"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,
"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."
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.
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.
"...(one of) the premier contemporary jazz units in Britain..."
"...picking out individuals isn’t the point –
this is just a brilliant ensemble."
"They rock too."
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."
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
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."
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
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
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. "
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."
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."