Good Days Beats & Pieces Big Band
Label: Efpi Records
Subgenre: Big Band
Artist: Beats & Pieces Big Band
Album including Album cover
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Info for Good Days
Think of big bands and you’re most likely to think of the halcyon days of mid-twentieth-century jazz and the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. This would infer that big band music is an obsolete format, a relic from decades of yore. Founded in 2008 and directed by conductor, composer, arranger, and producer Ben Cottrell, Beats & Pieces give the lie to that notion.
With Good Days, their long-awaited third studio album, they show once again that big band music is a living, expressive thing, more than capable of continuing development in our own times. Put simply, there are things a big band say and do that cannot otherwise be said and done, and Beats & Pieces say and do plenty here, with exhilarating immaculacy and imagination. This ensemble swings, twenty-first century style.
Good Days ranges emotionally from the funereal to the exuberant, the ecclesiastical to the profane, the pacific to the chaotic. Fleetingly, you think of Charles Mingus, Keith Tippett, Gil Evans, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra... But there’s also a post-rock undertow to many of these tracks which shows a consciousness of such contemporaries as Björk, Radiohead, or Everything Everything.
Anthony Brown, saxophones
Emily Burkhardt, saxophones
Oliver Dover, saxophones
Simon Lodge, trombone
Rich Mcveigh, trombone
Phil O’Malley, trombone
Owen Bryce, trumpet
Graham South, trumpet
Nick Walters, trumpet
Anton Hunter, guitar
Richard Jones, piano, Fender Rhodes
Stewart Wilson, bass
Finlay Panter, drums
Ben Cottrell, musical director
Beats & Pieces Big Band
are one of the most exciting and innovative acts to emerge from the North of England’s fertile jazz and improvised music scene this century. Under the direction of conductor and composer Ben Cottrell, they are at the forefront of a new generation of large jazz and improvising ensembles reimagining and reinventing big band music for the 21st century. As Cottrell says “Beats & Pieces is not your average big band, rather a band that’s big”.
There is a strong collective identity about the ensemble and a wilful DIY, almost punk spirit and energy that has evoked comparisons with groups such as Loose Tubes. Cottrell’s inspired writing is an expression of the varied musical backgrounds and activities of the band’s members, initially influenced by groups such as the now defunct Acoustic Ladyland who combine indie rock values with jazz concepts in a way that exudes energy and attitude. Other cutting edge British bands of the early 2000s have also been cited as strong influences, including Ladyland’s close musical relatives Polar Bear, Troyka and Led Bib, as well as the pioneering earlier work of composer/bandleaders such as Mike Westbrook, Mike Gibbs, and Graham Collier.
The band’s debut release, a five track EP simply titled ‘Beats & Pieces’ in 2010 was followed in 2012 by debut album ‘Big Ideas’, which cemented their growing reputation and brought them a host of new fans. Follow-up ‘All In’, released in 2015, captured the warmth, energy and vitality of the group’s live performances and earned wide critical acclaim. In 2018 Beats & Pieces marked their 10th anniversary with their debut North American tour and the release of live album and concert film ’ten’, combining brand new material with fresh takes on tracks from previous releases. In January 2023 Beats & Pieces release their long-awaited third studio album, ‘Good Days’, and return to the live stage after an enforced break across the Covid pandemic.
“[Beats & Pieces’] extraordinary achievement is to combine discipline with anarchy, and rock’n’roll energy with textures from the entire canon of big band jazz history” — Tom Robinson, BBC 6music
This album contains no booklet.