‘Loose Tubes’ is simply the best thing that could have happened to me in 1988. I was in Brighton, and although the local jazz club was very supportive, I felt distanced from the ‘scene’. I got a call from the very special Iain Ballamy, asking me to come up and rehearse at Billy Jenkins’ ‘Wood Wharf Studios’ in Greenwich, my stomping ground from school years, and where I’d first encountered Bobby Wellins at Greenwich Theatre Bar, and sat in regularly with Dudu Pukwana’s ‘Zila’. Tim Whitehead was leaving the band and I was asked to come on European tours and play a US and many UK gigs, including Ronnie Scott’s, until the band’s demise in 1991.
Django and Iain’s music – alongside Mick Hutton and Steve Arguelles – was part of my principal influence since the early 80s. No superlatives need using here if you’ve ever seen the ‘Loose Tubes’ or know the music of its members. Many of these musicians were to become great friends and my compadres in other bands: Ed Parker’s ‘Mr. Vertigo’, Mark Lockhart’s ‘Moving Air’, my own ‘Heavy Plant Crossing’ with John Paricelli and Chris Batchelor, outings with Dave Defries - leading to playing with Chris McGregor before his death, and ‘Brotherhood of Breath’ since.
These people are also great musical influences – their sound world being every bit as much a part of my music as Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter or Miles Davis.