|Birth name||Leon Bates|
|Born||2 October 1960|
Beckenham, Kent, England
|Genres||Jazz, jazz fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, educator|
|Instrument(s)||Piano, keyboards, tenor horn|
|Labels||EG, ECM, Lost Marble, Screwgun, JMT|
Django Bates (born Leon Bates, 2 October 1960) is a British composer, multi-instrumentalist, band leader and educator. He plays the piano, keyboards and the tenor horn and writes large-scale compositions on commission. He has been described as "One of the most talented musicians Britain has produced, and his work covers the entire spectrum of jazz, from early jazz through to bebop and free jazz to jazz-rock fusion."
Bates was born in Beckenham, Kent, England, and attended Sedgehill School. While 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. In 1978, he enrolled at the Royal College of Music to study composition but left after two weeks.
As jazz musician
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 the 19-piece jazz orchestra Delightful Precipice. He also assembled 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 or member of Dudu Pukwana's Zila, Tim Whitehead's Borderline, Ken Stubbs's First House, Bill Bruford's Earthworks, Sidsel Endresen, and in the bands of George Russell and George Gruntz. He has performed with Michael Brecker, Tim Berne, Christian Jarvi, Vince Mendoza, David Sanborn, Kate Rusby, and Don Alias.
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 (Globe Theatre). They also worked on a short film You Can Run. Other theatre work includes Gregory Doran's production of As You Like It (RSC), and Campbell Graham's Out There!.
He 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 of Radiohead. Django also commissioned sixty composers including Laurie Anderson, Gavin Bryars, 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 Parker's 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 program alongside Jim Black and Dave Douglas. In July 2005 he was appointed 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. In September 2011 Django Bates was appointed Professor of Jazz at HKB Bern Switzerland.
Awards and honours
The Ivor’s Jazz Award, 2019 
An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.
|1986||Human Chain||With Steve Argüelles (drums, percussion)|
|1987||Cashin' In||EG||As Human Chain; most tracks trio, with Steve Argüelles (drums), Stuart Hall (strings, piccolo); one track quartet, with Steve Buckley (penny whistle) added|
|1990||Music for The Third Policeman||Ah Um||With Steve Buckley (tin whistle, alto sax, clarinet, bicycle bell), Steve Berry (cello, double bass), Martin France (drums, percussion), Stuart Hall (banjo, violin, guitar, mandolin), Sarah Harrison (violin, hooter), Robert Juritz (bassoon), Dai Pritchard (clarinet, bass clarinet); Eddie Parker (bass flute), Dave Pattman (bongos), Ashley Slater (bass trombone) are added on one or two tracks each. Live performance from 2000 on YouTube:|
|1993||Summer Fruits (and Unrest)||JMT||With Eddie Parker (flute, bass flute), Sarah Homer (clarinet, bass clarinet), Iain Ballamy and Steve Buckley (soprano sax, alto sax), Mark Lockheart and Barak Schmool (tenor sax), Julian Argüelles (baritone sax), Sid Gauld (high trumpet), Chris Batchelor (soloing trumpet), David Laurence (French horn), Roland Bates (trombone), Richard Henry (bass trombone), Sarah Waterhouse (tuba), Steve Watts (acoustic bass), Mike Mondesir (electric bass), Stuart Hall (electric guitar, violin, lap steel, banjo), Martin France (drums), Thebe Lipare (percussion)|
|1994||Autumn Fires (and Green Shoots)||JMT||Solo piano|
|1995||Winter Truce (and Homes Blaze)||JMT||With Eddie Parker (flute, bass flute), Iain Ballamy (soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax), Steve Buckley (soprano sax, alto sax, tin whistle), Mark Lockheart (tenor sax, clarinet), Barak Schmool (tenor sax, piccolo), Julian Argüelles (soprano sax, baritone sax), Sid Gauld and Chris Batchelor (trumpet), David Laurence (French horn), Roland Bates (trombone), Richard Henry (bass trombone), Sarah Waterhouse (tuba), Mike Mondesir (electric bass), Stuart Hall (guitar, violin, banjo), Martin France (drums, percussion), Christine Tobin (vocals)|
|1995*||Good Evening...Here Is the News||Decca/Argo|
|1997||Like Life||Storyville||With the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra and others|
|1998||Quiet Nights||Screwgun||With Iain Ballamy (sax, harmonica), Josefine Cronholm (vocals, Tibetan bells), Mike Mondesir (bass), Martin France (drums, percussion)|
|2003||You Live and Learn...(Apparently)||Lost Marble||With Iain Ballamy (tenor sax), Chris Batchelor (trumpet), Josefine Lindstrand (bells, vocals), Deirdre Cooper (cello), Nic Pendlebury (viola), Charles Mutter and Ian Humphries (violin), Mike Mondesir (bass, vocals), Martin France (drums, percussion); David Sanborn (alto sax), Jim Mullen (guitar), Laurence Cottle (bass), Barak Schmool (percussion) added on one track each|
|2008*||Spring Is Here (Shall We Dance?)||Lost Marble||With 19-piece band|
|2008–09||Beloved Bird||Lost Marble||Trio, with Petter Eldh (bass), Peter Bruun (drums)|
|2011||Confirmation||Lost Marble||Most tracks trio, with Petter Eldh (bass), Peter Bruun (drums); some tracks quartet, with Ashley Slater (vocals) added|
|2016||The Study of Touch||ECM||Trio, with Petter Eldh (bass), Peter Bruun (drums)|
|2017||Saluting Sgt. Pepper||Edition||With the Frankfurt Radio Big Band|
|2020||Tenacity||Lost Marble||Trio, with Petter Eldh (bass), Peter Bruun (drums)|
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
- Earthworks (1987)
- Dig? (1989)
- All Heaven Broke Loose (1991)
- Stamping Ground (1994)
- Heavenly Bodies (1997)
With Iain Ballamy
With Tim Berne's Caos Totale
- Nice View (JMT, 1994)
With Anouar Brahem
- Blue Maqams (ECM, 2017)
With Sidsel Endresen
- So I Write (1990)
- Exile (1993)
With Julian Argüelles
- Skull View (1997)
- Escapade (1999)
- Dudu Pukwana – Life in Bracknell and Willisau (1983)
- Tim Whitehead's Borderline – English People (1983)
- Dudu Pukwana – Zila '86 (1986)
- Social Systems – Research (1987)
- The Dedication Orchestra – Spirits Rejoice (1992)
- Hank Roberts – Little Motor People (JMT, 1993)
- Christy Doran – Play the music of Jimi Hendrix (1994)
- Harry Beckett – Bates plays piano on song: 'Les Jardins du Casino' – Les Jardins du Casino (1995), Maxine (2010)
- Michael Gibbs — Big Music (ACT, 1996)
- Bendik Hofseth – Colours (1997)
- Søren Nørbo Trio – Debates (2005)
- Marius Neset – Golden XPlosion (2011)
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 189/190. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
- Vande Kappelle, Robert P. (7 April 2011). Blue Notes: Profiles of Jazz Personalities. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-61097-283-3.
- Thackray, Rachelle (1 April 2001). "Delightful Precipice". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Carr, Ian; Fairweather, Digby; Priestley, Brian (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz. Rough Guides. pp. 79–. ISBN 978-1-84353-256-9.
- Price, Neil (16 January 2008). "Django Bates celebrates Bird's birthday". Jazzwise. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Chilton, John (21 June 2004). Who's Who of British Jazz: 2nd Edition. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8264-7234-2.
- "TIM WHITEHEAD". Timwhitehead.co.uk. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "First House". ECM Records. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Kelman, John (23 April 2005). "Bill Bruford's Earthworks: Earthworks & Dig?". All About Jazz. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Church, Michael (29 April 1996). "Home on the Range". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Craine, Debra; Mackrell, Judith (19 August 2010). The Oxford Dictionary of Dance. OUP Oxford. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-19-956344-9.
- Church, Michael (28 October 1996). "The Return of Django". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- "History of Jazz at Banff Centre". Banffcentre.ca. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- May, Chris (14 July 2008). "Django Bates: Spring Is Here (A Long Time Coming But Worth The Wait)". All About Jazz. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- "New Appointments". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "British Composer Awards biography". Britishcomposerawards.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "The Ivors Jazz Award Archives".
- "OCTLL. DJANGO BATES. The Third Policeman". YouTube. Archived from the original on 17 December 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
- "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) All About Jazz
- Official website
- short film portrait on Django Bates and his work with ECM Records, shot in his home in Bern in 2020
- Django Bates and David Okumu interviewed by John Fordham, The Guardian, 4 February 2005
- Django Bates interviewed by Pascal Wyse , The Guardian, 2 December 2005
- "Preview: Django Bates on Tour with Soren Norbo Trio"
- JazzPar Prize 1997
- Django Bates's nomination for the PRS New Music Award
- Django Bates on Spotify playlist