Sunday 23 April 2017, 7.30pm
The performance of this new quartet of Veryan Weston (piano), Alison Blunt (Violin), Hannah Marshall (Cello) and Trevor Watts (Saxes) at Café Oto on April 23rd 2017 is a follow up from the trio collaboration that played the superb concert at Oto last year with Trevor Watts (saxes), Veryan Weston (Piano) and ex Steeleye Span violinist Peter Knight.
Veryan & Trevor have been playing together since the late 60’s and much of this time as a duo, thereby developing a very strong and intuitive bond together. They now also have a new electronic & rhythmic project that is called Quantum Illusion, this is to help develop new and different ideas, many based on specific rhythms. These collaborations are also part of the process, and a way of opening up the solid musical ground that they have in order to incorporate other excellent musicians that they feel will add positively to the overall sound. In Pete, Hannah & Alison they have selected some of the best players around for this particular venture.
Mark French the film maker will be filming this collaboration again, as he did the previous one with Peter, this with a view to a finished film of these collaborations. The BBC will be there to record the performance for broadcasting on Jazz Now. So it’s going to be a very special occasion with some great music assured.
Alison Blunt has performed new work using improvisation throughout Europe, Scandinavia, US, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand with a wide array of artists including Avreeayl Ra Amen, Renee Baker, John Edwards, Vinny Golia, Elisabeth Harnik, Tristan Honsinger, Audrey Lauro, Hannah Marshall, Gianni Mimmo, Evan Parker, Ute Wassermann and Trevor Watts. She is a founder member of several ensemble projects including Barrel, Barcode Quartet and Hanam Quintet and occasionally performs as soloist. Amongst broader performance and research activities Alison has collaborated with writers, visual artists, dancers and film makers and leads creative music workshops with children, families, conservatoire students and professional musicians.
"Blunt herself has the same spontaneous attitude for superb control of timbre and sound, while remaining utterly free in her inventiveness". Steff Gijssels, FREE JAZZ BLOG
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/
Hannah Marshall is a cellist who is continuing to extract, invent, and exorcize as many sounds and emotional qualities from her instrument as she can. She has been a regular member of Alexander Hawkins’ Ensembles and has toured in Europe and South America with Luc Ex and Veryan Weston’s ensembles – SOL 6 & 12. She plays with ‘String Terrorists’ - Barrel (a trio with Violinist Alison Blunt & Violist/poet Ivor kallin). And has been invited by Fred Frith and Suichi Chino in their residencies at café Oto. She also plays with Terry Day, Tim Hodgkinson, Roger Turner, Paul May, Kay Grant, and the London Improvisers Orchestra.
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.