Monday 9 January 2017, 7.30pm
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 number of non-original songs (including Patty Waters-You Thrill Me; Why Is Love Such a Funny Thing; and Archie Shepp – Blasé) 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.
“as stunning as it was fresh’ (FT.com) ‘remarkable reinventions by two fearless originals” – The Guardian
Neil Charles / double bass
Steve Davis / drums
Alexander Hawkins / piano, compositions
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 an experimental vocalist and movement artist whose work melds different vocal styles encompassing free-improvisation, contemporary new music, sound art, music theatre and dance. She has worked and performed in a wide variety of contexts with leading artists including: Apartment House, Van Huynh Co, Steve Beresford, Sonia Boyce, John Butcher, Attila Csihar, Alexander Hawkins, Tansy Davies, George Lewis, Christian Marclay, Phil Minton, The Otolith Group, Evan Parker, Alasdair Roberts, David Toop, and Jason Yarde. She is co-founder of experimental jazz quartet the Hawkins/Mitchener Quartet (with Neil Charles, Stephen Davis and Alex Hawkins).
“Mitchener is a distinctive presence and interacts with her body and the remarkable sounds she produces: speech, soulful singing, breathless percussive bursts, skittering across octaves.” (Ben Luke, Evening Standard)
“SWEET TOOTH is a vital black British addition to those seminal creative statements of resistance and defiance from the African Diaspora.” (Kevin Le Genre, Jazzwise)