proved to be the perfect combination, with two of Britain's finest
modern combos joining forces for an evening of muscular, unpretentious
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.
was his idea to fuse them together for Cheltenham's International
Jazz Festival, producing a "small" big band, dubbed Earthworks
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.
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.
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.
felt about as comfortable as Buddy would have done touring with
King Crimson", he joked.
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.
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.
Bruford and Tim Garland have now become regular visitors to the
Festival. Let's hope they come back to Cheltenham again next year.
by Spencer Evans
about Gloucestershire festivals