Congratulations to Chris Batchelor (photographed above at Saalfelden Festival)…..
Last night at RIBA in Portland Place in London, he received one of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation‘ s Awards for Composers. It’s the most prestigious and valuable award for composers in Britain. It is run annually, and three composers receive £45,000 each, with no strings attached. In each of the last three years one of these awards has been given to a jazz composer.In 2007 it was Iain Ballamy. Last year it was Evan Parker .
But last night was definitely Chris Batchelor’s night, with his children there looking on as he received the award. Batchelor is known to the students of huge jazz faculty at Middlesex University, and to participants in summer schools as an inspiring musical presence. Brian Morton in Jazz Journal has called Big Air (Babel) ‘the best British jazz record for 20 years.’
I’m reminded that the final track on the (sadly) long-deleted 1985 original Loose Tubes LP is called Arriving. “Composer and Arranger: Chris Batchelor.”
The Loose Tubes generation have been hugely influential on the development of music in the UK, and more widely too . But sometimes they’ve been in the shadows. Recognition such as these two Paul Hamlyn Composer Awards in 2007 and 2009 brings them, deservedly, into the light.
Yes, Chris Batchelor has arrived.