Deva Reviews


Deva at the Bell in Bath:

"Visionary Indian-Jazz fusion with an electric edge, significantly better tunes than anyone else currently occupying that niche, and some superlative virtuoso playing"
A collective of musicians from all corners of the world with a mutual aim to explore traditional elements of shared musical influences combining World, Jazz and Rock music. Formed by guitarist Trevor Warren in 1998, they have recorded 3 albums, Earth, The Rainbow Sea, and now the long awaited third album Breathe featuring Ayub Ogada is out on Longtale Records. Their music has been used in television, and they have performed throughout the UK including 2 concerts at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005. The sonic palette of this instrumental 5-piece is startling in its variety and vibrancy. Nylon string guitar, electric guitar, violin, electric violin, double and electric basses accent melodic and harmonic strands while tabla, jembe, mridungham plus a whole array of percussion demarcate rhythmic structures. The net result is a sound that soothes, tantalizes and inspires..."

 

"Stunning musicianship and the imagination to take the traditional sounds a good deal further than the rest, this is one special band."

"Indian-flavoured jazz-inflected virtuosity which doesn't neglect the importance of great tunes (originals) and snappy rhythm. Probably the best playing you'll hear all month, featuring Trevor Warren (guitar) & Chris Garrick (violin) in particular."

"...Deva's mellifluous notes will soothe, excite and inspire...if this isn't made available to the general public soon it will be a crime against music."
BBC Asian Life

We had so many unusual and interesting reactions from the good people of Sutherland, Ross-Shire and Orkney, that we thought we'd share some with you:


"Dear Deva, many many thanks for such a wonderful event - one that will long live in the memory. James and all at Woodwick House, Orkney"

"Hi Deva, thanks very much for a brilliant night on thursday. A definite highlight of the last 12 months! Heard that breakfast on Friday wasn't as well received after Thursday's whiskey tasting! look forward to welcoming you all again. Best wishes, Fiona, Plockton"


And even this - an entire review - from our very own Jennie MacFie of Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness...

"A small, select audience, which made for a memorable, very intimate evening of music from DEVA. As a promoter, it's often hard to sit down, relax and enjoy the music. Last night, the rich tapestry woven by the rhythm section of Peter Macdonald on mridungham (which is, I was pleased to discover,a Northern Indian drum) and Neil Craig on tabla and djembe, augmented by Jonty Fisher's bass, swept us all away - with, it must be said, little resistance. Sometimes composer Trevor Warren's guitar playing meshed seamlessly with Chris Garrick's violin, at others they played counterpoint to each other. Garrick was as amazing as his reputation - "the Jimi Hendrix of the electric violin" - had promised - I particularly loved the Indian sitar-style number (For Kari?)where the electric violin was set up as a drone, while he played heartstoppingly beautiful acoustic violin above it.

Percussion is the poor relation of Western music and drummer jokes are legion. Informed by Indian and African traditions, Peter and Neil used everything from rattles, cymbals, brushes, and bells to add breadth, depth, height, vitamins and fibre to the sound. The other three tapped, slapped and beat out rhythms on the bodies of their instruments and at one point, Chris joined in with a plate and a knife from the Hall kitchens. Sonic textures, said my eldest son, and that's what it was, a rich, rolling, changing textured stream of sound that wound its way straight into your heart and mind. Relaxed, superb musicians, one and all, in this extraordinary band there are no stars - the band itself is the star. Thanks, Deva."

 

Disassembler: What Is (Jazz Granada)


The Guardian, 18 March 2010, ****
Disassembler features the compositions of its guitarist/leader Trevor Warren and the distinctive solo voices of trombonist Annie Whitehead and saxophonist Mark Lockheart. Warren's striking themes and rousing arrangements lift it far above the contemporary Euro- jazz throng. The opening Flicker is a typical piece of Warren teasing, with its curling, long-lined horn melody rolling out over drummer Winston Clifford's fast groove. Flicker's melody-resolution sounds as if it should belong to a much shorter tune – so the long postponement of its arrival becomes irresistibly fascinating. Reggaeton is a luxurious repeating-note trombone theme punctuated by lazy slurs, driven by a bumping Caribbean groove, and galvanised by a fine Whitehead solo. Pop 2 recalls the swaggering directness of the old Mike Westbrook band, before it unexpectedly turns into a funk hook for the guitar, with Lockheart's soprano sax wrapping round it, in a manner that hints at Miles Davis's In a Silent Way. Spacey low-end tone-poetry for trombone, tenor sax and inventive bassist Dudley Phillips, and the Crusaders-like jive of Great Leap Forward are other standouts on an unusual set, finely balancing quality composition and improv.
John Fordham



Allaboutjazz, December 2009
It's a broad church, but British guitarist Trevor Warren's Disassembler comes out of the same genre mashing movement as bands like Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear, Led Bib and trioVD. Each has crafted an individual spin on jazz/rock/dance collision, from Acoustic Ladyland's seminal three-minute punk thrashes, extended by Led Bib and trioVD to include more collective and individual improvisation, through Polar Bear's more nuanced excursions.

Though its sound is entirely its own, Disassembler shares certain qualities with Polar Bear. Eschewing the head charge of Acoustic Ladyland, Disassembler has Polar Bear's taste for the trippy and the understated. There has been some overlap of personnel. Polar Bear's leader, drummer Seb Rochford, was featured on the first Disassembler album, Disassembler (33 Jazz, 2005), and saxophonist Mark Lockheart has been a member of both Disassembler and Polar Bear since 2003.

There the similarities end. Warren founded Disassembler to take the rhythms of modern dance music and present them within the context of jazz improvisation. Some of the dancing takes place on the floor, some of it in the head, and the bandóalso including trombonist Annie Whitehead, bassist Dudley Phillips and drummer Winston Cliffordóis composed of A-list "pure" jazz players frequently heard in straight-ahead contexts.

The seductive What Is is Disassembler's third album, following Fear Is The Mother Of Violence (33 Jazz, 2008). The title is taken from the late American comedian Lenny Bruce's saying, "there is only what is," and Warren has credited the mix, ironically, to "Lady Margaret Thatcher." What Is, however, is less edgy than its predecessor, with its sound bites from speeches made by George W. Bush and his neocon allies; it's a mÈlange of lyrical improvisations and sinewy, ostinato driven grooves which have at least some of their roots in the early 1970s work of saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Gato Barbieri.

All but one of the tunes is by Warren, but, as is Disassembler's practice, the arrangements are collective and the solos shared equally between horns and guitar. Warren's fluid single note lines, sometimes subtly effects-treated, are luminous on "Flicker" and "Abe" (whose chugging bass and drums vamp, intentionally or otherwise, is winningly reminiscent of the Pat Metheny Group's "Are You Going With Me?"). Lockheart moves between broken note strewn tenor and ethereal soprano, the latter wonderfully expressive on the big, lurching "Pop 2." Whitehead is showcased on "Reggaetton" and soars on the West African/Latin American-infused "Great Leap Forward."

For the past few years, Warren has divided his time between London and Granada, Spain, where Disassembler won the Asociacion Granada Jazz International Jazz Competition in 2008. What Is was recorded in London in July 2009 and international distribution is planned for 2010. Meanwhile, it's been released in a limited edition by Granada Jazz (distributed by jazzcds.co.uk). It's a jewel of an album by a band that deserves a much higher profile.
Chris May

Allaboutjazz.com
"...(one of) the premier contemporary jazz units in Britain..."
John Kelman

MusicMetal.com
"...picking out individuals isn’t the point – this is just a brilliant ensemble."

Time Out
"They rock too."


Reviews for "Fear is the mother of violence" by Disassembler

Jazzwise, November 2008
"Tasty, groove-based musical stew...the underlying vibe is surprisingly gentle and danceable...new drummer Clifford brings a fresh, funky feel
to the sextet's lyrical workouts, and other new recruits Whitehead and Priseman add fresh colours to the bands sound palette."
Robert Shore

The Guardian, Friday June 27, 2008
"The name suggests a bone-crunching thrash-metal jazz outfit - but British guitarist Trevor Warren's group is actually a warm horn-dominated ensemble boasting some pedigree improvisers. This week's lineup featured resourceful drummer Winston Clifford, with trombonist Annie Whitehead expanding the usual quintet to six.

Warren was taught by John Etheridge and John Parricelli. He hints at the idiomatic broadness of both - but his jazz, Indian and African music interests lead him to composing rather than improvising, and he takes a low profile as a soloist. Here, Clifford, hunched over his kit, was a magician performing steadily ticking grooves and shuffles, softly jolting fills, and seductive shapes that drew fresh phrasing from the soloists, Whitehead in particular.
Album title-track Fear Is the Mother of Violence began as a loose improv jostle that swelled to a mix of long brass sounds reminiscent of Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra. Whitehead then ran through her rich repertoire of shapely boppish figures, abstract sawing sounds and sly whispers over Dudley Phillips' rugged bass-repeat. The later stages found the band blossoming, any early lack of cohesion now overcome. Warren's insistent guitar underpinned the hypnotic brass motif of the second-set opener, with Clifford inspirational under the dark, brooding horn of Precious Time."
John Fordham

Allaboutjazz 2005, Trevor Warren | 33 Jazz
"A lyrical and gently trippy album in which Trevor Warren, previously best known as leader of the world/jazz band Deva, brings together free improv, groove, and rock with music from India, the Middle East, and Africa. It whispers rather than shouts, and the prominent access-all-genres presence of saxophonist Mark Lockheart and drummer Seb Rochford gives it something of the flavour of Polar Bear in that group's more reflective moments.

Warren took the title Disassembler from Eric Dexler's book on nanotechnology, Engines of Creation. But while this is intimate and mostly delicate music, it certainly isn't minimalist: there is forward movement and linear development aplenty. It is, however, meditative, an oasis of unhurried reflection amongst the noise and clutter which otherwise bombard us.

The most frequently heard soloist is Lockheart, and much of the album features him in dialogue with either Warren, Rochford, or trumpeter Loz Speyer. The template is established on the opening Engines Of Creation, a serpentine, Indian-inspired tune which features Lockheart's quietly explorative tenor, even his multiphonic passages are sotto voce over Rochford's hypnotic toms and a delicate guitar and bass backdrop. Lockheart stays with the tenor for most of the album, switching to bass clarinet for Strange Salute and soprano for Dragon's Breath.

Warren, who wrote all the tunes, concerns himself more with creating background soundscapes than taking solos, the only real guitar solos, cool fusions of jazz, rock, and raga come on It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time and the relatively upbeat Baby and Nothing To Pay Until....

Disassembler doesn't force itself on you. If you don't make a conscious effort to focus on it, it could pass you by. But there is a quiet profundity about the recording, and if you slow down, centre yourself, and cut out the world around you for a while, you'll likely find it a refreshing and restorative experience. "
Chris May

Jazz Review Magazine, September 2005
"...(Warren) picks cyclically, with a spangled tone, perched somewhere adjacent to the sounds of Bill Frisell, Ry Cooder and John Abercrombie..."
"On the opening "Engines Of Creation", Sebastian Rochford maintains a rapping snare figure, Dudley Phillips worms out an intestinal bassline, whilst Mark Lockheart blows a red-cheeked tenor solo. This is a configuration that sets the tone and pace for much of the subsequent proceedings, with the Disassembler crew dedicated to the exploration of accumulated textures, evolving rhythms and sustained thoughtfulness. Lockheart is the chief soloist, but his bandmates usually keep up a constant weaving of melodic interaction, following the way of the democratic voice. Although this could loosely be called a groove project, its funk is mostly mellow, but not sickly in its lightness. The Disassembler feel isn't anywhere near as scrap- heaped as their name suggests. They prefer to spray the automobile in a soft lather rather than crush its mangled parts into a dry cube. This is no bad deal, as their introversion has a meaningful pulse, and is never mellow equalling bland."
Martin Longley

Jazzwise Magazine, September 2005
"..Saxophonist Mark Lockheart and drummer Seb Rochford bring the creativity and energy levels you would expect to Warren's music, but the guitarist himself is by no means overshadowed. His playing is heavily influenced by rock(the Grateful Dead and Carlos Santana came to mind at different points) and ethnic musics, and his compositions and rhythmic grooves which reveal similar influences provide good platforms for improvisation and group interaction, while at the same time avoiding the staple forms and routines of a mainstream jazz approach. Loz Speyer adds atmospheric trumpet alongside Lockheart's horns on selected tracks, and Dudley Phillips does his usual impeccable job on bass."
Kenny Mathieson

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