Friday 20 September 2019, 7.30pm
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. For the second night of the residency we present two duos; Trevor Watts (saxes) & Jamie Harris (percussion), and Trevor Watts (saxes) & Mark Hewins (electric guitar / harmonic guitar / 12 string guitar & electronics).
Trevor Watts with Jamie Harris (Percussion):
“African music and musicians have been a strong part of my life, and December 2019 I shall be going to Salvador, Brasil to play with one of their main Afro Brasilian drumming groups, and also recording there with them at the same time. In fact I probably have more fans in South Africa than the UK. I organised and toured all over the World with my Moire Music Drum Orchestra which featured 5 Ghanaian musicians. I studied rhythmic feel intensely for many years. Not to try to play African music, but to adapt it to the way I play and write music, and for that understanding to become an integral part of what I do. In the early 2000’s I met Jamie Harris the percussionist, and I think it fair to say mentored him for around three years. Jamie was always very quick and accurate in his perceptions of what we were doing and became a perfect partner to explore a rhythmic music with melodies and improvisation related to that. He has great energy and can sustain even the fastest of rhythms for long periods of time. Essential sometimes within this genre. We have started to play again together after a long lay off and it’s very exciting.”
Trevor Watts with Mark Hewins (Guitars/Electronics):
“My association with Mark goes back to the early 80’s when I asked him to join my Amalgam group as a replacement for Keith Rowe. His use of the guitar and electronics is so unique to him, and although over the years we have played very little together, we did start to do some recordings and playing in 2014, and there’s a nice connection between what he does and what I do with that. A lot of the music is very meditative and “other Worldly” in some ways. There’s probably nothing else quite like this around and so I urge everyone to check this evening of music out as well as the first duo is such a contrast to the second one.”
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.
Mark Hewins is one of the generation of musicians which followed in the wake of the experimental groups of the sixties, represented by Pink Floyd and Soft Machine among others, whose attitudes to sound and music were forever coloured by the experience. However, he started playing guitar professionally in 1970 at the age of 15 on the famous London 'Pub Rock' circuit with Mother Sun, and by the mid-seventies was an established figure working around the more innovative music circuits in London, whether at the London Musicians' Collective or playing solo interval slots at London's 100 Club and Trevor Watts' New Merlin's Cave. Many of the radical techniques Hewins employs in his guitar play stem from this time; in particular from 16-hours-per-day sessions in duet with guitarist and filmmaker Richard Coldman. At that time in the mid-70's he first met Anne Beverly, Sid Vicious' mother, and after the New York family tragedy Anne stayed with Mark for a while on her return to London from America.
Hewins' creativity brought him to the attention of musicians such as Watts (Amalgam), and John Stevens (Away) who gave him opportunities to play with South African musicians, Dudu Pukwana, Louis Moholo and Mervyn Afrika and a place in the Dance Orchestra (CD A Luta Continua - featuring Phil Collins, John Martyn, bassist Danny Thompson (with whom he subsequently worked alongside Julie Felix) and Elton Dean who he has probably duetted more frequently with than with any other musician. Over the years musical liaisons have flourished; US jazz collaborations include work in New York with Dennis Gonzalez and Andrew Cyrille, CD âÄòThe Earth and Heart; in Europe with Django Bates in Research Social Systems and as a continuing member of the Elton Dean Quartet. Hewins' first solo CD, Electric Guitar, was released by Daagnim Records in the USA (1987)...[more]
Jamie attended the Jazz diploma course in Chichester as a singer, which was were he met the saxophonist Marcus Cummins who introduced him to the music of Trevor Watts
In 1999 Harris was given the opportunity to organise a music group made up of young musicians for a concert to be musically directed by Watts .
This group continued to rehearse after said concert and it was during this first rehearsal with out a drummer in attendance that Watts handed Harris a drum and asked him to bang it.
The group eventually became “Trevor Watts and the Celebration Band”, where Harris served as percussionist. The Celebration Band toured USA / Canada as well as playing several concerts in the UK and Europe.
In 2003 Watts and Harris began performing as a duo, taking this project to Mongolia, USA/Canada, Mexico, The Dominican Republic and Brazil among other locations.
Between 2007 and 2019 Watts and Harris took a break from playing together. During this period Harris sang and played guitar and wrote songs for the band “Harris Attack” as well as performing in a duo with bass guitarist Roger Carey. From 2014 until 2021 he sang and played percussion with the Hastings based Trio “Afrit Nebula”
In 2019, after performing together at Trevor Watts 80th birthday party , an event organised by pianist and long time Watts collaborator Veryan Weston, Harris and Watts decided to resume activities playing as a duo.
In July 2021, Watts / Weston and Harris formed the group “Eternal Triangle”.