The Charlie Bates Big Band: Silhouettes

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
The Charlie Bates Big Band: Silhouettes
Born in Essex in 1994, British jazz pianist Charlie Bates was introduced to jazz in his teens and later studied for a BMus Jazz degree at the Birmingham Conservatoire. In June 2016, Bates won the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Composition prize with an arrangement of Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," adjudicated by Tim Garland.

This forty-minute session opens with "Cyanopsia," which essentially means seeing everything with a blue tinge. A strong and memorable head played by the ensemble leads into solos, of which the first is guest Percy Pursglove, an increasingly in-demand trumpeter (and currently a tutor and alumnus of the Birmingham Conservatoire). "Almost Gone" is predominantly pastoral in nature, punctuated by some more effervescent ensemble playing and fine soloing from Pursglove.

The light and shade of "High-Rise" follows in the footsteps of the great jazz orchestra leaders, notably Duke Ellington and the UK's Sir John Dankworth, whose various big bands were populated with some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world, including Cleo Laine, John McLaughlin, Dave Holland, Michael Gibbs, Dudley Moore and Kenny Wheeler. Pursglove again turns in a bravura trumpet solo.

"Eyes Shut" begins ruminatively but is consolidated by more strident ensemble passages. The finale, "Eyes Open"—at just over ten minutes the longest track on the album—begins in a pastoral vein but gradually gathers momentum, ending climactically.

This debut big band album, written and recorded whilst Bates was still studying for his first degree, is highly commendable. Replete with sophisticated arrangements, moments of sheer delight and exuberant playing from a youthful ensemble, it speaks very well of the state of jazz today in the UK.

Track Listing

Cyanopsia; Almost Gone; High-Rise; Eyes Shut; Eyes Open.


Charlie Bates: composer, conductor; Percy Pursglove: trumpet, flugelhorn; Nick Dewhurst: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alex Asbury: trumpet, flugelhorn; David Tibbitts: trumpet, flugelhorn; Christos Stylianides: trumpet, flugelhorn; Elliot Drew: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Josh Schofield: alto saxophone, clarinet; Sam Craig: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Daniel Spirrett: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Vittorio Mura: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Richard Foote: trombone; David Sear: trombone; Josh Tagg: trombone; David Hamilton: trombone (1-3); Andrew Clennell: bass trombone (4-5); Daniel Kemshell: guitar; Jacky Naylor: piano; Sam Ingvorsen: double bass; Jonathon Silk: drums.

Album information

Title: Silhouettes | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album



Shop Amazon


Reuter / Motzer / Grohowski
Tales From The Jacquard
Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra
Pamai Chirdkiatisak
Music Room 1985
Wayne Krantz


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.