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Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston: 5 More Dialogues

John Eyles By

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The title 5 More Dialogues indicates that this is a sequel to 6 Dialogues (Emanem, 2002), the album which marked saxophonist Trevor Watts' first free improv recording in about two decades. In the years since the release of 6 Dialogues, Watts and pianist Veryan Weston have become an established improvising duo, although their musical association dates back to 1982, when Weston became a member of Watts' Moiré Music. The length of time they have been collaborating gives their music a great sense of togetherness and consistency, and 5 More Dialogues follows on seamlessly from that of a decade before.

Part of their compatibility stems from the fact that Watts and Weston lie very close together on the spectrum that stretches from "completely composed" to "freely improvised"---or, rather, they move back and forth along similar sections of that spectrum. In addition to the facility as free improvisers that they demonstrate here, each of them has shown an inclination to include more composed elements in their music, obvious examples being Moiré Music and Weston's Tessellations.

The choice of "dialogues" to describe this music is a curious one, as it implies a back-and-forth exchange of ideas or views. The reality of the music is more complex than that label suggests. For the majority of the time, piano and saxophone play together rather than there being any obvious ebb-and-flow or taking of turns. Frequently, both play flat-out together, creating a seething tumult of music that is breathtaking in its intensity. Yet even at breakneck speed, they negotiate common ground, seemingly effortlessly. At times, as on "Rootworm," they hit upon unison passages, either through premeditation, telepathy or—most likely—experience of each other's playing. As Brian Morton suggests in his sleeve notes (also referring to his own writing with the late Richard Cook), "it is strangely but rightly difficult after a time to determine who is proposing what, who is leading and who responding, who is advancing a position and who is subverting it." In each case, such empathy is the end result of years spent working together.

The resulting music is remarkably rich and dense, considering it is the work of two players without any additional electronics or gadgetry. The most lasting impression left by it is of a twosome radiating a sense of playfulness and pleasure in each other's company.

Track Listing: Cutworm; Exchanged Frequencies; Rootworm; Frequent Exchanges; Flatworm.

Personnel: Trevor Watts: soprano and alto saxophones; Veryan Weston: piano.

Title: 5 More Dialogues | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Emanem

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