Friday 27 April 2018, 7.30pm
ALEXANDER HAWKINS/EVAN PARKER DUO
Alexander Hawkins first played in one of Evan Parker’s groups around a decade ago. More recently, they have performed as a duo, documented on the 2016 Clean Feed album ‘Leaps in Leicester’.
‘There may be nearly forty years in age between them, but they read each other so well…there was no deference shown or allowances made on either part, and no let-up in the energy and invention’ - London Jazz News
ALEXANDER HAWKINS / EVAN PARKER / BLACK TOP (ORPHY ROBINSON / PAT THOMAS) / MATTHEW WRIGHT
Evan Parker / saxophone
Orphy Robinson / various/electronics
Pat Thomas / electronics
Matthew Wright / turntables
Alexander Hawkins / piano
The collaboration between Evan Parker and Black Top is documented on the Babel album ‘Black Top #2’; and that between Parker and Matthew Wright on the ‘mesmerizingly beautiful’ Psi album ‘Trance Map’.
Hawkins and Wright are relatively recent musical acquaintances; but as soon as the former heard the latter’s contributions to ‘Trance Map’, invited him to join for the session which was to become the ‘Unit[e]’ album.
Black Top and Hawkins have appeared together only once, in the context of an Evan Parker large ensemble. Robinson featured in the first incarnation of Hawkins’ ensemble a decade ago, in the context of which, the two appeared on the albums ‘No Now is So’ and ‘All There, Ever Out’. Both Oxford born and bred, Pat Thomas was a formative influence and key mentor to Hawkins.
This performance first presents the Parker/Hawkins duo; then a quintet - criss-crossed by existing relationships, but performing together for the very first time - which augments this acoustic duo with the turntable wizardry of Wright, and the unique electronica of Black Top.
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
"If you've ever been tempted by free improvisation, Parker is your gateway drug." - Stewart Lee
Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s. Parker played with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation and held a long-standing partnership with guitarist Derek Bailey. The two formed the Music Improvisation Company and later Incus Records. He also has tight associations with European free improvisations - playing on Peter Brötzmann's legendary 'Machine Gun' session (1968), with Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens (A trio that continues to this day), Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO).
Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance-state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time.
Orphy Robinson is one of the major figures of the jazz scene - he has released records on Blue Note and played with Don Cherry, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Courtney Pine, Jazz Warriors and Andy Shepherd.
He has composed for Film and TV- including “In answer to your question” for the Balanescu String Quartet and “ 42 Shades of Black” for Phoenix Dance Theatre,which was performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Currently leads the groups CODEFIVE- NUBIAN VIBES - he also plays in the groups BRUISE and CLEAR FRAME
"As the saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter once famously remarked in a 1992 interview with Mel Martin, “The word ‘jazz’ means to me no category”. You would similarly search in vain for a pigeon hole in which to place Black Top #5. An evening of surpassing invention and ambition, there might be a more creative, more engaging and more inspiring gig at this year’s London Jazz Festival. But I somehow doubt it." - The Arts Desk
Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.
"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann
Matt Wright works as a composer, improviser and sound artist at the edges of concert and club culture, working closely with Evan Parker in their shared Trance Map project. He has presented work at venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Le Poisson Rouge (New York), the Muziekcentrum an ‘t IJ (Amsterdam), The Kim Ma Theatre (Vietnam) and Abbey Road Studios, Tate Britain and Tate Modern (London). He has been commissioned by organisations such as hcmf//, Transit Festival (Belgium) and MATA Festival (New York), with broadcasts on TV across Europe, and globally on radio, including a two-hour focus on his work on the ABC Network in Australia. Reviews of his projects have appeared in the New York Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, Vietnam Today and the Financial Times. In 2014, he remixed Robert Wyatt's Cuckooland album into a concert-length collaboration with Elaine Mitchener, Tony Hymas and the Brodsky Quartet and in 2015 Totem for Den Haag (available on Music at the Edge of Collapse with Ensemble Klang) was one of three pieces selected by hcmf// to represent UK new music in the UK/Mexico dual year. His music is released on Ensemble Klang records, psi, Migro and Extra Normal. Matt studied in Huddersfield, The Hague and at Goldsmiths and is Professor of Composition and Sonic Art at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK.