Sunday 5 August 2018, 7.30pm
As with Trevor Watts' & Veryan Weston's 'Dialogues' project, 'Quantum Illusion' is energetically interactive. The same magic is conjured through the music but with an added illusion through a new box of tricks.
There are other mysteries too. Previously the focus was on their acoustic instruments – saxophones and acoustic piano - and open improvisation, whereas this project explores the relationship between the infinite world of analogue sounds generated by acoustic instruments and the grey, uncertain hinterland of relatively early binary technology.
Midi-files which often prescribe failed attempts at reproducing the sounds of musical instruments are explored using distortions and modifications. This opens up new possibilities of strangely enriched soundworlds through ideas and sketches that reflect Trevor's and Veryan's common love of traditional musics of the world.
Trevor has had long experience playing with African musicians in his Drum Orchestra (circa 1980) and Veryan has researched the relationships between certain pentatonic scales for many years. Their shared histories as improvisers date back to the early seventies at London venues like the Little Theatre Club, where Trevor was a founder member of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble.
A rigorous study of rhythm has always been central to their work as musicians and this is clearly heard in their music together. Along with this they continue to explore the infinite and mysterious paths that melody and harmony still holds for them.
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.
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/