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Digital concert recording made in Bordeaux, France from pianist Veryan Weston performing solo, the last part of a cycle of concerts organized by Musique Ouverte.

Weston, Veryan

Weston, Veryan: Allusions (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

"Excerpts from sleeve notes:

This concert took place as the last part of a cycle organised in Bordeaux by Musique Ouverte. It included a lecture by Veryan Weston about the concept and process of Tesselations (May 14th), followed the next day (May 15th) by the performance of Tessellations at the Science College of Bordeaux University, concluding the following day with this series of improvisations on a Bösendorfer grand piano in the lounge of the main bookshop in Bordeaux, Mollat.


Most of the Mollat freely improvised solo concert is heard on this CD. Only the penultimate piece of the recital has been omitted for reasons of space; otherwise all the music is presented unedited in the order of performance. I have known this wonderful music for several years now, and have wanted to issue it, but other projects involving the pianist in group settings kept coming up.

The music on this CD follows on from his 1993 recording PLAYING ALONE (Acta 9) in that it is basically stream of consciousness improvising. It is mostly a leap forward from the earlier album, but there are also some fond looks backwards. (The other two solo albums, UNDERWATER CAROL on Matchless MR LP 12 from 1986 and the 2003 Brussels version of TESSELLATIONS on Emanem 4095, feature improvisation based on predetermined frameworks.)

One can hear the influence of the two major pianists of the 1960s - both the spaciousness of Paul Bley and the density of Cecil Taylor. But one can also hear that composer pianists have also been listened to, most notably Béla Bartók and, above all, Conlon Nancarrow, who used piano rolls to create music not playable by mere mortals. This is not to suggest that Weston is a plagiarist. After all, if you listen to 1930s recordings by James P Johnson and Lester Young among others, you will hear several of the elements that became part of the unique original style of Thelonious Monk (another favourite of Weston as witness the several references to his tunes in this recital).

Out of all these influences, Weston has long found his own voice, in a style that is administered strictly through the keyboard and pedals. His improvising ranges from somewhat isolated pecks at the keyboard (a gambit Weston uses elsewhere to get into situations dominated by instruments that can slide between the notes) to involved passages that sound impossible for one pianist to play. There are times when his left and right hands sound like fairly unrelated entities, as if there was a duet going on.

Some listeners may be drawn initially to the fragments of well-known tunes that appear every so often. However, the substance of this music is the free improvisation that is not based on any pre-set 'structures'. Every so often a tune from the jazz age does creep in, mostly very briefly - akin to quotes in jazz improvisations by the likes of Dexter Gordon.

I generally do not like the mixture of tunes and free improvisation, especially when they are juxtaposed like oil and water, possibly in the hope of appealing to more listeners. Weston's forays into the familiar come organically out of his explorations, and are used in enough moderation not to detract from his lines of thought.

It's now over thirty years since Weston first appeared on record (with Lol Coxhill). Since then, he has continued to get better and better, so that he is now one of the major musicians in the world of free improvisation (and the neighbouring areas he also works in). Over twenty years ago, the notes on his first solo record stated that: 'Veryan Weston is a pianist whose reputation has yet to match his talent. That's still true, even though both his reputation and talent have grown considerably."-Martin Davidson, Emanem

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Piano & Keyboards
Free Improvisation

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Product Information:


Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 5001
Squidco Product Code: 11204

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Digital concert recording made in Bordeaux (Librairie Mollat)May 16, 2002.


Veryan Weston-piano

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Track Listing:

1. Prelude to a Prelude 18:43

2. Into a Mood 14:28

3. Out of the Mood 4:52

4. Hints of Habits 6:41

5. Getting Somewhere 17:06

6. Traces of Nuts 5:29

7. Prelude and Fug 11:10