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veryan weston | john edwards | mark sanders | mercury concert

eman4028.jpg

Weston / Edwards / Sanders

Mercury Concert
Emanem / 4028

Veryan Weston / piano, John Edwards / bass, Mark Sanders / drums

Edwards and Sanders are one of London’s very best rhythm sections, and Veryan Weston one of its most criminally neglected pianists, so this disc is a pretty sure-fire winner before you even get the cellophane off. Anyone who has seen Weston live can testify to his intense concentration, that analytical stare he fixes on his keys or his playing partners as he hits the right notes time and again, or his abstracted, shut-eyed posture, like a chess player thinking two dozen moves ahead.

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Veryan Weston | Photo: Peter Gannushkin

Weston has something of Borah Bergman about him — that same cool musicality which manifests itself in apparently brutal outpourings of sound. He plays fast and loud — especially on this disc, actually — but never loose. He’s as good as any pianist of his generation in this music, and the level of recognition he has outside London really isn’t what it should be.

When Edwards and Sanders get together almost nothing can stop them. Sanders’ fluidity is just astonishing, and his sense of where to place a beat and how to insinuate a rhythm without resorting to a regular pulse is very special indeed. Edwards, on the other hand, is an extremely flexible player, equally comfortable with rock, pop, funk, jazz and improv. He brings this to bear in his range of approaches — no precious personal concept for him, just a pragmatic desire to do whatever the music needs moment to moment. Paradoxically, this gives him a fairly recognisable sound, as his woody pizzicato and over-rosined arco surface and dive in the midst of the storm.

All three are great listeners, which helps immensely, and as a group they can hit on ideas with near-simultaneity; they drift together, change course together and turn on a ha’penny when, it seems, no one of them really expects it. This is a really excellent piano trio, full of all the things which make the format continually challenging, and hence it’s everything a piano trio ought to be. Richard Cochrane