‘A dazzling new apex’
‘sounds like all the future jazz you might imagine without ever being able to conceive of the details’
‘moments of brilliance’
‘a colossal talent’
BBC Radio 3, Jazz on 3
‘one of the most vividly distinctive [ensembles] in contemporary jazz’
‘unlike anything else in modern creative music’
reviews of current release:
…and others in print or on subscription (please use the contact page for details)
Alexander Hawkins is a pianist, Hammond organist, and composer, described by recent reviews as a ‘young master’ and ‘one of the most unique voices in contemporary music’. His highly individual soundworld is forged through the search to reconcile both his love of free improvisation and profound fascination with composition and structure; resulting, besides his leader projects, in his regular presence onstage alongside a range of established masters such as Louis Moholo-Moholo (Keep Your Heart Straight, Ogun, 2012), Joe McPhee (Oto, Bo’Weavil Recordings, 2010), and Mulatu Astatke, as well as peers such as North Americans Taylor Ho Bynum and Harris Eisenstadt (Song/Dance, Clean Feed, 2010). He has also performed with the likes of Evan Parker, Wadada Leo Smith, Marshall Allen, and Sonny Simmons.
Alongside the leader’s piano, this, the second incarnation of the Ensemble, gathers five of the UK’s most exciting creative musicians: bassist Neil Charles, drummer Tom Skinner, violinist Dylan Bates, guitarist Otto Fischer, and BBC New Generation Artist Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet: musicians whose collective credits include Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, Terence Blanchard, Brandon Ross, and countless others. Of the Ensemble’s original line-up, one reviewer wrote that ‘[t]he range of tonal colors and breadth of activity that this ensemble can actualize is staggering’; this personnel expands this palette to even more daring ends.
The Ensemble has released two albums – 2007’s no now is so (FMR) and 2012’s All There, Ever Out (Babel) – both to widespread critical acclaim.
Top Ten Albums of 2009, Bill Shoemaker, Village Voice
Best Debut Album of 2009, Bill Shoemaker, Village Voice
Top Ten Albums of 2009, Clifford Allen, Ni Kantu, Village Voice
Best Debut Album of 2009, Clifford Allen, Village Voice
Top Albums of 2009, Derek Taylor, Dusted
Top Sessions of 2009, BBC Radio 3, Jazz on 3
‘such absolute joy and strength…there aren’t words to describe it…an incredible record’
(Clifford Allen, Bagatellen)
‘An album to savour for its sheer adventurousness, diversity and freshness’
(Chris Parker, The Vortex)
‘an unqualified success’
(John Eyles, All About Jazz)
Bringing together five of the country’s most exciting young creative musicians, alongside established star multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson, this sextet exploits its highly unusual instrumentation to explore structural boundaries and the composition/improvisation question. The band members’ performance credits include Evan Parker, Joe McPhee, Louis Moholo, Lester Bowie, Don Cherry, Sonny Simmons, Lol Coxhill, Mark Helias, and many others. Featuring original compositions by the leader (‘one of the brightest rising young stars of British jazz and improvisation’, All About Jazz), together with arrangements of works by composers such as Braxton, Ra, and others, the musicians come together to create a compelling and unique soundworld. As put by one reviewer, ‘[t]he range of tonal colors and breadth of activity that this ensemble can actualize is staggering’. Their debut album, No Now Is So, is on FMR Records; the second, recorded following a UK tour in July 2010, will be released in 2011.
Leader Hawkins was recently named by John Fordham (The Guardian), BBC Jazz on 3, Duncan Heining (Jazzwise), and Oliver Weindling (The Vortex, Babel) in Jazzwise’s end-of-year ‘Who To Look Out For In 2010’ feature. The Alexander Hawkins Ensemble has been featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Jazz on 3’ programme, as well as in its ‘Best Sessions of 2009’ programme. In September, Hawkins was named by NPR in the United States as one of ‘Five Young British Jazz Artists to Watch’.
Hawkins is also co-leader of the transatlantic ‘Convergence Quartet’ (featuring Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, and Dominic Lash), whose second album was recently released on Clean Feed. As an organist, he has been feted by Brian Morton as ‘The most interesting Hammond player of the last decade and more’; his recent album as part of the trio ‘Decoy’, also featuring Joe McPhee, has been called by All About Jazz ‘a performance – and a record – for the ages’.
Click to listen:
Tatum Totem III
For all booking/enquiries, please contact Alexander Hawkins using the contact page.