Thursday 26 April 2018, 7.30pm
ALEXANDER HAWKINS SOLO
‘Hawkins improvises with the strength and conviction that come from combining an advanced technique with a teeming imagination…[i]t isn't always cosy, but this is state-of-the-art contemporary piano’ - The Guardian
‘Hawkins draws favorable comparisons to some of the great innovative pianists of our time’ - All About Jazz
Alexander Hawkins’ solo performances have been described as ‘intensely intricate…powerful, technically brilliant and melodically inventive.’ First documented on his 2014 album ‘Song Singular’, they often range across whole swathes of his musical obsessions, all the while forging these into something coherent and personal
‘a revelation…[t]he rapidity of Hawkins' thought processes and co-ordination are staggering’ - London Jazz News
ALEXANDER HAWKINS/ELAINE MITCHENER QUARTET
'two fearless originals’ - The Guardian
'as stunning as it was fresh’ - FT.com
'The brilliance and urgency, the openness and the irresistible inner swing of the movement captivated the audience...a stunning many-sided sonic tour...the musical action went beyond known limits' - All About Jazz
‘direct currents of energy that are irresistible…by turns full of sharp irony, deep pathos and stark, confrontational resolve’ - Jazzwise
This quartet represents the first major collaboration of two of the most distinctive voices of their generation, and stakes out a remarkable common ground from the pair’s vast range of influences and experience. The repertoire fuses Mitchener’s unique way with both melody and abstraction, with Hawkins’ idiosyncratic compositional and pianistic world; as well as spotlighting reimaginings of a small number of non-original songs which reveal the influence of precursors such as Jeanne Lee and Linda Sharrock. Structurally, the group function as complete equals, veering radically from the traditional norm of ‘singer plus rhythm section’, instead treating this as only one possible dynamic amongst many. 'UpRoot', the group's debut album, is released on the Swiss Intakt label.
'An interplay of velvet glove and iron shackles' - Bad Alchemy
Neil Charles / double bass
Stephen Davis / drums
Alexander Hawkins / piano
Elaine Mitchener / voice
Alexander Hawkins is musician who is ‘unlike anything else in modern creative music’ (Ni Kantu) and whose recent work has reached a ‘dazzling new apex’ (Downbeat).
As a pianist, he has been described as ‘remarkable...possessing staggering technical ability and a fecund imagination as both player and composer.’ Concerning his organ playing, critic Brian Morton recently commented that ‘[t]he most interesting Hammond player of the last decade and more, [Hawkins] has already extended what can be done on the instrument.’
His writing has been said to represent ‘a fundamental reassertion of composition within improvised music’ (Point of Departure), and his voice one of the ‘most vividly distinctive...in modern jazz’ (The Jazzmann).
An in-demand collaborator as well as soloist, composer, and bandleader, Hawkins continues to be heard live and on record with vast array of contemporary leaders of all generations, including the likes of Evan Parker, John Surman, Joe McPhee, Mulatu Astatke, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, Han Bennink, Hamid Drake, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, Matana Roberts, and Shabaka Hutchings, amongst many others. He has also been noted for a number of years for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo.
Concert appearances have taken him to major club, concert and festival stages worldwide.
“…Hawkins is a really vital link in a long historical chain, and his ability to sculpt his own language from a deeply rooted creative bedrock is compelling” - Jazzwise
“Sounds like all the future jazz you might imagine without ever being able to conceive of the details” - The Guardian
Elaine Mitchener is a vocalist noted for her unique melding of styles ranging from contemporary classical, gospel, jazz, sound poetry, free-improvisation and contemporary movement theatre, and has worked with a wide range of artists and musicians. In 2015 she was a featured soloist for Christian Marclay's White Cube exhibition, with *astronautilus performed Sonia Boyce's Exquisite Cacophony for the opening/closing of Venice Biennale, and premiered two works: Of Leonardo da Vinci (Ultima Festival, Oslo) and in November Industrialising Initimacy at earthestic festival (Brighton Dome) followed by a UK tour. “Mitchener is a genre-crossing virtuoso” Financial Times.