MARK WASTELL QUARTET
(confront collectors series ccs 50)
Olie Brice : double bass
Dominic Lash : double bass
Mark Wastell : violoncello
Alan Wilkinson : alto saxophone & bass clarinet
1. Huntington Ashram Monastery (Alice Coltrane) (36.50)
2. Lonely Woman (Ornette Coleman) (35.32)
Recorded by WTC Productions at the Hundred Years Gallery, London on the 17th April 2015.
Andrea Dellapiana: You recently opened a new path with your Quartet, whose first release (composed of two massive renditions of Alice Coltraneand Ornette Coleman) was published October. Would you like to talk about the record and this new project of yours?
Mark Wastell: I had a strong urge to acknowledge my jazz listening. I've never been in a group or come close to playing anything remotely resembling jazz or free jazz in the twenty years I've been performing. Yet, I've listened to jazz since I was sixteen years old. That was the beginning of my serious musical studies. I didn't go to university, I went to Ronnie Scott's for my education, beginning at seventeen. I was lucky enough to be of a certain age that still meant a lot of the greats were still alive and touring; Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Horace Silver, Jim Hall, George Coleman, Wayne Shorter, Ornette Coleman, Kenny Burrell, Dewey Redman, Mal Waldron, Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Lacy, Cecil Taylor and so many more, that's just the tip of the iceberg. I've made no secret that the formation of the new Quartet is directly influenced by a group led by Albert Ayler on a piece called 'For John Coltrane' from 1967. It featured Albert on alto, two double bassists, Alan Silva and Bill Folwell and Joel Friedman on cello. I've listened closely to that piece for thirty years and it continues to captivate me. It was time to put myself into a completely different arena. I'd worked previously with Dom and Olie in other - none jazz - situations. The saxophone position was more complex and took a lot of consideration. Alan creates the perfect blend of jazz articulation spiced with a free improvisers sophistication and integrity of line. Our debut concert was recorded and became the release on Confront. The first notes you hear on the album were the first we'd made together, no rehearsal, just straight in. I'd suggested the Coltrane piece to Olie and he got the bass intro under his fingers, the rest of the arrangement fell into place as we played, such is the skill of these guys. I knew Alan had an attraction to Ornette's 'Lonely Woman' and we played it that night in celebration of his recent 85th birthday. Around the time of our second concert a few weeks later, Ornette had just passed away, so at Alan's suggestion we played a version of 'Sadness'.
Extracted from a longer interview published November 2015: