After working with both the experimental big band Loose Tubes and the likes of George Russell and Bill Bruford, pianist Django Bates started plying his own eclectic and dense take on jazz, with several solo outings on independent labels. This 1992 release marked the beginning of fruitful, yet somewhat brief stay at the German JMT label. In line with the controlled chaos and cerebral approach of produced by labelmates like Tim Berne, Summer Fruits ably displays Bates' mastery of both combo and big band writing on a series of layered charts, which not only take in Russell's and Gil Evans' architectonic arrangements, but free jazz and neo-bop as well; while his Human Chain group handles the combo selection, the large Delightful Precipice band work through the big band pieces. Shot full of breezy humor -- while also falling prey to the needless clutter so popular in fusion bands and jazz schools -- Summer Fruits will no doubt please fans who like their swing embedded in left field, yet logical dress.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook