The jazz cause is better served by the likes of Django Bates, a free-spirited English pianist and composer. His cd You Live and Learn...(Apparently) is a gleeful array of whimsical attitudes and idioms. Mr Bates delights in a welter of reference- jazz licks intersected by rap, synthesizer, string quartet, surreal vocals...The recording’s overall mood is something like a hyperactive Beatles album. The Economist
Django Bates was born (1960) in Beckenham, Kent, in a street 'full of bank managers'. His parents grew cabbages in the front garden and filled the house with vagrant friends and their families: ‘I don't think we fitted in' he concludes. Django credits the delight he takes in his music to the variety of musical influences from his childhood; his father being a collector of Romanian folk, African music, and Jazz. After various lessons on piano, violin and trumpet, Django found himself at the Royal College of Music in London studying composition. On finding that the pianos had signs saying ‘not to be used for playing Jazz’ on them, he left two weeks later realising he wanted to remain a self-taught composer.
Django was the inaugural artistic director of Fuse Leeds04 - a biennial new music festival celebrating the wealth and diversity of today's vibrant music scene, for which he commissioned Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood to write a new work for Ondes Martenot and the London Sinfonietta. In honour of improvising saxophonist Evan Parker’s 60th birthday, Django commissioned sixty composers including Gavin Bryars, Sir Patrick Moore and John Zorn to write one bar each, and then he quilted these into the piece ‘Premature Celebration’ which was performed by The London Sinfonietta with Evan Parker and Paul Lytton. Django also composed "Umpteenth Violin Concerto"for violinist Ernst Kovacic.
In July 2005 Django Bates was appointed Professor of Rhythmic Music at the prestigious Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark. The new professor must raise the international profile of the RMC, cultivate excellence within it, whilst further developing their own work in ways that inspire and energise. It is essential that they continue to perform internationally, thus raising the profile of the RMC.
To this end and despite economic logic saying "Don’t even think about it", Django has gathered 20 musicians to rehearse every Friday for the past eighteen months. This new band StoRMChaser have regular residency at Copenhagen Jazz House and have performed internationally at Copenhagen Jazz Festival 07 and at Jazzfest Berlin in November 2007. "Bates'elastic experiment in new, Zappa-flecked big-band writing is a variation on the theme of his old large ensemble, Loose Tubes. His new model is big yet light on its feet, anarchic and vaudevillian at times, and a new member of the progressive big-band scene which includes Vienna Art Orchestra".
Josef Woodard Jazz Times Nov 2007
In December 2007 the band was recorded by Andrew Murdock the fruit of which is Spring is Here...(shall we dance)? The last of Django’s Four Seasons, following onfrom Summer Fruits, Autumn Fires, and Winter Truce.
Django Bates is due to release a new album, by the title of Belovèd: Confirmation, which follows the success of Belovèd Bird, realeased 2 years earlier with Petter Eldh (bass) and Peter Bruun (drums).
Django Bates - Discography
2) Belovèd Bird
3) Spring is Here...Shall We Dance
4) You live and learn...apparently
5) quiet nights
6) Like Life
7) Good Evening ... Here is the News
8) Winter Truce (and homes blaze)
9) Autumn Fires (and green shoots)
10) Summer Fruits (and unrest)