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CD Review: Django Bates’ Belovèd – Confirmation

Django Bates’ Belovèd – Confirmation
(Lost Marble LM007. CD Review by Chris Parker)

‘Joyful, insouciant and insanely clever’ are the adjectives chosen by liner-note writer Evan Parker to describe the way pianist Django Bates has ‘reconsidered, fragmented and thoroughly “Djangoised”’ the melodies and harmonies on Confirmation.

The last verb is probably the most significant: success in jazz is widely thought to depend on finding an individual voice, and the use of a musician’s name as shorthand meaningfully encapsulating a particular approach is thus the highest form of compliment that can be paid to a practitioner.

And, as anyone who’s heard Bates’s trio’s previous release, dedicated to Charlie Parker tunes, will attest, the UK pianist is something of an expert in the art of what Parker (Evan) refers to as a determination to ‘deconstruct and reconstruct’ the great altoist’s lines. Here, the trio – completed by Petter Eldh (bass) and Peter Bruun (drums) – addresses Charlie Parker material (‘Donna Lee’, and ‘Now’s the Time’ in addition to the title-track) with the same mix of intensity and adventurousness that made the album’s predecessor so compelling; it also plays six Bates originals (with typically quirky titles such as ‘Senza Bitterness’ and ‘We are Not Lost, We are Simply Finding Our Way’) with all the spiky, nervy but somehow utterly appropriate verve and wit that their originality and eccentricity demand.

If the trio’s previous live performances are any guide, the band’s forthcoming November/December UK dates (see below) should be a real treat.

24 November: Stratford Circus, London E15 1BX
29 November: Crucible, Sheffield
30 November: Wakefield Jazz Club
1 December: Leeds College of Music

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