Watts and Grew:
Trevor Watts – saxophone
Stephen Grew – piano
Since the 1960's, saxophonist Trevor Watts has been at the forefront of many innovations within Jazz/World and Improvised Musical areas, both as a saxophone player, percussionist and composer. He is the only surviving founder member of the hugely influential Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and has through the years formed bands and collaborated with musicians as diverse as Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Kent Carter, Rashied Ali, Steve Swallow, Bobby Bradford, Cyro Baptista and Stan Tracey. Currently his main artistic projects include a long-standing duo with pianist Veryan Weston, and work with the group Moire Music Drum Orchestra. He has performed internationally with both of these projects. 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 and many others. His latest solo saxophone CD Veracity was released to great acclaim in 2014.
Pianist Stephen Grew is one of Europe's most dedicated and imaginative pianists. His playing, free from the constraints of traditional harmonic, melodic and rhythmic structures, is a virtuosic tour -de -force of dynamic extremes, percussive effects and spontaneous atonal flourishes, by turn surprising, witty and breath-taking. In the mid-90s following a background in the visual and ceramic artists he decided to devote his full attention to music-making, producing tapes of solo piano music and promoting and supporting improvised music. In 1995 he formed his band Grew Trio which went on to tour Europe extensively. He has gone on to collaborate with some of the leading figures in free-improvised music including Pat Thomas, Paul Hession, Keith Tippett, Evan Parker and Clive Bell amongst many others.
Merseyside Improviser’s Orchestra with Steve Beresford:
In this special set the sublimely brilliant pianist, improviser, composer and conductor, Steve Beresford, will direct Liverpool’s radical and experimental ensemble The Merseyside Improviser’s Orchestra. The concert of conducted spontaneous music, never heard before or again, will reach incredible peaks of intensity, excitement and energy, and feature beautiful delicate music, other worldly sounds and dark sinister grooves.
Steve Beresford has played with a huge number of improvisation’s most famous and prodigious musicians including Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, John Zorn, Otomo Yoshihide, David Toop and Hen Bennink. In the 1970s he was a member of the Portsmouth Sinfonia, along with Gavin Bryars and Brian Eno and more recently he has collaborated extensively with artist/musician Christian Marclay. He is an active member of the London Improvisers Orchestra. Alongside work in free improvisation has worked with a number of pop musicians and reggae artists including Ray Davis, The Slits, Prince Far I, Frank Chickens and Ted Milton. In 2012 he was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for artists.
The Merseyside Improviser’s Orchestra was formed in 2016 by saxophonist Ged Barry and is the meeting place for Merseyside’s adventurous, creative, musicians. The orchestra is dedicated to improvised spontaneous and indeterminate music making, playing conducted improvisations, free improvisations and open form and experimental compositions. Since forming, the ensemble have collaborated with some of the most prodigious experimental and improvising musicians and composers of today including Philip Jeck, Maggie Nicols, Trevor Watts, Veryan Weston, David Leahy and Paloma Carrasco.
Before the concert, at 6.45pm there will be a pre-concert talk by Steve Beresford placing the practice of free improvisation into historical context. Improviser Phil Morton will also say a few words about the local free improvisation scene.