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Earthworks Underground
Tim Garland and Bill Bruford
Earthworks at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Last updated: 07 May 2004 1755 BST
line Earthworks Underground - a specially formed collaboration - came together for the 2004 Cheltenham International Jazz Festival.

More stories from the 2004 Jazz Festival:

See the Silje Nergaard picture gallery from the night MORE

Read the Jamie Cullum review MORE

See the Jamie Cullum picture gallery from the night MORE

Read the Hermeto Pascoal review MORE

See the Hermeto Pascoal picture gallery from the night MORE

Read the Courtney Pine opening night review MORE

See the Courtney Pine picture gallery from the opening night MORE

Check out the Courtney Pine interview and find out more about the man MORE

 

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It proved to be the perfect combination, with two of Britain's finest modern combos joining forces for an evening of muscular, unpretentious jazz.

The common thread was the young, inventive saxophonist, Tim Garland, who belongs to both groups. Garland fronts his own Dean Street Underground Orchestra, based at Soho's Pizza Express in London, and he's a member of Bill Bruford's Earthworks.

It was his idea to fuse them together for Cheltenham's International Jazz Festival, producing a "small" big band, dubbed Earthworks Underground.

Exciting arrangements

The ten-piece outfit worked its way through exciting, new arrangements of the Earthworks back-catalogue, spanning a period of more than fifteen years, with new scores by Tim Garland and Django Bates.

Sadly, this year Bates was conspicuous by his absence. I almost expected him to make a surprise guest appearance, as he did a couple of years ago in a previous Festival visit by Earthworks.

Big bands

Bill Bruford, former drummer with the rock bands, King Crimson and Yes, confessed to the audience that he didn't feel particularly at home with big bands. He recalled a time when he was touring with the Buddy Rich band, deputising for the great man.

"I felt about as comfortable as Buddy would have done touring with King Crimson", he joked.

If Bruford felt at all ill at ease, he was certainly hiding it extremely well. His driving, yet unobtrusive style at the drums kept the group moving at a cracking pace.

Highlights

Saxophonist Iain Ballamy also contributed a couple of scores, helping to rework some of the Earthworks classics, and a long trumpet solo by Gerard Presencer, towards the end of the concert, was another highlight.

Bill Bruford and Tim Garland have now become regular visitors to the Festival. Let's hope they come back to Cheltenham again next year.

Review by Spencer Evans

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