Django Bates

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Django Bates
Django Bates.jpg
Background information
Born (1960-10-02) 2 October 1960 (age 56)
Beckenham, Kent, England
Genres Jazz, fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, educator
Instruments Piano, keyboards, tenor horn
Years active 1980s–present
Labels EG, ECM, Lost Marble, Screwgun, JMT

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

Early life[edit]

Bates was born in Beckenham, Kent, and attended Sedgehill Secondary 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.

As jazz musician[edit]

Django Bates

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 composer[edit]

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

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 Doran’s production of As You Like It (RSC), and Campbell Graham’s Out There!.

Bates 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 Evan’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 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Loose Tubes

With Billy Jenkins

With First House

With Bill Bruford's Earthworks

With Iain Ballamy

With Sidsel Endresen

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

With Julian Argüelles

  • Skull View (1997)
  • Escapade (1999)

With others


  1. ^ "New Appointments". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Reviews of recorded work[edit]

Reviews of performances[edit]

External links[edit]