The Study of Touch

The Study of Touch cover
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Django Bates' Beloved
The Study of Touch

[ ECM / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 1 December 2017

British pianist Django Bates returns to ECM with one of his very finest constellations, the trio Belovèd, with Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun, and an aptly named album, The Study of Touch. All three musicians are highly individual players, subtly challenging the conventions of the jazz piano trio. The group came together a decade ago when Bates was teaching at Copenhagen's Rhythmic Music Conservatory. The shared work has included inspired reconstructions of pieces associated with Charlie Parker - a formative influence for both Bates and bassist Eldh - and in this new album, Parker's tune "Passport" is set amid Django originals, and played with respect, contemporary sensibility and joy. Some of Django's own tunes here - such as "Senza Bitterness", "Sadness All The Way Down" and "We Are Not Lost, We Are Simply Finding Our Way" have become core pieces in Belovèd's repertoire, continually remodeled by this trio of improvisers. Bates' composing and arranging skills are much in evidence, along with his freewheeling, free-flowing virtuosic melodic sense. The terse, percussive edge of Petter Eldh's bass provides momentum and drummer Peter Bruun details the music with an almost painterly touch. In the crowded world of the piano trio, Belovèd has developed a sound all its own. The Study of Touch was recorded at Oslo's Rainbow Studio in June 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

"Over time, gifted player/composers sometimes sideline the first skill in favour of the second - but not Django Bates. He shines still more brightly as a piano improviser in his 50s, as he confirms on this ECM debut of the Belovèd trio he originally formed to play Charlie Parker's music. The boppish Passport is the only Parker tune here, all the others are the leader's. Often unfamiliarly tender and contemplative by Bates's wayward standards, the session continues to foreground this close-knit threesome's fondness for letting spontaneous ideas go where they will, rather than sustaining one dominant mood. The mixed-tempo dance of Giorgiantics is full of one-touch dialogues with bassist Petter Eldh and drummer Peter Bruun; We Are Not Lost, We Are Simply Finding Our Way imparts jolting Batesian disruptions to a sometimes Bill Evans-like grace; Peonies As Promised suggests a Broadway standard in its lilting unison piano/bass theme, but nobody but Django Bates in its impulsive scurries toward resolutions. A session by a master improvising composer, and in ideal company." (John Fordham, The Guardian)


1 Sadness All The Way Down
2 Giorgiantics
3 Little Petherick
4 Senza Bitterness
5 We Are Not Lost, We Are Simply Finding Our Way
6 This World
7 The Study Of Touch
8 Passport
9 Slippage Street
10 Peonies As Promised
11 Happiness All The Way Up