader for ECM, backed by his longtime Beloved trio with Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun. In addition to these two dates, Bates was also a sideman for Anouar Brahem on Blue Maqams for ECM, alongside bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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