By coincidence both Watkiss brothers, Cleveland Watkiss and Trevor Watkis (they spell the surname differently!) bring their current projects to Birmingham this week, Cleveland on Thursday 24th in the Hexagon Theatre at mac and Trevor on Saturday 26th at the CBSO Centre.
In an interview for both the Birmingham and the Birmingham mail, also posted on the Town Hall Symphony Hall website, Cleveland and Trevor talk about how they got into music. Cleveland talks about how the family home in East London was always full of music, and Trevor describes how they were both strongly influenced by a middle brother, Anthony, who had a natural ability to just pick things up and play. He played reggae and also in the church. You can read the full interview here.
It’s interesting how music in the church has had an important influence on young Afro-Caribbean players.
Cleveland’s project has an amazing all star band with Orphy Robinson on vibes and electronics, Jason Yarde on sax and electronics, Neil Charles on double bass and Mark Sanders on drums. In the interview Cleveland talks of how the music is largely improvised and creates ‘something really beautiful in the moment. Also how when things happen, they just happen’. As part of this, Cleveland in his vocals and the band in their improvisations draw on different styles of music current today in UK cities. Their music is a true reflection of the ‘ world’s most cosmopolitan epicentre, that is the UK’.
Trevor’s project focusses on the legacy of a great UK trumpeter Dizzy Reece, who relocated to New York at the invitation of Miles Davis back in the 60s and the band will be playing some of Dizzy’s compositions. Trevor also has a great band with Byron Wallen on trumpet and three players from the USA, saxophonist Ralph Moore, who is actually British but long resident over there, bass player Dezron Douglas and one of the finest drummers in the modern mainstream style, Willie Jones III.
The Cleveland Watkiss Allstars play the Hexagon Theatre at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH on Thursday 24th January, 8pm, see https://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/tde-promotions-presents-cleveland-watkiss-allstars
The Trevor Watkis project Dizzy Reece: Routes in Jazz Retrospective is at the CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, Birmingham B1 2LF, see https://www.thsh.co.uk/event/dizzy-reece-routes-in-jazz-retrospective.