Reviews that mention Trevor Watts

November 11, 2015

Beyond Jazz: plink, plonk & scratch; the golden age of free music in London 1966-1972

By Trevor Barre
Compass Press

Out of Nowhere, The Uniquely Elusive Jazz of Mike Taylor

By Luca Ferrara

Gonzo Multimedia

By Ken Waxman

A succinct, personal, opinioned and ultimately insightful volume about the so-called First Generation of British Free Musicians, Beyond Jazz is first-time author Trevor Barre’s crisply-written, well-informed overview of the scene during those crucial seven years. A little too young and living elsewhere in the U.K., to have participated in most of the seminal London-based performances of that era, Barre’s turned to contemporary journalism, some academic studies and most importantly correspondence with 21 Free Music mover and shakers to fill out the story. Out Of Nowhere, the Uniquely Elusive Jazz of Mike Taylor is an exhaustive near hagiography tracing the brief career of a British pianist whose career began and ended in the 1960s and whose particular music and short life characterized all that was good and bad about the improvised and overall music scene during that representative decade. MORE

October 7, 2013

Various Artists

Just Not Cricket: Three Days of Improvised Music in Berlin
Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu nvnc lp001/004

Erik Carlsson & All Stars

Swedish azz Volume 1 & Volume 2

NotTwo MW 901-1A/ NotTwo MW 901-1B

Thomas Lehn, Michel F. Côté, Éric Normand

Invisible

Tour de Bras DL #1

Malcolm Goldstein/Thomas Lehn

Sources

Tour de Bras DL #2

Something In the Air: Good Music Comes In Many Forms and Formats

By Ken Waxman

Standardization is a thing of the past when it comes to recorded music and listeners who get too far ahead of or behind the curve are likely to miss interesting sounds. Just as the production of movies didn’t cease with the acceptance of television, so the manufacture of LPs continued even as the CD became the format of the moment. As artisans continue to craft fine furniture despite the availability of mass-produced items, so too LPs are being created in limited quantities. This situation appears tailor-made for experimental sounds. Similarly since advanced players are often as impecunious as they are inventive, the ubiquity of the Internet means that some music is only sold through the Web. The option of not having to create a physical product is a boon for non-mainstream performers. MORE

November 11, 2012

Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston

Dialogues in Two Places
Hi4Head Records HFH 010D

Confirmation of the Guelph Jazz Festival’s increasing importance on the international scene is this significant two-CD set by British saxophonist Trevor Watts and pianist Veryan Weston. Both men have helped define improvised music since the 1970s, and during a rare North American foray in 2011, recorded one CD in Guelph and the other in Toledo.

Nationalism aside, the two appear more assured north of the border, with the climax, Cardigan, a nearly 32½ intermezzo. Three months earlier in Ohio they distributed their aleatoric and dextrous efforts among six much shorter improvisations. Playing both soprano and alto saxophones, Watts’ tone is sequentially taut, peeping, staccato and agitated in Toledo, while Weston’s lines encompass both formal pianism and near-splintered tremolo dynamics to extend and pivot the performances. Toledo’s high point appears on Glenwood. Here a contrapuntal intersection displays the saxophonist’s mercurial skills at speedy and slow tempos while compressing tones for nuance and color. Also featured is the pianist initially accelerating, then halving the accompaniment, while moving from high-intensity chording and pounding to edgy soundboard and string plinking patterns. MORE

July 6, 2012

Interview:

Veryan Weston
By Ken Waxman

London-based pianist Veryan Weston is a well-travelled musician who regularly turns up in a variety of free music situations in the United Kingdom and aboard. Best-known for his long associations with iconoclastic saxophonist Lol Coxhill and distinctive vocalist Phil Minton, Weston has also spent time in various ensembles with, among others, drummer Eddie Prévost, saxophonist John Butcher and is sometimes a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra. Weston and British alto saxophonist Trevor Watts are playing at the Stone this month as part of a duo tour of the US. MORE

August 8, 2009

Music Outside, Contemporary Jazz in Britain

By Ian Carr
Northway Publications

Hindsight may be 20/20, but this reprint of Ian Carr’s 1973 classic Music Outside, reveals that he beats the law of averages. However, anything written 36 years ago resonates with the attitudes of the time. Some musicians who seemed significant then are more the province of nostalgia than admiration; others mentioned briefly are major figures.

Parenthetically that sense of being of one’s time makes Roger Cotterell’s contemporary postscript frustrating. While he does tie up loose ends and outlines the subsequent career of some musicians, a few are still ignored. His updates are also mostly personal anecdotes. MORE

January 17, 2009

Trevor Watts & Peter Knight

Reunion: Live in London
Hi4Head Records HFH CD 007

Mike Khoury and Piotr Michalowski

Reason Sound - Sound Reason

Abzu Recordings 005

Nine years and the Atlantic Ocean separate these reeds and violin duos from one another, but both are equally concerned with exploring the limits of collaboration, unfettered by genre expectations.

Piotr Michalowski on soprano saxophone and bass clarinet and Mike Khoury on violin, both from the Detroit area, prefer shorter forms, dividing their textural improvisations among 10 tracks which together add up to about 40 minutes of music. Offering the equivalent of a novel compared to Reason Sound - Sound Reason’s collection of sonic short stories, London-area soprano and alto saxophonist Trevor Watts and violinist Peter Knight take nearly 56½ minutes on Reunion: Live in London to explore virtually every variation, oscillation and texture that can be wrung from their respective instruments. Both duos display their work to similarly miniscule audiences in the live portions MORE

January 17, 2009

Mike Khoury and Piotr Michalowski

Reason Sound - Sound Reason
Abzu Recordings 005

Trevor Watts & Peter Knight

Reunion: Live in London

Hi4Head Records HFH CD 007

Nine years and the Atlantic Ocean separate these reeds and violin duos from one another, but both are equally concerned with exploring the limits of collaboration, unfettered by genre expectations.

Piotr Michalowski on soprano saxophone and bass clarinet and Mike Khoury on violin, both from the Detroit area, prefer shorter forms, dividing their textural improvisations among 10 tracks which together add up to about 40 minutes of music. Offering the equivalent of a novel compared to Reason Sound - Sound Reason’s collection of sonic short stories, London-area soprano and alto saxophonist Trevor Watts and violinist Peter Knight take nearly 56½ minutes on Reunion: Live in London to explore virtually every variation, oscillation and texture that can be wrung from their respective instruments. Both duos display their work to similarly miniscule audiences in the live portions MORE

November 20, 2008

Schaffhauser Jazzfestival

Schaffhausen, Switzerland
May 21 to 24 2008

Forty-seven years after she left her home town of Shauffchausen, Switzerland for nearby Zürich, pianist Irène Schweizer was back headlining the Schaffhauser Jazz Festival’s most ambitious program ever: performing “Radio Rondo”, a composition by bassist Barry Guy, which featured her and the London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO).

In its 19th year of showcasing Swiss jazz and improvised music, Schaffhauser expanded its horizons in 2008 with the Schweizer/LJCO summit, which took place in front of a sell-out crowd in the city’s modernist Stadtheater. The evening, which included a solo piano showcase for Schweizer, also emphasized two of the fest’s overall themes: the majority of the most interesting sets included piano; and non-Swiss musicians and motifs adding needed variety to the performances MORE

September 1, 2008

Spontaneous Music Ensemble

Bare Essentials (1972-3)
Emanem 4218

Definitely dedicated to playing reductionist music, the sound of the Britain’s Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME) was even more mininalist in the early 1970s, since the SME at the time was a duo: Trevor Watts on soprano saxophone and John Stevens on percussion.

Resuscitated from tracks recorded by Watts on a portable cassette player, Bare Essentials presents complete and edited performances by the duo from nine concerts in 1972 and 1973 that took place in Wolverhampton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and London’s now legendary Little Theatre Club. With the 16 tracks running in length from slightly more than a minute to slightly less than 32½, none of the music – with possibly one exception – is absolutely indispensable. However the overall two-CD set is engrossing, letting you trace the two applying different strategies and approaches to the material. MORE

July 10, 2006

TREVOR WATTS

World Sonic
Hi 4 Head Records HFHCD004

JOE GIARDULLO
No Work Today (Nine for Steve Lacy)
Drimala DR 05-347-02

Definitely the sign that a concept has passed from novelty to commonplace is when practiced veterans try out their version of it. So it is with solo saxophone recitals. Initially the exclusive preserve of alto saxophonist Anthony Braxton, then made customary by soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, and Evan Parker on tenor and soprano, today it appears that every young reedist has a solo sax CD. MORE

October 31, 2005

DEREK BAILEY/EVAN PARKER

The London Concert
psi 05.01

STEVENS/WATTS/GUY
Mining the seam - the rest of the Spotlite sessions
Hi 4 Head Records HFH CD003

Combining and splitting apart numerous times in various bands – ad hoc and not –during a period in the late 1960s and early 1970s now seen as the genesis of British Free Music, guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer John Stevens (1940–1994) are almost universally acknowledged as dual catalysts who nurtured the nascent scene.

Although over the years both improvised with just about anyone and mentored a large number of younger musicians, Stevens had, and Bailey still has, a fairly prickly personality. That meant that at the same time newer players were being initiated into freer sounds, one or both was usually carrying on a feud with older associates and sometimes with one other. Bailey has maintained from that time that every performance should be completely improvised with each creation a tabla rasa. Less rigid, Stevens didn’t disdain composition and wasn’t above playing jazz, Free Jazz and a touch of jazz-rock. MORE

May 19, 2003

TONY OXLEY/ALAN DAVIE

The Tony Oxley-Alan Davie Duo
a|l|l 005

JOHN STEVENS
Application Interaction And...
High4Head HFHCD002

Pioneering Scottish Abstract Expressionist Alan Davie had his first one-man exhibition in London in 1950, at height of the Cool Jazz era, when he was also making his name as a painter, poet and multi-instrumentalist. Keeping up with musical changes, Davie, born in 1920, eventually developed a longstanding playing partnership with percussionist Tony Oxley, born in 1938, who is one of the founders of restrained BritImprov and a painter in his own right. The improv duo sessions here were recorded in 1974 and 1975, and are reissued with two additional tracks for the first time since their appearance on LP in 1975. MORE