Dick’s Picks: Tasty limited edition Japanese 180g vinyl reissue of the cult Brit ’60s jazz banger that is ‘Brew’ by the Collin Bates Trio
Collin Bates Trio – who?
Details about the Collin Bates Trio are, like the record itself, difficult to come by! Here’s what we know, Collin Bates was born in Sydney, Australia in 1931 and came to Britain in 1954, learning his jazz chops as part of the trad jazz boom with clarinettist Wally Fawkes and his band ‘Troglodytes’. By ’58 he was escaping the trad jazz straitjacket and giving it a bit of swing with Bruce Turner’s hip ‘n’ happening jump band, covering Duke Ellington and Lester Young amongst others. By 1963, the Turner band was no more and Bates could be found at the London jazz joint ‘Flanagans’ – or to give it its full title ‘Flanagan’s Remarkable Dining Rooms’! By ’64, eager to move on from playing other people’s music the Collin Bates Trio was formed featuring Alan James on bass (he would also record as a member of cult summer of love hippie/psych heads ‘July’) plus drummer Bart Monaghan – and, before you could say ‘N-I-C-E’ the trio could be found playing regular dates at Flanagans.
What’s the album like?
Firstly, by the time it came to recording the album Bates was using a completely different rhythm section – now ably assisted by bassist Barry Dillon (Graham Collier, Harry Beckett) and George Melly associate drummer John Webb. The album manages to merge the contemporary ’60s modern jazz styles with a soulful, playful side. The pulsating 6/4 blues of the opener ‘Brew’ is a case in point – big, bold bass and drums help root Bate’s piano runs, which veer from the melodious to the much more sophisticated as the track progresses. The same approach is also applied when the band tackle hoary old favourites like ‘Days Of Wine & Roses’, here given a superb, syncopated shuffle from Webb’s deft brush work. Overall, the album is a sterling piece of work, and a key UK ’60s jazz long player, that is probably best known for the track ‘Bus Dance’ – however, I can’t find a clip of that on you tube, so you may just have to buy the LP!
What happened next?
Full page adverts were taken out in all the right jazz publications, but for whatever reason, the record sold poorly, hence its collect-ability now (originals can fetch £200). It would appear he stopped recording around 1974 with an appearance on friend George Melly’s ‘Hard-hearted Hannah’ long player and his death is recorded as 1991 – what happened in the intervening years is unknown…….