8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2012
I never got to see Loose Tubes live, and I've been kicking myself for that oversight for more than twenty years. The release of this live album (and its equally wonderful predecessor, `Dancing on Frith Street') goes some way towards making up for my loss. It captures them in all their exuberance and swagger, but what perhaps strikes me most forcefully is their discipline and sense of form. There's no self-indulgence here, quite an achievement with such a big Big Band; the temptation to sprawl must have been almost irresistible, but resist it they did. Consequently the pieces are almost all fairly short, only one breaking the seven minute mark, and what they lose in extended solo space they gain in tight, focused compositions and arrangements. Loose Tubes was, in addition to all the other things it was, a composers' band, and luckily they had some great composers, chiefly Bates, of course, but others too (in particular Eddie Parker's reputation must be enhanced by this release).
If this makes the album sound dry and formal I'm doing a terrible job of describing it. It's fun! It's got great tunes, foot-tapping rhythms (though they're rarely allowed to settle in for too long before being subverted), humour, tenderness, and an astonishing range of tone colours.
Having claimed brevity as a virtue, I'm now going to contradict myself and say that the only criticism I can make is that the album's rather short, just 48 minutes. Are there no other tunes in the vaults that could have been included? And the size of the band means that some great musicians don't get to solo - we don't hear two of my favourite saxophonists, Iain Ballamy and Mark Lockheart, for example.
Loose Tubes were a great band, and this release confirms that fact. Can we look forward to their three studio albums receiving a proper release on CD?
And they all look so heartbreakingly young (and 80s) in the accompanying photos.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2012
Another splendid trawl of whatever archive exists of Loose Tubes terrific live performances, 'Säd Afrika' is the sequel to 'Dancing on Frith Street', issued in 2010. All the same superlatives apply to this set. Who knows the 3 studio albums could be lined up for reissue, but great as that would be, in a way this is better - Loose Tubes was always stunning live, an unforgettable experience. This puts you there - again!
on 2 July 2012
Reading some of the other reviews on here makes me realise how lucky I was to see Loose Tubes in concert twice, and how lucky I am to still have those first 3 studio albums, although like the other contributors I'd like to re-purchase them on CD. But this CD, together with Dancing on Frith Street, are wonderful additions to the Tubes legacy. All the hallmarks are here, striking melodies which veer into apparently chaotic improvisations over foot-tapping riffs. And the reverse, where the cacophony resolves itself into beauty. Stellar musicians at the top of their game. Great fun and great music.
on 26 June 2012
I remember hearing these sounds at Ronnie's.
The joy, exhilaration, sheer musicianship, improvisational dynamics,
almost unmatched. Anywhere.
Influences abound, comparisons are inevitable, Bley, Nelson,
Dankworth, Dolphy, but Django Bates and his glorious crew of
inventive and stunning musicians show where it's at.