All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

300

Loose Tubes: Dancing On Frith Street

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Twenty years after the legendary Loose Tubes played its final gigs, Dancing On Frith Street, a live album taken from those valedictory performances at London's Ronnie Scott's Club in September 1990, offers a chance for jazz fans of a certain age to reminisce, and an opportunity for those who missed the band's performances the first time around to check out its live sound. Thankfully, this superbly produced, atmospheric and exciting album enhances the band's reputation. It should also bring it to the attention of a legion of potential new fans.

Loose Tubes formed in London in the early '80s—an iconoclastic big band that broke down barriers between genres to embrace and incorporate rock, reggae and Latin sounds in its compositions—and recorded three studio albums including the Teo Macero-produced third album, Open Letter (EG, 1988). The 23-piece lineup on this live album includes many players who are now at the forefront of jazz in Britain and Europe, including keyboardist Django Bates, saxophonists Mark Lockheart and Iain Ballamy, and guitarist John Parricelli.

The members of Loose Tubes were talented players with a love of jazz, but they never took themselves too seriously, as the between song announcements captured here readily show. Parricelli, for example, is celebrated in one announcement for "sometimes using all six strings of the guitar simultaneously."

While Loose Tubes drew on an eclectic mixture of influences, some elements of its sound immediately mark it as an '80s ensemble—Parricelli's guitar on "Shelley" and some of Bates' electronic keyboards on "Last Word" are prime examples—sounds that are still fun but also immediately evocative of their time. For the most part, however, the tunes sound fresh, distinctive and rather timeless, always upbeat and danceable but never repeating the same formula.

Bates' "Godbucket," which features Lockheart's funky tenor solo, has an insistent and irresistible beat that makes superb use of percussionist Thebi Lipere and drummer Martin France. "Like Life," another Bates number, resembles the theme tune to '70s BBC television show The Generation Game. "Village," by trumpeter Chris Batchelor, starts off like a New Orleans funeral march, before metamorphosing into a jaunty slice of Klezmer-ish dance music.

What Dancing On Frith Street makes abundantly clear is the power and energy of the Loose Tubes horn section. The opening riffs on flautist Eddie Parker's "Last Word" and Bates' "Yellow Hill" are so solid and powerful that they could have knocked over audience members at ten paces. This power is just part of what makes Dancing On Frith Street such a resounding success. There's also a great live atmosphere, captured with terrific clarity; a set of tunes that has fun at its center; and a healthy degree of irreverence. Volumes 2 and 3 are still to come: now there's a prospect to be relished.

Track Listing: Yellow Hill; Discovering Metal; Last Word; Shelley; Godbucket; Like Life; Village.

Personnel: Eddie Parker: flute; Dai Pritchard: clarinet; Steve Buckley; saxophone, clarinet (7); Iain Ballamy: saxophone; Mark Lockheart: saxophone; Julian Nicholas: saxophone; Ken Stubbs: saxophone; Lance Kelly: trumpet; Chris Batchelor: trumpet; Ted Emmett: trumpet; Paul Edmonds: trumpet; Noel Langley: trumpet; John Harborne: trombone: Steve Day: trombone; Paul Taylor: trombone; Richard Pywell: trombone; Ashley Slater: bass trombone; Dave Powell: tuba; Django Bates: keyboards; John Parricelli: guitar; Steve Watts: bass; Martin France: drums; Thebi Lipere: percussion.

Title: Dancing On Frith Street | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Lost Marble

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Extended Analysis
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Säd Afrika

Not On Label (Loose Self-released)
2012

buy
Loose Tubes: Sad Afrika

Loose Tubes: Sad...

Lost Marble
2012

buy
Dancing On Frith Street

Dancing On Frith...

Lost Marble
2011

buy
 

Dancing On Frith...

Not On Label (Loose Self-released)
2010

buy
 

Open Letter

Not On Label (Loose Self-released)
1988

buy
 

Delightful Precipice

Not On Label (Loose Self-released)
1986

buy

Related Articles

Read Why Not CD/LP/Track Review
Why Not
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Together CD/LP/Track Review
Together
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review
Presence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Blood CD/LP/Track Review
Blood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read "Fred Hersch Trio: Live in Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Fred Hersch Trio: Live in Europe
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 26, 2018
Read "Spell" CD/LP/Track Review Spell
by Jim Worsley
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Myths and Morals" CD/LP/Track Review Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Charlie Porter" CD/LP/Track Review Charlie Porter
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 9, 2018
Read "The Mugician" CD/LP/Track Review The Mugician
by Thomas Earl
Published: February 1, 2018
Read "Invisible Threads" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Threads
by Samuel Stroup
Published: January 24, 2018