Thursday 18 August 2016, 8pm
For this special event saxophonist Trevor Watts connects with two long term musician friends – the amazing legendary folk violinist - Peter Knight (ex Steeleye Span) and pianist Veryan Weston. Veryan & Trevor have been working together and developing their music as an improvising duo now for many years. Likewise, Trevor has had several concerts as a duo with Peter. One such concert in 1999 was made into a duo recording - 'Reunion' and released on Hi4HeadRecs.
So here are two duos that are combined to make a trio for the first time. However, their very first encounter together as 'all three' was in a much larger group which Trevor first organised in the early eighties and was called Moiré Music. With this group material was carefully written by Trevor and carefully rehearsed by up to 14 musicians from many differing backgrounds.The music was successfully toured extensively worldwide.
Tonight's music will continue to explore three differing backgrounds and histories but with strong connections to each other. So we thank Café Oto for providing this opportunity for these three friendships to grow musically even more. Also, to explore a yet to be discovered music from the basis of spontaneously created and open improvisations.
We shall all be striving for "in the moment" playing where preconceived ideas play no part in it. This requires absolute trust in each other and support for each other, and with the friendships already spoken about we can guarantee that. This will be a very special and creative evening which will unfold for all of us together and at the same time, both musicians and audience.
Veryan Weston (born 1950) was awarded ‘Young Jazz Musician of 1979’ by the Greater London Arts Association. In the '80s, Veryan worked internationally with Lol Coxhill (with whom he made his first recordings – Ogun 525 and Random Radar), the Eddie Prévost Quartet and Trevor Watts – an innovator who, in his band Moiré Music, used a unique combination of African rhythmic structures with the European musical tradition (Arc 02).
In the '90s, collaborations with Phil Minton included the Ways duos, Songs from a Prison Diary awarded the Cornelius Cardew composition prize, a quartet performing extracts from Joyce’s Finnegans wake (with Phil, John Butcher and Roger Turner), and 4Walls with Luc Ex and Michael Vatcher. And most recently - Ways for an Orchestra commissioned by the Angelica Festival (Bologna, Italy - 2017)
Collaborations with Jon Rose on the ‘Temperament Project’ use improvisation with different acoustic keyboards and violins with selected tunings derived from science, history and the imagination. Most recent project has included Hannah Marshall with the Tuning Out Tour (EMANEM double 4141).
He also collaborated with Caroline Kraabel (EMANEM 4048), John Edwards and Mark Sanders (EMANEM 4028, 4214, and 4205), the Trio of Uncertainty with cellist Hannah Marshall and violinist Satoko Fukuda (EMANEM 4141), Luc Ex in Sol6 (Red Note 15) which included saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and Hannah Marshall in a trio called Haste. (EMANEM 5025).
‘Tessellations’ is an ongoing composition project based around research on pentatonic scales and has produced: 1. Tessellations for piano (EMANEM 4095), 2 a commissioned piece for Austrian singers - the Vociferous Choir (EMANEM 5015), 3 a string quartet, and 4 'The Make Project' – a Toronto-based project commissioned by Canadian Arts (Released – January 2018).
Peripheral excursions: Carla Bley's Escalator Over the Hill big band project, and Cobra with John Zorn in Berlin, Lindsay Cooper memorial project with Henry Cow (2014).
Veryan has worked with Trevor Watts for more than 40 years; their paths have crossed frequently because of shared musical interests particularly in rhythmic ideas. Now their music has one focus – improvisation, also a thread throughout Veryan’s work which reveals new aspects of an ever-changing musical identity depending on who he is playing with. Website with links - http://veryanweston.weebly.com/
Since the 1960's, Trevor Watts has been at the forefront of many innovations within the Jazz/World and Improvised Musical areas both as a saxophone player, percussionist and composer. The only founder member of The Spontaneous Music Ensemble still alive. He also founded Amalgam (which included Keith Rowe) and his 1980s Moire Music Group which included Veryan Weston & Peter Knight as well as Phil Minton/Pinise Saul/Lol Coxhill many more and The Drum Orchestra (1980-1997), which involved musicians mainly from Ghana (ECM 1449 CD “A Wider Embrace”). He instigated the 35 piece collaboration with the Drum Orchestra and Teatro Negro de Barlovento (Venezuela) which toured here and also in Venezuela in the 1990’s and around the World on every continent. Other prominent musicians he’s played with include Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Kent Carter, Rashied Ali, Steve Swallow, Bobby Bradford, Cyro Baptista and Stan Tracey. Currently (2016) his main involvement is one part of a long standing duo with pianist Veryan Weston. This duo have been highly acclaimed for their recordings and “live” appearances. They have toured in Brasil, USA, Canada, Australia & N Zealand together amongst many other places. They have formed a trio also with Cyro Baptista. Other important collaborations for Trevor are with Gibran Cervantes from Mexico and master Djembe player Adama Drame in Burkina Faso (W.Africa). Master Classes include Universities of Alabama and Arkansas, Leeds College of Music amongst others. Moire Music Drum Orchestra was the first group to visit Burma for around 15 years in the 1990’s and played a 2nd time there. Also in Cameroon, S Africa, Sarawak, Trinidad, Bahamas, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Botswana, the Khartoum Festival in Sudan with a large group of Sudanese musicians and so on.
Compositional commissions include the U.K. theatre production of "The Connection" by American playwright Jack Gelber (Hampstead Theatre) in 1973 directed by Michael Rudman who became director of the National Theatre in London; Welfare State Theatre and Same Sky Theatre Co. He was commissioned to write a composition by the Bracknell Jazz festival in 1984 for his Moire Music group. Watts is featured in "Jazz Brittanica" (a BBC4 film on British jazz and improvised music, 2005. A major DVD by film maker Mark French called “Hear Now” 2013. This is an interview with live performances, mainly from the Watts/Weston duo. He is featured in many other films on jazz/improv music, some for ARTE TV including filming of two visits to the Roaring Hooves Festival in Mongolia’s Gobi desert that had collaborations with Mongolian traditional musicians. Major Jazz Festival appearances include Womad, Glastonbury, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Freedom of the Plaza Festival July 4th in Washington DC, Singapore Arts Festival, Beijing & Shanghai Jazz Festivals, Berlin Jazz Fest, London Jazz Fest, Cervantino Festival, Mexico, New Zealand Festival of Arts, Wangaratta and Darling Harbour Festivals in Australia amongst very many more.2013 - Commissioned to write a composition for full choir “The Light Vessel” 2013 dedicated to the UK Light Ship communities. Three performances to date. New solo saxophone CD in 2014 called “Veracity” which has been highly acclaimed. Watts is listed in the Who’s Who in the World of Music dictionary.
Although his name for many years was synonymous with the seminal Folk-Rock Band 'Steeleye Span', Peter Knight has avoided being categorised purely as a Folk Musician due to the diversity of musical genres that he chooses to apply to his music making, and to the musicians he has chosen to work with. Peter has that rare gift of being able to seamlessly embrace a number of musical styles with consummate skill and effortless grace.
Author Terry Pratchett had a nutshell moment when he wrote “Peter Knight can spin the World on his Bow”.
His prodigious talent was recognised at an early age when in true Billy Elliot style his life changed by winning a place at The Royal Academy of Music in London, an experience that has indelibly left its mark on Peter's style of playing.
Resisting the lure of an extension to continue his studies as a classical soloist, Peter left the Royal Academy at 16 and was drawn to the copious presence of Irish Music that was flourishing in London during the 1960's. Inspired initially by the legendary Fiddle players Michael Coleman and Michael Gorman, Peter totally immersed himself into the playing of traditional music and began performing in Folk Clubs with guitarist Bob Johnson. Being invited by Ashley Hutchings to join the fledgling 'Steeleye Span' secured his place within the annals of British Folk Music. The Band has gone on to become one of the most successful Folk-Rock Band in Britain, securing a string of Gold Albums and top ten hits, and remains influential after more than 40 years.
During the 80’s, an encounter with globally renowned Saxophonist Trevor Watts marked a very significant turning point in Peter's musical journey when he was introduced to the area of free improvisation.
Peter counts his playing with Trevor and his Bands 'Moiré Music' and 'The Drum Orchestra' as one of his most deeply influential and formative experiences, and has continued to use both improvisation and free improvisation as means of accessing a rich seam of emotion and depth of feeling, something that is particularly in evidence with his Trio 'Peter Knight’s Gigspanner', one of the most innovative acts of the UK’s folk-roots scene. Gigspanner’s highly original approach to traditional music of the British Isles has earned Peter several accolades including this year ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ (Fatea Magazine) and ‘Best Musician’ (folking.com)