Born: February 26, 1939 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Born in York, England; composer/arranger/alto & sop saxes/piano/percussion. Trevor Watts' family moved to Halifax in Yorkshire when he was 6 months old, and that is where he was brought up.
Trevor is a completely self taught musician, and his early inspirations came from his fathers love of Jazz, and the large collection of 78's that his father brought back after living in Canada and visiting the States on many occasions in the 1920's.
Trevor had to do his National Service in the RAF, and joined the RAF band in 1959. It was there he met John Stevens and Paul Rutherford amongst others and formed the musical association that was to become the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Amalgam in the early 60's. These groups radically changed the face of European style Jazz and improvised music, and opened up the way for others. Shortly before the formation of the SME in 1965, Trevor had gained some experience playing at the Marquee Club in London with the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart amongst others. The SME although starting as a collective, gradually was taken over by John Stevens, so Trevor used his group Amalgam to further his own more personal style of music.
Amalgam incorporated many different elements within the music. These elements were mainly introduced by the different types of musicians within the group. Trevor always believing that it didn't matter what style a person played, but that if the desire was there to play together, a way could be found. This resulted in wrong labels being placed on the group at certain times in the 70's like Jazz Rock for instance, but as Watts never acknowledges verbal cliches to describe a music, it certainly was never an attempt at Jazz Rock. In the same way, the the Moire Music Drum Orchestra wasn't an attempt at Afro Jazz. These projects were a way of creating a situation whereby musicians of different persuasions could function together without radically changing the way they each individually played. Some of those who passed through Amalagam were such as Barry Guy, Harry Miller, John Stevens, Stan Tracey, Paul Rutherford and others. But the most significant period for that group was between around 1974 and 1979. That was the group of Keith Rowe (guitar), Colin McKenzie (Bass Gtr), Liam Genockey (Drums) and Trevor Watts (alto & sop saxes). This quartet worked long and hard on the music (Impetus: Wipe Out).
Trevor also had a very important duo with drummer Liam Genockey for many years, but unfortunately they never recorded.
Watts was a member of the Louis Moholo Group that toured with American tenor saxist Frank Wright, and also on other occasions. Stan Tracey's Open Circle (with John Stevens & Danny Thompson), also Stan's Tentacles group. Splinters with Stan, John, Kenny Wheeler, Tubby Hayes, Phil Seaman, Jeff Clyne. London Jazz Composers Orchestra from its inception in 1972. Bobby Bradford Quartet (Bobby was the original trumpeter with Ornette Coleman) amongst others, and Watts has played with Steve Lacy, Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Denardo Coleman, poet Jayne Cortez and violinist Peter Knight of Steeleye Span outside of his own groups.
When Trevor moved to Hastings in 1980 he began taking more of an interest in composition. He then formed the first 10 piece Moire Music Group in order to play these compositions. The first performances were in 1982 at the Roundhouse in London, and Bracknell Jazz Festival, and caused quite a stir at the time. Original members included Lol Coxhill, Veryan Weston, Nana Tsiboe, Mamadi Kamara, Liam Genockey and Larry Stabbins amongst others. Larry went on to form the group Working Week. To keep his improvising side going Trevor formed the original Trevor Watts Drum Orchestra at the same time (1982), which included Nana Tsiboe and Mamadi Kamara on African Percussion, Liam Genockey, Ernest Mothle from S Africa on bass as well as Peter Knight (Violin) and Watts. It was always Trevors desire to include the African rhythmic element within the improvised musical form, and it was this group that first achieved that.
Moire Music eventually became a 14 piece in 1984 and included singers Phil MInton, Maggie Nichols and S African Pinise Saul. That group lasted until 1988 when Trevor changed direction a little and formed the Moire Music that included singer Lianne Carroll, tenorist Simon Pickard, Veryan Weston & others.
In 1990 Trevor gave up the Moire music group as a compositional entity, and merged the names of the two groups into one Moire Music Drum Orchestra. Included in that group were 4 African drummers, bass guitar, drums and his saxophones. Initially in 1990 the group had a 6 week tour of Canada, USA, Venezuela and Mexico, and it was on that tour that the music was shaped and honed. The Moire Drum Orchestra lasted until about 1998 and in that time toured all over the World including Colombia, Venezuela, Caribbean Islands, Burma (Twice), India, Singapore Arts Festival, Malaysia, USA, Canada, Azores Islands, S Africa, Botswana and Lesotho amongst others places. It was during the original tour in 1990 that Watts and group met and played with members of the Teatro Negro de Barlovento, black performance group from Venezuela. It was Watts' idea to join the two together and see what happens. So the British Council sent Watts to Venezuela in 1991 to study the music of Barlovento and make arrangements for some concerts in Europe. This happened in 1992 and became a 35 piece group of singers, dancers, actors and instrumentalists. They performed at the Saalfelden Festival in Austria and Crawley Festival in England as well as 2 very successful nights at London's Jazz Cafe. Watts and Drum Orchestra returned to Venzuela in 1995 for a reciprocal tour over there, playing in Caracas as well as other cities. The group was named Una Sola Voz after the title of the Moire Music recording on ARC called With One Voice.
Subsequently the Drum Orchestra is no more, but Moire Music have been performing in various sizes as a Trio, Quartet and Quintet, and also visited many countries such as Sudan, Cameroon, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Jamaica (including playing for the Prime Minister), Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Bolivia amongst many other countries as a smaller unit.
Some major festivals they have performed at are Womad (UK), Glastonbury, Berlin Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, Khartoum Festival, Penang Festival, Sarawak Festival, Wangaratta Jazz Festival (Australia), Vancouver Jazz Festival (twice), Ottawa Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Washington DC Jazz Festival (twice), Cervantino Festival, Mexico and Monterey Jazz Festival in California amongst many others. Currently (2002), as well as Moire Music Watts now has formed a new group that is more closely associated with the compositional side of the original Moire Music project. It is called Trevor Watts and the Celebration Band and is a new 8 piece ensemble (4 saxes/guitar/bass guitar/percussion/drums), and again is causing quite a stir. The band recorded a new CD on Watts own ARC label called Trevor Watts and the Celebration Band (ARC 010) and is now playing many concerts and festivals.
Watts also has a new improvising duo with his long term associate, pianist Veryan Weston, and a new CD with Weston on the Emanem label called 6 Dialogues.
Trevor is part of a new group that was formed in Mexico and has just recorded a double album over there. That project is run by Mexican musician Gibran Cervantes who has built his own instrument made out of many Berimbaus wired together ( a magnificent structure and interesting sound), also in the group is Cyro Baptista, Brazilian percussionist with John Zorn and Wynton Marsalis, Tino, a percussionist from Cuba and Francisco Bringas from Mexico who plays tablas amongst other things.
1966 SME "Challenge" Eyemark EMPL 1002. re issued (2002) Emanem 4053 CD.
1966 Watts/Stevens/Clyne/Ian Carr "Springboard" Polydor Special 545 007.
1966/1967 SME "Withdrawal" Emanem 4020 CD
1969 SME "Oliv" Marmalade 608008/Polydor 2384009.
1969 Amalgam "Prayer for Peace" Transatlantic TRA 196. re issue (2002) FMR9 CD
1970 SME " SME for CND for Peace for You to Share" A Records A001.
(Originally all proceeds went to CND) Re issued (1998) on Emanem 4023 as
"For You To Share".
1970 SME "The Source - From & Towards" Tangent TNGS 107.
1970 Pierre Favre Group "Born Free" Scout SCS 11.
1971 SME "1,2 Albert Ayler" Affinity AFF 81.
1971 SME "So What Do You Think?" Tangent TGS 118.
1971 SME "Live Big Band & Quartet" Vinyl VS 0015/Konnex KCD 5045.
1971 SME + Bobby Bradford "SME & Bobby Bradford" Freedom FLP 40111.
1971 SME + Bobby Bradford "SME + Bobby Bradford Vol. 1" Nessa 17.
1971 SME + Bobby Bradford "SME + Bobby Bradford Vol. 2" Nessa 18.
1971 SME "Birds Of A Feather" Byg 529 023. 2002 re issued Italy on Vinyl as a bootleg.
1972/1973 Amalgam "Play Blackwell and Higgins" A Records A002.
1972 SMO "Not Necessarily English music" EMF CD 036. Compilation CD.
(One track only by SMO).
1972 LJCO "Ode" Incus 6/7 re issued (1996) on Intakt CD 041.
1972/73 Paul Rutherford's Iskra 1912 "Sequences 72 & 73" Emanem 4018.
1973 SME "How Ya Doin'?" Nondo 003.
1973 SME Duo "Face to Face" Emanem 4003. re issued on CD 1995.
1973 Bobby Bradford/Watts/Carter/Stevens "Love's Dream" Emanem 302.
1974 Steve Lacy "Saxophone Special" Emanem 3310
1974 Steve Lacy "Saxophone Special +" Emanem 4024 CD
1973/74 SME "Quintessence 1" Emanem 4015. re issued on CD 1997 (with 3 extra
tracks Kent Carter/Stevens/Watts)
1973/74 SME "Quintessence 2" Emanem 4016. re issued on CD 1995 (with 2 extra
tracks Watts/Stevens Duo).
1973/74 Watts/Bailey/Stevens "Dynamics of the Impromptu" Entropy CD 004.
1974 SME "85 Minutes Part 1" Emanem 3401. Reissued on CD as Quintessence 1.
1974 SME "85 Minutes Part 2" Emanem 3402. Reissued on CD as Quintessence 2.
1974 Amalgam "Innovation" Tangent TGS 121.
1974/75 SMO "SME + = SMO" Emanem 4062. Track 1 originally issued as A003.
1975 SMO "SME + = SMO" A Records A003.
1975 John Stevens Away "John Stevens Away" Vertigo 6360 131.
1975 John Stevens "Chemistry" Vinyl VS 102/Konnex KCD 5045.
1975 John Stevens Away "Anni Part 1/2" Vertigo 60591 140. (7" only).
1976 Trevor Watts String Ensemble "Cynosure" Ogun OG 526.
1976 Watts/McKenzie/Tippetts/Tippetts "Warm Spirits/Cool Spirits" Vinyl VS 101.
1976 Amalgam "Mad" Synthon VR 20020. (Holland) issued without a cover.
1976 Amalgam "Another Time" Vinyl Records VS 100.
1977 Amalgam "Samanna" Vinyl Records VS 104.
1977 Amalgam "Deep" Vinyl Records VS 108.
1977 Watts/Stevens/Guy "No Fear" Spotlite SPJ 556 re issued on CD (2002)
(Hi 4 Headrecs HFHCD 001).
1977/79/81 LJCO "A Luta Continua" Konnex KCD 5056.
1978 Watts/Stevens/Guy "Application, Interaction, And..." Spotlite SPJ 513.
1978 Keith Tippett's ARK "Frames: Music For An Imaginary Film" Ogun CD
1978 Amalgam "Closer To You" Ogun OG 528
1978 Harry Miller Group "In Conference" Ogun OG 523 re issued Ogun HMCD 2.
1979 Amalgam "Over the Rainbow" Arc 01.
1979 Amalgam "Wipe Out" Impetus 47901. (4 album boxed set with leaflet)
1979 Watts/Stevens/Guy/Howard Riley "Endgame" JAPO 60028.
1979 Watts/Oxley/Moholo & others "Good Old Circus" FMP SAJ 33/Amiga 855869.
(Originally issued as "Stary Dobry Cirkus" on Supraphon 1115 2573H
1981 SMO "SME+SMO in Concert" Sweet Folk & Country SFA 112.
1981 Watts/Katrina Krimsky "Stella Malu" ECM 1199. re issued on CD.
1982/86 Moire Music "Unexpected Pleasures" Arc 05. (limited cassette only)
1983 LJCO "Stringer" FMP SAJ-41.
1985 Moire Music "Moiré Music" Arc 02.
1986 Moire Music "Saalfelden Encore" Cadillac SGC 1015.
1987/88 LJCO "Zurich Concerts" Intakt 005.
1988 Moire Music "With One Voice" Arc 03.
1989 Moire Music "Live at Druga Godba" DG 007. Slovenia (cassette only).
1989 Trevor Watts Drum Orchestra "Rock Against Racism" No label. (Cassette only)
(All proceeds to Hastings Area Anti Apartheid Group).
1989 Trevor Watts Drum Orchestra "Live 1989" Arc 04. (limited cassette only).
1989 LJCO "Harmos" Intakt CD 013.
1989 LJCO "Double Trouble" Intakt CD 019.
1989 "Elton Dean's Unlimited Saxophone Company" Ogun CD 002. (One of these
tracks issued on FOT PN 5 (USA) "Passed Normal" compilation CD under the
name Elton Dean, but the solo featured is Trevor Watts).
1990 Moire Music Drum Orchestra "Live in Latin America Vol 1" Arc CD 06.
1990 Elton Dean "The Vortex Tapes" SLAMCD 203.
1991 LJCO "Theoria" Intakt CD 024.
1993 LJCO "Portraits" Intakt CD 035 (2 CD's).
1993 Moire Music Drum Orchestra "A Wider Embrace" ECM 1449. (Germany)
1995 Moiré Music Trio "Moire Music Trio" Intakt 039. (Switzerland)
1995 LJCO "3 Pieces for Orchestra" Intakt CD 045.
1995 LJCO "Double Trouble 2" Intakt CD 053.
1998/99 Moire Music Group "Live at the Athens Concert Hall" Arc CD08.
2001 Trevor Watts & The Celebration Band "Trevor Watts and The Celebration Band"
ARC CD 010.
2001 Watts/Veryan Weston Duo "6 Dialogues" Emanem 4069
2002 FMR CD96-V0402 "Prayer For Peace" Trevor Watts Amalgam, re-released.
Fear" a CD re issue of the original on Hi4 Head Records HFHCD001
John Stevens (Drums)/Barry Guy (Bass) & Trevor Watts (Alto). Recorded 1977.
CD96-V0402 a re issue of AMALGAM "Prayer for Peace"
CD 108-L1002 MOIRE MUSIC "With One Voice"
a re issue of the original ARC
recording, and with one additional track.
2003 Emanem 4210 A new double CD that has 3 tracks with Veryan Weston & Trevor Watts playing last year at the Freedom of the City Festival in London, along with other artists like Evan Parker, Sylvia Hallett etc. It's called "Freedom of the City 2002 (Small groups)".
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