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Seminal big band reunites for special date at Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2015

Posted on 4 March 2015

Sage Gateshead is excited to welcome Loose Tubes to Gateshead International Jazz Festival (10-11 April), their only confirmed date for 2015.

Returning after a break of 24 years, Loose Tubes’ anarchic big band style features a who’s who of British jazz talent. This one-off not to be missed concert features the original line up including maverick keyboardist, Django Bates, saxophonists Mark Lockheart (Polar Bear) and Iain Ballamy (Food), trombonist/MC Ashley Slater (Freak Power) and trumpeter Chris Batchelor (Big Air).

Playing old favourites and newly commissioned works Loose Tubes will be bringing their trademark energetic and riotous take on the big band sounds to Sage One as one of the highlights of this year’s festival.

On their reunion gig last year at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, The Guardian said:
“…in the opening second of their reunion debut at Cheltenham, the 21-piece band put the hearts of anxious fans in their mouths and sprayed sparks straight through to a standing ovation”

Loose Tubes perform in Sage One at Sage Gateshead on Sunday 11 April, 2015. Tickets are £23.50 (handling fees apply/multibuy ticket offer available) and can be booked either by calling 0191 443 4661, online at or in person from Sage Gateshead’s Ticket Office. The concert will also feature saxophonist Andy Sheppard in his duo with Italian pianist Rita Marcotulli.


For further information, press and interview requests please contact Jackie Thompson, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, on 0191 443 4602 or email


The 21 piece big band line-up originated from a jazz workshop put together by the celebrated British jazz composer and educator Graham Collier in 1983. During the first few weeks of the workshop, keyboard player Django Bates and bass player Steve Berry began to introduce original music to the ensemble. They chose the name Loose Tubes and played their first London gig in 1984 at The Prince Of Orange, Rotherhithe. Django Bates, Steve Berry, Chris Batchelor and Eddie Parker were responsible for much of the music that was noted for an openness and alertness to many traditions (always mixed with a healthy dose of creative disrespect). During live concerts, trombonist Ashley Slater (later to become front man of the pop group Freak Power) acted as the band’s compère and became renowned for his sarcastic quick wit and ready repartee.

British Composer Awards 2014
Founding member and festival favourite Django Bates was last year awarded the British Composer Awards 2014. They are presented each year by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and sponsored by PRS for Music.

Further Listening
Solo work by Loose Tubes members:
Freak Power (Ashley Slater): Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out
Polar Bear (Mark Lockheart): Peepers 2010
Food (Iain Ballamy): Mercurial Balm 2012
Big Air (Chris Batchelor): Big Air 2009

Loose Tubes: Dancing on Frith Street – Lost Marble LM005
Loose Tubes: Säd Afrika – Lost Marble LM006

Interview Availability
Members of Loose Tubes, including Django Bates, Chris Batchelor, Iain Ballamy, Eddie Parker and Ashley Slater are available for interview.

View the full festival line-up.

Gateshead International Jazz Festival takes place Friday 10 – Sunday 12 April 2015. The festival is produced in association with London-based music producers Serious.