Veryan Weston And Trevor Watts
Trevor Watts was born in York but moved to Halifax when very young. He is mainly self taught on saxophones. He first began playing with John Stevens and Paul Rutherford while stationed in Germany in the Royal Air Force (1959-1963). On leaving the RAF he became a founding member of the New Jazz Orchestra and during 1963 and 1964 played with various blues and rock musicians including Rod Stewart and Sonny Boy Williamson. In 1965 he re-met Stevens who became the drummer in the quintet co-led by Watts and Rutherford; with the opening of the Little Theatre Club in London in 1966, this group became the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME), went through various personnel changes and group sizes during the next year, finally working as the reduced core of Evan Parker and John Stevens. During this time, Trevor Watts left the SME to form the first version of Amalgam with Barry Guy. and others. In the spring of 1968 Trevor Watts re-joined the SME and he and John Stevens became the mainstay of the group until 1976 playing, as before, with a wide membership varying from the ad hoc to the more permanent. Watts was also a member of the early versions of Steven's more rock- based projects like 'Away'.
If the SME was always seen as Stevens' group, Amalgam was very much driven by Watts. In its 13 year life (1967 to 1979) it explored mixtures of jazz, improvised music, folk and traditional musics, and rock and 'fusion' with a wide variety of musicians such as Barry Guy, John Stevens, Harry Miller, Colin McKenzie, Keith Rowe, Keith Tippett, and Liam Genockey. Watts has also been a member of Stan Tracey's Open Circle (with Danny Thompson and John Stevens), the Louis Moholo Group (with Frank Wright), the Bobby Bradford Quartet, as well as being a founder member of the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra.
The original 10-piece Moiré Music was formed in 1982, primarily to work through compositional ideas, in contrast to the already extant Drum Orchestra for improvisational musics, in particular using free improvisation with rhythm. Moiré Music membership has included Lol Coxhill, Simon Picard, Pete McPhail, Paul Rogers, Veryan Weston, Liam Genockey, Nana Tsiboe and, Steeleye Span violinist Peter Knight. In 1990 the two projects were merged into the present Moiré Music Drum Orchestra which has toured extensively in Latin America, Africa, North America, the Caribbean, Asia, New Zealand as well as all of Europe. Following a tour of Venezuela, in 1992 Watts initiated a short European tour with the groups Guaricongo and Teatro Negro de Barlovento from the Afro-Venezuelan tradition, with the umbrella title, Una sola voz.
The Moiré Music Trio was formed in 1994 (1996 personnel: Watts, alto and soprano saxophones; Colin McKenzie, bass guitar; Marc Parnell, drums) and the Drum Orchestra had this trio as its core, featuring long-term associates from Ghana: Nana Tsiboe, Jojo Yates and Nana Appiah on African percussion, voices, mbiras, gonjes (African violins), etc. In 1996 a multicultural project featured 4 drummers/singers from the Trinidadian Ujamaa Ambatana performing group, Tony Oxley, percussion, Eoin Duigan (Ullean pipes), and Colin McKenzie (bass guitar). In 1999 Watts started playing duos with Steeleye Span violinist Peter Knight, after a break of over ten years when Knight was a member of Moiré Music; Knight has his own web site at: http://freepages.pavilion.net/users/peterknight/.
In addition to the above associations, Trevor Watts has played with Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Denardo Coleman and Jayne Cortez.
Veryan Weston was born in 1950, and moved from Cornwall to London in 1972 and began playing as a freelance jazz pianist as well as developing as an improviser at Little Theatre Club.
1975-85: Residency & fellowship for Digswell Arts Trust (Hertfordshire). Activities included:
Collaborations with visual artists (potter-Elizabeth Fritsch and fine artist Steve Cochrane).
Work on written theoretical material, commissioned by The Digswell Arts Trust.
Co-ordinating music workshops, supported by Eastern Arts Association.
Co-founded and composed for young local group - Stinky Winkles, voted 'Young Musician of 1979' by Greater London Arts Association and won first prizes in France, Spain and Poland.
Collaborations with Lol Coxhill, music for Derek Jarman Film. First released recordings.
Throughout 1980s and early 90s worked with Eddie Prévost Quartet, Trevor Watts' Moiré Music and Lol Coxhill and Phil Minton. Major festivals have included Zurich, Berlin, Nickelsdorf, Karlsruhr, Warsaw, Wroclaw, San Sebastian, Bombay, Vancouver, Nancy, Aukland, Nevers, Washington, Lille, Houston, Le Mans, Strasbourg, Bologna and Victoriaville.
Ensemble projects with Minton:
Duo - Ways, Ways Past, and....Past - diverse songs, originals & improvisation structures.
Songs from a Prison Diary - French commission for 25 singers with poems by Ho Chi Minh.
Naming the Animals -a quartet with Lianne Carol and Ian Shaw, words by Adrian Mitchell.
Mouthfull of ecstasy - with John Butcher, Roger Turner, texts from Joyce's Finnegans wake.
Makhno - for chamber choir commissioned by Taktlos Festival 1997.
4Walls - a quartet with songs and improvisations with Luc Ex and Michael Vatcher.
Other recent duo collaborations with:
Trevor Watts - improvisations with a feeling of form, where rhythm and melody sit comfortably with more abstract moments. A major current project.
Caroline Kraabel - duets that explore acoustic phenomena related to two instruments and how these sounds interact in specific acoustic spaces.
Jon Rose - improvisations using different acoustic keyboards and violins with selected tunings derived from science, history and the imagination.
Hugh Metcalfe - Films by Hugh, images of objects, animals, humans, holidays, journeys, unfold, transform, collide and provide the basis for accompanying duet improvisations.
(1995-6) playing in rhythm section for 'Changes' jazz club in North London with British jazz artists.
Awarded A4E National Lottery support to give series of workshops/concerts with John Edwards & Mark Sanders titled 'Playing Together' in East Anglia (1998).
Helped coordinate and arrange the Lindsay Cooper Song Project (1999). European festivals - Taktlos (Zurich), Angelica (Bologna, commissioned arrangement of "Oh Moscow" for orchestra), Moers (Germany) and Roccella Jonica (Italy) - (see clip titled 'Oh Moscow' below discography on this page).
Recent solo project 'Tessellations' for solo piano, supported by Peter Whittingham Foundation in 2000. The one hour piece is a series of improvisations devised as an exposition on relationships between closely connected pentatonic scales researched over 30 years. Concerts include: 1. TonArt Festival (for Swiss Radio in Basle), 2. Bordeaux, and talk to undergraduates at Bordeaux University Maths Faculty, 3. Brussels Museum of Musical Instruments on only original Lutheal Piano and 4. Granada, presentation of published paper titled New Pentatonic Scale Relationships with Visual Parallels at Joint Meeting of The International Society of the Arts, Mathematics, and Architecture and Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science.