Wednesday 13 December 2023, 7.30pm
Alexander Hawkins / piano, sampler
Neil Charles / double bass
Stephen Davis / drums
Delighted to host Alexander Hawkins Trio to launch new album Carnival Celestial, on Intakt.
Alexander Hawkins is widely recognised as one of contemporary creative music’s most innovative and imaginative voices. Working in a vast array of creative contexts, his own unique soundworld is shaped by a profound fascination with composition and structure, alongside a love of chance and open forms.
The musicians of the trio have played together for many years in other Hawkins-led projects, including as the heartbeat of his ‘Mirror Canon’ which released Break a Vase on Intakt Records in early 2022. They have also honed their idiosyncratic approach in the context of three distinctive quartets: with John Surman, Elaine Mitchener, and most notably Anthony Braxton, under whose leadership they performed on the monumental 13CD live box set Quartet (Standards) 2020.
Together in the Trio, the huge sound and immaculate sense of time of Neil Charles (aka producer Ben Marc) and the empathic drumming of Stephen Davis produce a masterful interplay of freedom and structure, composition and improvisation. Their album Carnival Celestial was released by Intakt Records in 2023, meeting with a host of critical accolades, as had his previous offering in the trio format, 2015’s Alexander Hawkins Trio.
"The trio possesses a genuine connection, one that allows each player to push, prod, stretch, and, at times, creatively sabotage the proceedings. Such activity throws nobody off; they instead react with quicksilver grace to every act of spontaneity." – Chicago Reader
Alexander Hawkins’ work ranges from his acclaimed solo performances (‘intensely intricate…powerful, technically brilliant and melodically inventive’) through to works on a much larger canvas, such as his Togetherness Music ('[a] masterpiece that can stand next to the best works of Mitchell, Braxton or Parker’). He collaborates regularly with all generations of creative musicians, including the likes of Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, Evan Parker, John Surman, Joe McPhee, Hamid Drake, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Sofia Jernberg, Shabaka Hutchings, and many others. Further creative associations, with two very different icons of African music, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Mulatu Astatke, stretch back for well over a decade. He has been widely commissioned as a composer, including by the likes of the BBC, Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal, and numerous festivals. His performance schedule takes him to club, concert hall, and festival stages worldwide.
"Sounds like all the future jazz you might imagine without ever being able to conceive of the details" – The Guardian
Neil Charles is one of the most in-demand musicians on the scene, with a huge array of credits to his name, including Jack DeJohnette, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Mingus Big Band, Jose James, Jerry Dammers, Courtney Pine, and Terence Blanchard. His own projects have included Zed U, with Shabaka Hutchings and Tom Skinner, and the more recent ensemble Dark Days, dealing with the work of James Baldwin. Most recently, he has been heard across the international scene with Gabriels. As well as being known as a bass player with a huge sound and immaculate sense of time, he is equally renowned as a producer, going by the alias Ben Marc.
"Bassist Neil Charles went flying, from the first moment filling the space with the sound of his mighty wings Henning Bolte," – Europe Jazz Media Chart
Belfast-based drummer Stephen Davis is one third of heavyweight UK free-jazz trio, Bourne Davis Kane, alongside pianist Matthew Bourne and double-bassist Dave Kane. He also leads the quartet, Human, featuring Alexander Hawkins, Alex Bonney and Dylan Bates. He was the drummer in the Anthony Braxton Standards Quartet, and is active across the UK and European scenes, having played with the likes of Mark Ribot, Evan Parker, Ralph Alessi, Kris Davis, John Taylor, Rufus Reid, Paul Dunmall, Django Bates, Van Morrison, and many others.
"…the most musical of drummers, ever empathic and sensitive…" – Jazzwise