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Django Bates: Quiet Nights

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Here Bates, on keyboards and peckhorn, appears with his band Human Chain, including sax, lipo sax and bass harmonica player Iain Ballamy, bass gui-tarist Michael Mondesir and wood and electric drummer Michael French. They work with Swedish vocalist Josefine Cronholm, who sings mostly standards.

“And the Mermaid Laughed” is a tone poem on which all five collaborate and Bates’ “Is There Anyone Up There” contains gorgeous piano work by him and spoken narration by Cronholm. She’s a good, solid artist and sings in a straightforward manner, but her backing is anything but conventional. All sorts of unusual timbres, some created by electric instruments, and harmonies are employed around her, creating some of the more unique versions of, say, “Over the Rainbow” and “Teach Me Tonight” you’re going to hear. There are even humorous, Spike Jones-like moments here. A few nice solos are contributed to the proceedings by Bates and the Stan Getz-influenced Ballamy.