Coming Up In Bristol: Zoetic and Dreamers, the Loose Tubes generation still breaking new ground.

Two Bristol gigs in June have me inking in the dates in my diary, and thinking about that influential band from the eighties, Loose Tubes, still sending out ripples. The first gig, one of the series at Bristol Beacon, is Zoetic on Sunday 12th (https://bristolbeacon.org/whats-on/chris-batchelors-zoetic/). There’s an illuminating feature in London Jazz News about the band, but former Loose Tube-er, trumpet playing leader Chris Batchelor is unfailingly inventive and as likely to pop up in an Ornette Coleman free-wheeling ensemble, a deeply grooving Cuban outfit or, as Zoetic is billed, a thoughtful genre and style spanning chamber ensemble. Two other former Loose Tubes comrades are in the band, Steve Watts and John Paricelli, this is one to get to if you can. A bit of taster video here

The second gig is Mark Lockheart’s Dreamers, this one at the regular Fringe Jazz at Bristol Music Club on Wednesday June 29th (tickets here). Tenor player, also formerly of Loose Tubes, Lockheart, like Chris Batchelor has pursued a series of divergent project over a length career. The Perfect Houseplants, and Polar Bear were just two long-running and lauded bands he co-founded. He’s pursuing new avenues with Dreamers, pulling together a younger but no less exciting band, with a distinctly groove based edge. They’ve released an album on Edition Records. Taster here

The influence of Loose Tubes is woven through much of the Bristish jazz scene it seems, even if, like me, you came to the music after they’d dispersed. I reflected on this after seeing them at one of a couple of reunion gigs a few years ago, realising just how many of the former band are still enriching the scene today. A video of Loose Tubes seems to have surfaced on YouTube of them playing at the Bath Festival in 1986, well worth a few minutes of your time. Youthful versions Mark Lockheart and Chris Batchelor are there of course!

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