19–20 September 2019
Pleased to host a very special two-day residency with composer, saxophonist and leading light in British improvised music, Trevor Watts, in his 80th birthday year. Since the 1960's, Trevor Watts has been at the forefront of many innovations within the worlds of jazz and improvised music, both as a saxophone player, percussionist and composer, with these two days drawing together various strands of his musical output.
“I am very pleased that I have been given the chance to showcase some music I am involved with currently and that is related to the recent past. Especially as I celebrated my 80th birthday in Feb 2019. Luckily my energy and creativity is still there, and with all the experience that’s gone into that from the past I am sure it will speak for itself.
All of the music is played with commitment, energy, creativity and a sense of being in the moment!”
“At 80 years young he has been a revolutionary saxophone player since playing alongside drummer John Stevens (and others) in the equally revolutionary Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the early ‘60s... Sixty years in the making, this is only a glance, but a piercing one, into the music of one of Britain’s national treasures.” – FOLK/ROOTS on the recent "Life and Music" CD release
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.