Appearing on the London scene in 1984 this big (20-piece plus) band appealed to (and reflected) the new, smart young audience jazz was attracting at the time, and seemed likely to prove a considerable ‘crossover’ success. It was run as a collective, although trombonist Ashley Slater acted as ‘frontman’ and Django Bates (b. Leon Bates, 2 October 1960, Beckenham, Kent, England) emerged as a main writer for the band. Characterized by clever arrangements, technically slick soloing and an urbane stage-presence, Loose Tubes was acclaimed by many critics and created interest in jazz among sections of the public that had not previously paid the genre any attention. It spawned several other successful units, which indulged in various styles (funk, African, soca, bebop and so on), including Human Chain, Pig Head Son, Lift, the Iain Ballamy Quartet, the Steve Berry Trio, the Tim Whitehead Band, Parker Bates Stubbs and the Julian Argüelles Quartet. By the early 90s the parent group had disbanded - although reunions should never be ruled out. Slater later enjoyed commercial success collaborating with DJ Norman Cook as Freakpower.
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