Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

291

Django Bates Beloved: Beloved Bird

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Django Bates claims that he heard Charlie Parker records on the day he was born. Fifty years later, Bates has formed Belovèd, giving life to his longstanding love for Parker's music on his trio's debut, Belovèd Bird. It's an album that ably demonstrates how love means never having to play in the same old way, for this sparklingly inventive album is not a retread of old Parker arrangements, but a reappraisal of the sound—a reconstruction based on Bates' strongly-held belief that Parker was a musician who was always willing to evolve.

Bates has been one of the UK's most respected jazz musicians for over 20 years: a member of Loose Tubes, leader of Delightful Precipice and, since 2005, a Professor at the Copenhagen Rhythmic Music Conservatory. It was in 2005 that he was asked to join in a celebration of Parker at the Copenhagen Jazz House: eventually, five years later, the arrangements he produced for that celebration form the basis for Belovèd Bird.

Belovèd's Danish rhythm section, of bassist Petter Eldh and drummer Peter Bruun, is crucial to the sound of the album. Indeed, it's their playing—strong, tight, empathetic but definitely-not-bebop—that most consistently separates Belovèd's sound from Parker's. Eldh's playing has swagger and swing, as Bruun skips and bounces across the kit. It's a great double act, a partnership exemplified by their work on "My Blue Suede Shoes." Bates plays a jagged but readily identifiable version of the melody, but Eldh and Bruun put together a slinky and seductive rhythm that genuinely recreates the tune's mood.

It's Bates, though, who is in charge. His playing is full of creativity, joy and respect for the tunes whether he's playing in a recognizably bebop style or extending and exploring the music's potential for reinvention.

Belovèd's playfulness comes across strongly on Parker's "Chi Chi." The tune opens in a distinctly free form style, then Bates picks out a more recognizable bar or two of the song's melody before Eldh takes on the lead role for another few bars. After that Eldh and Bates trade lines while Bruun dives in with some of his most bop-ish drumming.

Two short band compositions, the light and pretty ,"Punctuat-i'on" and the rather mysterious "Plasticity," punctuate the lineup of bop classics. To close, the trio stretches out Parker's light and upbeat "Ah Leu Cha" to almost 20 minutes, turning it into a languid, dream-like, meditative thing of beauty.

Belovèd Bird was recorded at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory and it sounds great. The album's packaging is striking and Bates' liner notes are a joy to read. Is this the direction Parker's evolution might have taken him on had he lived to a ripe old age? Perhaps not; but Belovèd's direction is a fascinating and beautiful one. Bird would be proud.

Track Listing: Scrapple From The Apple; Hot House; ,Punctuat-i'on; Star Eyes; My Little Suede Shoes; Laura; Chi Chi; Now's The Time; Plasticity; Moose The Mooche; Billie's Bounce; Ah-Leu-Cha.

Personnel: Django Bates: piano; Petter Eldh: double-bass; Peter Bruun: drums.

Title: Beloved Bird | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Lost Marble

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019
Read Rasif Album Reviews
Rasif
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 21, 2019
Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019