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SUBJECT: OT AAJ Artist Profile: Django Bates: From Zero to Sixty in Five Days Back to Subjects
Aug 05 2013
at 7:48 AM
Coverage of Django Bates’ Norrbotten Big Band commission, from inception to first performance, today at All About Jazz. It’s not uncommon to be asked to cover a show - a world premiere, even. But to be asked to travel to LuleĆ„, Sweden - 100Km south of the Arctic Circle in late May, where they days were already 22 hours long, the sun shining and the temperatures warm - where Bates (Loose Tubes, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks) was about to start rehearsals with the renowned Norrbotten Big Band, was an opportunity too sweet to pass up. The goal? to put together a program, over the course of five days, of music adapted from his two Beloved Trio albums (2011’s Beloved Bird and 2013’s Confirmation, both on Bates’ Lost Marble imprint, paying most personal tribute to bebop progenitor Charlie Parker), as well as a newly commissioned work, "The Study of Touch," for this premiere at the first annual New Directions Music Festival. Walking into the rehearsal room for the first time, at the same time as Bates - where he was meeting 17+ musicians for the first time - was not only a chance to watch a project germinate; it was a rare opportunity to watch, first hand, a group of musicians who’d never previously worked together build complete trust, a combination of Norrbotten’s tremendous skill, the Beloved Trio’s existing language, and Bates’ warmth and wit, which allowed everyone the freedom to interpret his music as they saw fit. The result was something Bates could have only hoped for and more, by his being open to the idea that the music being presenting to this large ensemble could easily go places even he could not have envisaged in the months leading up to the date, when he took material written for trio and expanded it to capitalize on the broader colors and textures available to him. It was an enlightening, revealing week. Read about it here:
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