Bennetts Lane, June 17
SAXOPHONIST Trevor Watts and pianist Veryan Weston are masters of improvised music-making. Pioneers of the British free jazz scene, they have been performing and recording together for the past 30 years. Their duo encounters are completely "free-form", and reveal the depth of creative empathy that underpins their musical partnership.On stage at Bennetts Lane, Watts kept his eyes closed throughout most of the entire performance, relying on his ears and intuition to align himself with Weston. Both players favoured abstraction over anything resembling conventional melody or harmony. Instead, what gave the music much of its impact was the pair's use of dynamics.
Watts' circular breathing allowed him to surge across Weston's agitated, scrambling runs for several minutes at a time, creating a tension that was finally released when the saxophonist dropped back to a barely discernible whisper.
And while this was not music that swung in any traditional sense, rhythm still played a key role. Weston's staccato pinpricks or stormy rumblings would suddenly coalesce into a syncopated pulse – or the hint of a groove – upon which Watts would briefly alight before taking off on another restless flight.
The overall effect was akin to watching time-lapse photography of a cloud-filled sky: a stirring portrait of unpredictability, where the only constant element is change.