• 3. ORGAN INTERLUDE (08:11)

Worms Organising Archdukes

Organ – Veryan Weston (tracks: 3)
Piano – Veryan Weston (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 5)
Soprano Saxophone – Lol Coxhill

Extended concert recordings from Rotterdam and Brussels provide a contrast to their equally fine previous soprano saxophone & piano duo CD BOUNDLESS. There is also a short track on which Weston switches to chamber organ. 79 minutes.

This is a jubilee year for this writer, as I first saw this particular duo perform as a duo in the summer of '77. Recordings over the years have been few and far between - but then can we not say that of an enormous number of groups and soloists? Earlier progress reports include parts of the LPs THE JOY OF PARANOIA and DIGSWELL DUETS, now on CDs, bits of the remarkable Coxhill retrospective SPECTRAL SOPRANO, and the more recent BOUNDLESS.

Each of these players is renowned for his ability to operate within a variety of contexts - quite a bewildering variety in fact - yet each is rightly acclaimed for his duo work: think of Coxhill and the late Steve Miller, or Pat Thomas; or Weston with Phil Minton, or Caroline Kraabel, or most recently (and magnificently) Trevor Watts. When Coxhill and Weston come together their empathy is translated into a sense of confidence, and one of almost limitless freedom.

The three venues themselves differ considerably, and the music contained here is typically free-ranging, but the music is all reliably, consistently strong.

It is significant that there are two larger chunks of music on this CD, and that these are excerpts from full performances: the musicians have been careful in selecting their choices from the concerts in question. The sequence with the remarkable chamber organ makes for an intriguing contrast to the sax / piano sound.

The Worm in Rotterdam was previously known as the Dodorama, and it's a delightful record shop / café / concert venue. I confess to never having heard any concerts there, but knowing the space, it's easy to picture it as being ideal for intimate music of this sort. The recording presented here is of a high quality; and the music itself is exceptional. The first piece sets quite a serious tone; there's a melancholy, slightly eerie feel. As it develops, the piece rambles a little, but never straying too far from the initial mood. It's a good showcase also for Veryan Weston's solo virtuosity: anyone who has seen him live can picture Weston, fingers flying at the keyboard, but with precise, clear articulation - and can also picture Coxhill, head cocked to one side, the horn held close, listening intently. He too has a chance to end the piece with a solo, a particularly rhapsodic outing. The second, shorter, Rotterdam piece maintains the quality level - it's sparky, playful, and a nice contrast to what went before. In the old days the Worm recordings alone would have made a splendid LP.

Personal involvement prevents me saying too much about The Red Rose in North London, but those who know more about these things say the large Hall has a very fine acoustic. The Coxhill / Weston duo, part of a wide-ranging concert that took place after the recordings for Ian Smith's DAYBREAK, and similarly benefiting from Dave Hunt's engineering skills, demonstrates Weston's ability to wrestle all sorts of tonalities from the chamber organ: bassoon squawks, accordion wheezes, gothic wails. All in all, a brief chance to recall a splendid evening.

L'Archiduc is apparently a small Art Deco building near the centre of Brussels. The various things I have recently heard about the building, and the food and drink on offer, suggest a visit is in order - especially if they regularly present music of this calibre. The sequences featured here begin in quite a serious vein, Coxhill kicking things off with an exploration of some of the more extreme tonalities that can be wrenched from his horn.


Album label: 
Release date: 
01.01 / 2002
Recording date: 
17.03 / 2001
Recording location: 
Rotterdam 2001 (1,2) London 2000 (3) Brussels 2001 (4,5)
Artwork design : James Ensor / Martin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Producer : Martin Davidson
Recording engineer : Pierre Verbeek / Dave Hunt / Michael Huon

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