Sunday, 27 March 2016

Trevor Watts music available for download from Bandcamp

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Heath Common eps available to donwload on Bandcamp

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Jazzwise (Andy Robson) review of Cynosure by Trevor Watts String Ensemble (HFHCD018) March 2016

Thanks to Andy Robson for his excellent review of Cynosure by Trevor Watts String Ensemble in the latest issue of Jazzwise: If collective free improvisation sum...mons images of furrowed brows and unsmiling aural assaults then stick this platter in your play box and start grinning now. Watts' ensemble is one mess'n'mass of songs of joy. It helps that this is primarily a rehearsal recording so there's a 'go for it' vibe that isn't quite so apparent on the three 'in concert' tracks, although these are perfectly enjoyable. But the rehearsal cut of 'No Waiting' is phenomenal, not least for the sheer energy of its delivery, the perpetual motion guitar themes weaving through the ensemble set-ups and the spark and burn of the collective soloing. Watts is ecstatic throughout while Genockey connives to clatter and storm behind it all like a man possessed. This is a tribal groove machine cooking hard and reveals how Watts' confidence had grown since he'd begun to step free of his admirable work with John Stevens. It also reveals the confidence of the Brit free scene of the time , brimming with an energy that our current crop of excellent but, shall we say, a tad tight-lipped young performers could do with accessing.

Record Collector Magazine (Spencer Grady) review of Cynosure by Trevor Watts String Ensemble (HFHCD018) March 2016

The case for the common image of free improvisers as a bunch of Po-faced, polemically puffed up theory-pushers gets the eye-bite from this keen re-issue. Saxophonist Watts, newly liberated from John Stevens' close watch, threw off the shackles of non-idiomatic dogma in the mid 70s to revel in an astonishing series of flesh-quaking polyrhythms which presage much of his later Afro-influenced work, most notably with the Moire Music ensemble.
Unlike the unhappy tyrannies which tormented Watts' SME tenure, here he'd fired up a collective for cow-handed carnival, cheering merry with a suite of flexible compositions, rowdy and partially unhinged, delivering a distinctly British take on the big band blowouts of both Ra and Kuti. The rawness of these recordings - three live cuts from a 1976 performance at London's Notre Dame Theatre have been appended to the original tracks - do nothing to diminish the joyful zeal of their fratchy attack, the tinny tones disseminating the boundless enthusiasm like a nipper with a super-soaker primed with punch.