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Sad Afrika CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 May 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Lost Marble
  • ASIN: B007DA0RYY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,788 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Säd Afrika
  2. Exeter, King of Cities
  3. Sunny
  4. Mo Mhúirnín Bán
  5. Delightful Precipice
  6. Sosbun Brakk
  7. Sweet Williams

Product Description

Product Description

'Säd Afrika' is the sequel to Loose Tubes' acclaimed 'Dancing on Frith Street', Jazzwise's reissue / archive album of the year 2010, and delivers more tonal delights from the bands' valedictory residency in September 1990 at Soho's feted jazz institution, Ronnie Scott's. The album features seven tracks, including Eddie Parker's previously unrecorded 'Exeter, King of Cities' and is appearing here for the first time in any format.

One of the most intriguing ensembles to arrive on the British jazz scene in the 80s, Loose Tubes created music whose cultural centre freewheeled with the imagination of its cohorts. The unremitting carnival ambiance that pervades this recording could thus have as much European gypsy as Afro-Brazilian samba resonances.

They were a formidable live group whose affiliates included a London-based Canadian (bass trombonist and M.C Ashley Slater), a son of Lesotho (percussionist Thebi Lipere), a Welsh Buddhist (clarinettist Dai Pritchard), plus a gaggle of Englishmen with ideas as colourful as their mix and un-match outfits, who all went on to become the Who's Who of the British Jazz scene, including Django Bates, Iain Ballamy and John Parricell.

Personnel: Eddie Parker (flutes), Dai Pritchard (clarinets), Steve Buckley, Iain Ballamy, Mark Lockheart, Julian Nicholas, Ken Stubbs (saxophones), Lance Kelly, Chris Batchelor, Ted Emmett, Paul Edmonds, Noel Langley (trumpets), John Harborne, Steve Day, Paul Taylor, Richard Pywell, Ashley Slater (trombones), Dave Powell (tuba), Django Bates (keyboards), John Parricelli (guitar), Steve Watts (bass), Martin France (drums), Thebi Lipere (percussion)

BBC Review

In September 2010, there was justifiable celebration at the release of Dancing on Frith Street by Loose Tubes. Recorded live at their three-day farewell appearance at Ronnie Scott’s in September 1990, it captured the power and uninhibited joy of the band’s music, with its preponderance of reeds and brass. Now, Säd Afrika is a worthy sequel and companion-piece to it; recorded over the same period, it shares all of its qualities.

The album title translates as “South Africa”, and there is nothing remotely sad about the album, quite the opposite. It is dedicated to Nelson Mandela (in 1990, recently freed) and gives thanks to the many South African musical exiles who lived in London from the 60s onwards, enlivening its music scene and inspiring British musicians. The 23-piece Loose Tubes certainly owed a great debt to Brotherhood of Breath, the free-blowing London-based big band with a nucleus of South African exiles.

As ever, all of the compositions here were by band members. Five of the seven tracks are from the band’s studio albums, now sadly unavailable; often, these versions manage to trump the originals, the live context adding extra solos and excitement. The dry wit of the introductions by bass trombonist Ashley Slater also enhances the album.

Two compositions by keyboardist Django Bates, the title track and Delightful Precipice, particularly stand out. Each combines the band’s customary instrumental exuberance with vocal interludes in which all members harmonise as a chorus, to stunning effect.

Another two pieces make their recorded debut here: Exeter, King of Cities by flautist Eddie Parker and Mo Mhuirnin Ban by trumpeter Chris Batchelor. Despite the album’s South African flavour, these pieces demonstrate that the band – as players and composers – also drew inspiration from a rich variety of global influences, including Latin American rhythms, Irish jigs, big-band and other jazz, brass bands and far more, all distilled into a compellingly danceable amalgam.

The infectious atmosphere on Säd Afrika, generated by musicians and audience alike, indicates that all concerned had great fun. Luckily, it is rumoured that this may not be the last Loose Tubes release.

--David Quantick

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Customer Reviews

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You wait for 20 years with nothing - then two come along in quick succession! So after waiting so long to hear this great band, we had Dancing on Frith Street late in 2010 and now we have another live recording from the Ronnie Scott's residency that saw Loose Tubes go out on a high, in their last ever concerts.

On this CD we have 7 different tunes, many of which are unavailable anywhere else and all of which showcase the variety and unique sound of this extraordinary unit of more than 20 players, who all went on to play big parts in the British and European Jazz scene. Each track is unique in itself and highly arranged - as you would imagine for such a large ensemble - but there are also elements of improvisation and each member bringing something to the sound.

It's a Jazz big band, but unlike any other - 5 saxes, 5 trumpets, 5 trombones, tuba, flute, clarinet and a great rhythm section. If that's not enough, everybody sings in a harmonised choir and there are additional instruments like multiple penny whistles. This is the penultimate night of the Ronnie Scott's residency - in other words, the second to last gig they ever played.

First up is the title track and the whole album is dedicated to Nelson Mandela. This tune is reminiscent of South African "Township" music, which has been popularised here by artists like Abdullah Ibrahim, Dudu Pukwana etc. This tune does have a central section with that kind of shuffling beat typical of that style and it has multiple tin whistles playing the kind of simple melody you would expect - but there is so much more - dissonant horns and strange choral sounds from the band, at times it threatens to go out of control.
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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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!
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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.

Unmissable. Enjoy.


Dr.Ivan Clark
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