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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CD Review: Alexander Hawkins Trio - Alexander Hawkins Trio

Alexander Hawkins (piano), Neil Charles (double bass) & Tom Skinner (drums & percussion)
(Review by Russell)
Alexander Hawkins is one of the most impressive pianists of his generation. Forging a path as an improvising musician, his love of the jazz tradition marks him out as one to watch in the coming years. Working with Anthony Braxton and Louis Moholo-Moholo has won him an international profile in the field of improvisation but it is his clear and genuine love and respect for the tradition that is refreshing in an improv world all too often reluctant to acknowledge past masters.
Alexander Hawkins’ trio CD – the eponymous Alexander Hawkins Trio – comprising eight compositions will delight hard-core listeners of improvised music and, in turn, is sure to appeal to the open-eared listener coming from the tradition. The opening track Sweet Duke cannot be other than a reference to Edward Kennedy Ellington. The final track Blue Notes for a Blue Note (Joy to You) is an homage to Moholo-Moholo. Then there is 40HB (for Taylor Ho Bynum), Hawkins’ American collaborator in the US-UK Convergence Quartet. Some of his favourite albums feature piainists Art Tatum, Duke and Elmo Hope. Ghostly echoes of the greats can be heard in Hawkins’ music, not as clichéd reference, rather as integral elements of his art.
On this new recording Hawkins has called upon two of the best and busiest musicians working on the scene today. Bassist Neil Charles’ cv boasts the Mingus Big Band and Mulatu Astatke. Tom Skinner (drums) works across the spectrum including his tenure with Sons of Kemet and beyond jazz to other music. The rhythmic foundation is there (it’s what these guys do) but the spirit of collective improvisation can be heard on all tracks. Alexander Hawkins Trio CD is available now on Alexander Hawkins Music (AH1001). Unreservedly recommended.               
Russell.

2 comments :

Alexander Hawkins said...

Hi Russell, thanks so much for the generous review - really appreciate you taking the time!

I should just add that although I'll have the privilege of taking part in a large Braxton project in May with the man himself, I haven't actually worked with him before up until this point...though it's absolutely true to say I've been a long time student and admirer of his recordings, compositions, writings, and so on!

Anyway, more importantly - a big thank you for this write-up - it's much appreciated!

Lee said...

Many thanks to you and Russell for great review of Alexander Hawkins. Very glad Russell enjoyed it! The launch was really fabulous.. they were all soaring after a few days on the road.

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