Django Bates

Django Bates

born on 2/10/1960 in Beckenham, London, United Kingdom

Django Bates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Django Bates

Django Bates (born 2 October 1960), is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and band leader. He plays the piano, keyboards and the tenor horn. He writes large-scale compositions on commission.

Early life

Bates was born in Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom, and attended Sedgehill Secondary School. While at this school, he also attended the Centre for Young Musicians in London (197177), where he learned trumpet, piano, and violin. In 1977-78 he studied at Morley College.

As jazz musician

In 1979, Bates founded Human Chain in 1979 and in the 1980s, he rose to prominence in a jazz orchestra called Loose Tubes.

In 1991, he started his own 19-piece jazz orchestra Delightful Precipice. He also put together the Powder Room Collapse Orchestra (which recorded Music for The Third Policeman), and created Circus Umbilicus, a musical circus show.

Bates has appeared as a sideman as a member of Dudu Pukwana's Zila, Tim Whitehead's Borderline, Ken Stubbs' First House, Bill Bruford's Earthworks, Sidsel Endresen and in the bands of George Russell and George Gruntz. He has performed alongside Michael Brecker, Tim Berne, Christian Jarvi, Vince Mendoza, David Sanborn, Kate Rusby and Don Alias.


As leader

  • Human Chain (1986)
  • Cashin' In (1988)
  • Music for The Third Policeman (1990)
  • Summer Fruits (and Unrest) (1993)
  • Autumn Fires (and Green Shoots) (1994)
  • Winter Truce (and Homes Blaze) (1995)
  • Good Evening...Here is the News (1995)
  • Like Life (1997)
  • Quiet Nights (1998)
  • You Live and Learn...(Apparently) (2004)
  • Spring is Here (Shall we Dance?) (2008)
  • Beloved Bird (2010)
  • Confirmation (2012)

As sideman

With Loose Tubes

  • Loose Tubes (1985)
  • Delightful Precipice (1986)
  • Open Letter (1988)
  • Dancing On Frith Street (recorded live 1990) (2010)
  • Säd Afrika (recorded live 1990) (2012)

With Billy Jenkins

  • Greenwich (1985)
  • Uncommerciality Vol 1 (1986)
  • Scratches of Spain (1987)

With First House

  • Erendira (1985)
  • Cantilena (1989)

With Bill Bruford's Earthworks

  • Earthworks (1987)
  • Dig? (1989)
  • All Heaven Broke Loose (1991)
  • Stamping Ground (1994)
  • Heavenly Bodies (1997)

With Iain Ballamy

  • Balloon Man (1989)
  • All Men Amen (1995)

With Sidsel Endresen

  • So I Write (1990)
  • Exile (1993)

With Julian Argüelles

  • Skull View (1997)
  • Escapade (1999)

With others

  • Dudu Pukwana - Life in Bracknell and Willisau (1983)
  • Tim Whiteheads Borderline - English People (1983)
  • Social Systems - Research (1987)
  • The Dedication Orchestra - Spirits Rejoice (1992)
  • Hank Roberts - Little Motor People (1993)
  • Tim Berne's Caos Totale - Nice View (1994)
  • Christy Doran - Play the music of Jimi Hendrix (1994)
  • Harry Beckett - D.B. plays piano on song: 'Les Jardins du Casino' - Les Jardins du Casino (1995), Maxine (2010)
  • Bendik Hofseth - Colours (1997)
  • Søren Nørbo Trio - Debates (2005)
  • Marius Neset - Golden XPlosion (2011)

As composer

In recent years, Bates has concentrated on writing large scale compositions on commission. These include:

  • "Dream Kitchen" for percussionist Evelyn Glennie
  • "Fine Frenzy" for the Shobhana Jeyasingh Dance Company
  • "What It's Like to be Alive", a piano concerto for Joanna MacGregor and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • "2000 Years Beyond UNDO", a concerto for electric keyboard which was performed at the millennium Barbican Festival

Bates worked closely with director Lucy Bailey on several theatre projects, including Gobbledegook for The Gogmagogs, Baby Doll, (Birmingham Rep, National Theatre, Albery Theatre), Stairs to the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Postman Always Rings Twice (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Albery Theatre) and Titus Andronicus(The Globe Theatre). They also worked on a short film You Can Run. Other theatre work includes Greg Dorans production of As You Like It (RSC), and Campbell Grahams Out There!.

Batess was the inaugural Artistic Director of the music festival FuseLeeds in 2004. He used this opportunity to initiate the first orchestral commission for Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead). Django also commissioned sixty composers including Laurie Anderson, Gavin Bryars, Sir Patrick Moore and John Zorn, to write one bar each. He then quilted these bars into the piece "Premature Celebration", which was performed by Evan Parker and the London Sinfonietta to celebrate Evans 60th birthday.

The Wire voted Bates "Best UK Jazz Composer" in 1987 and 1990. In 1997, he won the Jazzpar Prize. In 2008, he was nominated for the PRS New Music Award. He was awarded a fellowship by the Leeds College of Music in 1995.


In 2002, he was a tutor at the Banff Centre jazz programme alongside Jim Black and Dave Douglas.

In July 2005 Bates was appointed as Professor of Rhythmic Music at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory (RMC) in Copenhagen. He was appointed visiting professor of jazz at the Royal Academy of Music in London in September 2010.[1]

In September 2011 Django Bates was appointed Professor of Jazz at HKB Bern Switzerland.

Reviews of recorded work

  • The shape of jazz just come. Review of "You Live and Learn (Apparently)", The Economist, 16 December 2004.
  • In Praise of Django Bates Review of "You Live and Learn (Apparently)", Downbeat.
  • Django Bates, You Live and Learn (Apparently) The Guardian, 25 June 2004.
  • Review of Winter Truce (And Homes Blaze).

Reviews of performances

  • Evan Parker / Django Bates at the Vortex. The Guardian, 30 January 2011.
  • Beloved Bird Trio at the Vortex. The Guardian, 14 April 2010.
  • Soren Norbo/ Django Bates at the Vortex. The Guardian, 8 February 2007.
  • Berne/Bates/Parker at the Vortex. The Guardian, 22 December 2006.
  • "FuseLeeds launches with a night of surprises". Django Bates / London Sinfonietta including "Umpteenth Violin Concerto" and "Premature Celebration for Evan Parker". The Guardian, 5 March 2004.
  • "Human Chain at Hackney Empire", The Guardian, 27 July 1995.


  1. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.. Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved on 2 October 2010.

External links

  • Django Bates' homepage
  • Django's MySpace page
  • JazzPar Prize 1997
  • Django Bates Writes Own Biography, All About Jazz, 6 December 2005
  • Django Bates interviewed by Pascal Wyse The Guardian, 2 December 2005.
  • Django Bates and David Okumu interviewed by John Fordham, 4 February 2005.
  • Django Bates biography from 1993
  • Django Bates biography at Grove
  • Django Bates' nomination for the PRS New Music Award
  • Bates interview by Ethan Iverson for BBC
  • "Investing in Human Happiness"
  • "Preview: Django Bates on Tour with Soren Norbo Trio"
  • "Django Bates: the Brilliant Spark"
This page was last modified 19.01.2014 21:06:23

This article uses material from the article Django Bates from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.