Django Bates (born October 2, 1960 in Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom) is a composer, virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and band leader. He plays the piano, keyboards and the tenor horn.
Django Bates attended Sedgehill Secondary School. Whilst at this school, he also attended the Centre for Young Musicians in London (1971–77) where he learned trumpet, piano, and violin. In 1977-78 he studied at Morley College. He then went to the Royal College of Music but left after only two weeks. There were notices on the pianos reading "Not to be used for the playing of Jazz music."
He was awarded a fellowship by the Leeds College of Music in 1995.
In 2002, he was a tutor at the renowned Banff Centre jazz programme alongside Jim Black and Dave Douglas.
In July 2005 Django Bates was appointed Professor of Rhythmic Music at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory (RMC) in Copenhagen. The new professor's role is to raise the international profile of the RMC, cultivate excellence within it, whilst further developing their own work in ways that inspire and energise.
You Live and Learn...(Apparently) (2003) Lost Marble Records 001YLA
Quiet Nights (1998) Screwgun NY 70007
Like Life (1997) STCD 4221
Good Evening...Here is the News (1995) ARGO 452099-2
Winter Truce (and Homes Blaze) (1995) JMT 514 023-2
Autumn Fruits (and Green Shoots) (1994)
Summer Fruits (and Unrest) (1993) JMT 514 008-2
Music for The Third Policeman (1990) AhUm CD 003
Cashin' In (1988) Editions EG EEGCD 57
Human Chain (1986) AH-UM 002 Albums as a leader
Debates (2005) Søren Nørbo Trio
All Men Amen (1999) Iain Ballamy, B&W Records BW065
Escapade (1999) Julian Argüelles, PVC 1019
Colours (1997) Bendik Hofseth, Verve 537 627 2
Heavenly Bodies (1997) Earthworks, Virgin Records Ltd., CDVE 934
Skull View - (1997) Julian Argüelles, Babel BDV 9719
Play the music of Jimi Hendrix (1994) Christy Doran, any/vBr 2134 2)
Stamping Ground (1994) Earthworks, Virgin Records Ltd, Carol 1893-2
Nice View (1994) Tim Berne's Caos Totale
Little Motor People (1993) Hank Roberts (to be rereleased on Winter & Winter)
Exile (1993) Sidsel Endresen, ECM 1524
Spirits Rejoice (1992) The Dedication Orchestra, Ogun OGCD101
Balloon Man (1992) Iain Ballamy, Editions [[E.G. Records, EGCD 63
All Heaven Broke Loose (1991) Earthworks, Editions E.G. Records, EEG 2103-2
So I Write (1990) Sidsel Endresen, ECM 1408
Cantilena (1989) First House, ECM 1393
Dig? (1989) Earthworks, Editions E.G. Records, , EEGCD 60
Open Letter 1988 Loose Tubes Editions E.G. Records, EGECD 55
Earthworks (1987) Earthworks, Editions E.G. Records Ltd EEGCD 48
Delightful Precipice 1986 Loose Tubes, Loose Tubes LTLP 003
Erendira (1985) First House, ECM 1307
English People 1983 Tim Whitehead's Borderline, Spotlite SPJ523
Life in Bracknell and Willisau 1983 Dudu Pukwana, JikaRecords ZL2 Albums as a sideman
Bowie, Big Bands, Rap - Django Bates thinks outside the box, The Times, 23rd July 2004.
Django Bates does all the wrong things, at the right time. You're in for a surprise, says John Fordham: CD OF THE WEEK: Django Bates "You Live and Learn (Apparently)" (Lost Marble) 4/5 stars. The Guardian 25th June 2004
The shape of jazz just come. Review of "You Live and Learn (Apparently)", The Economist, 16th December 2004.
In Praise of Django Bates Review of "You Live and Learn (Apparently)", Downbeat
Django Bates, You Live and Learn (Apparently) The Guardian, 25th June 2004
Review of Winter Truce (And Homes Blaze) Reviews of recorded work
Soren Norbo/ Django Bates at the Vortex. The Guardian, 8th February 2007.
Berne/Bates/Parker at the Vortex. The Guardian, 22nd December 2006.
Django Bates' Bird Tableau - Vortex Jazz Club. Financial Times, 31st August 2006.
FuseLeeds launches with a night of surprises. Django Bates / London Sinfonietta including "Umpteenth Violin Concerto" and "Premature Celebration for Evan Parker". The Guardian, 5th March 2004.
Django Bates goes back to school: Django Bates/ Guildhall Jazz Band Guildhall School of Music, London. 3/5 stars. The Guardian, 8th December 2003.
Django Bates breaks all the rules - Cheltenham Jazz Festival. 4/5 stars. The Guardian, 7th May 2002.
A musical cocktail of incredible diversity. Bates, John Taylor (jazz) and John Surman at The Space. The Independent 27th March 1999.
Django Bates / Quiet Nights, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester Evening News 18/11/1998.
Django's got a new keyboard. Independent On Sunday 30th November 1997.
Django Bates' Delightful Precipice, McEwan's Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, The Herald 7th July 1997.
Good Evening... Here Is the News, Sunday Times 11th August 1996.
Human Chain at Hackney Empire The Guardian, 27th July 1995.
Winter Truce (And Homes Blaze), The Guardian 2nd June 1995.
Winter Truce (And Homes Blaze), The Globe and Mail 2nd September 1995.
Summer Fruits (and Unrest), Down Beat 1st October 1995.
Gang of Three / Human Chain at the ICA, London, The Times 7th April 1988. Reviews of live work
Investing in Human Happiness. Jazz UK, January 2007
Preview: Django Bates on Tour with Soren Norbo Trio. The Guardian, 3rd February 2007
100 most talented young people in Britain. Tatler magazine 1999.
Re Bates, J. Fordham: Jazz UK, no.25 1999, 8.
Catalytic Subverter, J. Fordham: Jazz Express, no.214 1998, 28.
Jazz - Django's got a new keyboard, Independent On Sunday, 30th November 1997.
Young Jazz Musicians 1997 The London Studios, The Guardian, 10th September 1997.
Balanced on a precipice, feature from The Herald, 4th July 1997.
Get Rid of the Goatee, The Guardian, 25th July 1997.
Briton wins Danish jazz award - Jazzpar Prize, The Times. 4th October 1996.
British Jazz Musician Wins Top International Award, The Guardian. 4th October 1996.
Interview mit Django Bates, H. Haubold: Neue Musikzeitung, xliii (1994), Oct–Nov, 38.
Delightful Precipice - Jazz, Financial Times. 22nd October 1993.
Turned Loose to Play Around, J. Fordham: The Guardian. 15th October 1993.
Django Bates: Big Band Dreamer, W. Montgomery: Wire, no.116 1993, 16.
Django Bates, H. J. Schaal: JP, xlii/11 1993, 14.
Big Band Piano: We're not in Kansas City any More, B. McCullough: Keyboard, xv/11 1989, 76.
Synthesize, improvise, satirise; Jazz, The Times. 10th September 988.
Worldview: England's Django Bates: Multi-striped Keyboardist who Escapes behind a Horn, Freff: Keyboard, xiii/12 1987, 22.
Django Bates: the Brilliant Spark. R. Cook: The Wire, no.32 1986, 27.
Simply prodigious talent, The Times. 2nd December 1985. Articles
"Play Your Own Thing: A Story of Jazz in Europe". Documentary directed by Julian Benedict.
"Jazz Britannia Live at the Barbican". Solo piano performance of Freely. BBC FOUR 12/02/2005
"Jazz Britannia" Contributor. BBC FOUR.
"Here's a piano I prepared earlier: Experimental music in the 1960s". Contributor. BBC FOUR.
"Sound on Film: One in a Million." A surreal narrative by composer Django Bates and director Terry Braun. A young composer and her daughter try to select winning lottery numbers. BBC TWO 07/01/1997
"Strings, Bows and Bellows". Joanna, Django Bates & Rolf Hind perform Django's "Tentle Morments" on three pianos. BBC TWO 13/05/1995
"Sounds Different: Music Out of Time". Ian Carr & his band "Nucleus" are seen during a two day workshop with young musicians. Participants are Guy Barker, Django Bates, Steve Berry, Neil Sitwell, Steve Sitwell, David Trigwell, Glen Vallint & Chris White. BBC TWO 28th November 1980
Loose Tubes at Bath International Festival May 1986, and in Green Park Station. BBC TWO 3rd January 1987
"Celebration: Loose Tubes". Documentary. The 21-piece jazz orchestra its first national tour. The musicians are shown conducting a jazz 'workshop' in Sheffield, as well as performing. Directed by Christopher Swann. Produced by Granada Television. Channel Four, January 1987. Radio
"the brain of classical music with the groin of jazz"
"When I'm not writing or rehearsing my own music, I tend to find other ways of filling that time than listening to music I already know," 2005
"My earliest memory of performing was a James Taylor composition, from a Stephane Grappelli album I noticed my dad liked. It was quite simple, so I worked it out. Every time he walked into the room I would play it to see if I could get him to pay me any attention. A sad little aim, but it was probably the whole cause of me becoming a musician." 2005
"Being outside the establishment has always seemed important to me. There are always promoters and producers who want to meddle with your music . . . More and more I find myself wanting to speak up about these things. Ah, the wonderful smell of burning bridges!" 2005
"England at the moment is a cause for concern. It is a difficult place to be, artistically. But I'm not going to whinge about it. To go to another country - have the opportunity to carry on what I want to do, but in a helpful environment - means that hopefully I can come back and help this situation. Ironic, isn't it, but the only way I might be able to play a proper gig in London is if I get money from the Danish government." 2005
"I know what I want to do with an improvising band; I've been really strict about getting what I want, not accepting long stretches of music that I'm not remotely in control about, jams; I'm not interested in that. I want there to be special character to each piece and the only way you can get that is to define the roles quite clearly of the different musicians. But they still have massive input. I write certain basslines because I know that Michael Mondesir can play them. I also know that he can turn them into his own. I really like playing with that. It's the same with Iain (Ballamy). I write very specific lines for him, and that's good because they're not things that a saxophonist would naturally go for. They're probably very tricky but they're what I want to hear. I just make sure I leave him space to be Iain Ballamy, which is what he's fantastic at. Martin France - again I give him quite detailed percussion parts, but I know that he's always going to add more to what I write." 2005
"The arts improve everyone's quality of life, so invest in them with pride. Lose the snobbery that places some genres on a false pedestal: invest fairly in our huge range of artistic talent. While arts education programmes proliferate, there are fewer and fewer places for graduating musicians, dancers and actors to perform. Support centres of excellence like Gateshead's Sage, but let's not forget smaller, creative venues. Protect these from speculators, and rescue those promoters who struggle to present well-crafted, cutting-edge new work on a local level. This policy won't generate financial profit, but will create confident, self-respecting communities and will enrich this country infinitely." 2005
"Being outside the establishment has always seemed important to me. Not just because I'm an awkward git, but because creatively it's where you have to be." 2005
"Evan [Parker] is the proof that during shallow times, musicians can still exist on their own terms." 2004
"And now there's this issue, about Wynton Marsalis's view of jazz - that it's not to be taken lightly, or experimented with. I think that's very negative and very sad." 2000
"Being a musician is incompatible with self-importance because it is surreal in itself. Selling vibrations in the air. What's more surreal than that?"
"Oh, you've heard of jazz."