mon 22/07/2024

CD: Loose Tubes - Arriving | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Loose Tubes - Arriving

CD: Loose Tubes - Arriving

A magisterial, skip-proof collection that delivers a powerful emotional jolt

Transporting, joyous, incandescent: Loose Tubes

Playing that exudes a real joie de vivre, compositions that unfailingly get the synapses firing, fearless soloing, and a textural density and rhythmic punch that deliver a powerful emotional jolt.

It's rare to hear music-making of this calibre, which is why this final piece of the magisterial Loose Tubes triptych  following Dancing on Frith Street (2010) and Säd Afrika (2012) from the same valedictory residency at Ronnie Scott's in September 1990 – is to be given the warmest of welcomes.

The skip-proof collection opens with the circling riffs of “Armchair March”, one of four tunes penned by keyboard player and album co-producer, Django Bates. If the funky vamp of flautist Eddie Parker's “Children's Game” showcases the band's grooving pocket, the potent soloing from clarinettist Dai Pritchard in fellow trumpeter Chris Batchelor's “The Wolf's Dream and the Wild Eye” highlights the individual brilliance of the band members. Introduced by starkly beautiful, overlapping chords that slowly bleed into one another, trombonist John Harborne's pithily titled “A” reminds you that the Tubes aren't just about grabbing you by the lapels. The block-like contrasts and chattering repetitions of “Nights at the Circus” and the gripping journey of “Eden Express”, both courtesy of Bates, elicit incandescent performances from the band.

Taken from last year's celebratory return to Ronnie Scott's, and especially commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary, the final trio of tracks provide the deliciously tasty icing on the cake. Bates's transporting, self-referential “As I Was Saying...” sees the band reach ever greater heights of contrapuntal dexterity, while Eddie Parker's labyrinthine “Bright Smoke, Cold Fire” perfectly encapsulates the group's joyous polystylism. Featuring an obsessive pedal note that chimes throughout, Chris Batchelor's sorrowing waltz "Creeper" illustrates the Tubes' spectacular dynamic range, as its huge, blazing climax gently fades into nothingness.

Overleaf: watch Loose Tubes perform "Children's Game" at Ronnie Scott's

The block-like contrasts and chattering repetitions of 'Nights at the Circus' and the gripping journey of 'Eden Express' elicit incandescent performances from the band


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article


See Loose Tubes Live at Hertfordshire Jazz Festival 18th September 2015 23rd to 26th September 2015 Loose Tubes at Ronnie Scotts

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters