Source: We Need No Swords.
An exposure to free jazz in his late teens, both from his childhood home near Colchester and through trips into the capital, proved a gateway drug that helped steer him towards his own entrance into the community as a player. A short-lived dalliance as a piano and sax duo with a young colleague in a local village hall (“we thought we could be Keith Tippett and Andy Shepard,“) gave way to a serious engagement with the cello, Wastell’s first chosen instrument, in the early 90s. He says: “I really wanted to be a bass player, but I couldn’t afford a bass. One day, hanging in a window in a music shop in Colchester High Street was a cello. I think it was £80, so I bought it.”
Wastell’s explorations with the cello informed his early appearances with the trio IST, alongside Rhodri Davies and Simon H. Fell. A frenetic period of gigging and recording followed, Wastell’s work with IST complemented by appearances with Derek Bailey, John Butcher, Evan Parker and just about anyone who was anyone in the experimental music landscape.