Trevor Watts is unrelenting. The brilliant saxophonist was a pioneer when he burst on to Britain’s jazz scene in the mid-1960s with drummer John Stevens, trombonist Paul Rutherford and Australian bassist Bruce Cale in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. He’s still a pioneer now: a genuine improviser who pushes the boundaries of his alto and soprano, and eschews leaning on a dependable musical vocabulary in favour of genuinely being in the moment for each and every instant of his playing. As he says, he’s interested in what he doesn’t know.
This multi-faceted DVD contains a Mark French documentary about Watts, interweaving live snippets with interview material about his history, his influences and, most fascinatingly, his musical processes. It also (too briefly) covers his driving, ground-breaking and (even danceable!) Moire Music Drum Orchestra.
Showing the ideas in practice French’s other two-part film covers a storming 2012 quartet gig with, pianist Veryon Weston, bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders. Finally there are four audio-only improvisations with Weston, Watts’ key collaborator of late.