Loose Tubes - Dancing on Frith StreetFor several generations of jazz listeners, the release of Dancing on
Frith Street will be cause for celebration. Recorded live at Ronnie
Scottís in September 1990, in the days before Loose Tubes broke up, the
album has never before seen the light of day. Bursting with energy,
invention and fun, the music is highly danceable. It balances tight
arrangements and fiery solos with the bandís quirky sense of humour.
the years since they split up, Loose Tubes have acquired mythical
status for those who remember them or have only heard of their exploits
by word of mouth. Between 1985 and 1988, they released three
studio-recorded albums on vinyl, long since unavailable. The limited
availability of those recordings only enhanced the bandís reputation.
Dancing on Frith Street will surely enhance it further still.
the 23-piece band on top form, it clearly demonstrates why they were
such a popular live attraction. With 18 wind instruments plus a
five-piece rhythm section, their emphasis was always on exuberant
blowing. As on their 80s releases, there are no cover versions here; the
compositions and arrangements all originated within the band. Taking
their inspiration and rhythms from far and wide Ė including ska, South
African township jazz, New Orleans second-lining and beyond Ė they
created their own distinctive blend.
The root of the bandís
success lay in the number of fine players, writers and arrangers
included in its ranks, many of whom have gone on to greater things since
1990. Saxophonist Iain Ballamy, trumpeter Chris Batchelor, keyboardist
Django Bates, flautist Eddie Parker and guitarist John Parricelli
represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Despite its vintage,
Dancing on Frith Street still sounds remarkably fresh and contemporary.
That is fitting as the music and attitude of Loose Tubes have been very
influential on many current bands, notably those from the F-IRE and Loop
To follow up its release, letís hope that the three
original Loose Tubes albums are soon made readily available on CD. Until
they are, this delightful album will do very nicely, thank you.
--John Eyles BBChttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/5j3q