Wednesday 11 December 2019, 7.30pm
Legendary German percussionist and free-jazz pioneer Sommer meets vituoso Scottish saxophonist MacDonald for a duo celebrating free jazz in all its glory – loose, intense, effervescent, and celebratory – before a very special quartet performance alongside pianist Alexander Hawkins and bassist John Edwards.
Günter ‘Baby' Sommer & Raymond MacDonald performances are characterised as charismatic, energetic, free-wheeling, joyous, wondrous and spontaneous music making that can electrify a room with subtle textures, fiery passion and glorious rhythms. They have toured and performed to critical acclaim at festivals and jazz clubs in Portugal, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Günter ‘Baby’ Sommer is a hallowed name in European improvised music and is regarded as one of the founding fathers of German free improvisation. Raymond MacDonald is a founding member of the ground-breaking Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and over a 30-year career, has released over 60 CDs and worked with a host of world leading musicians working across the spectrum of contemporary music, including Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Evan Parker, David Byrne and Jim O’Rourke.
Raymond MacDonald / alto & soprano saxophones
Günter "Baby" Sommer / drums & percussion
Alexander Hawkins / piano
John Edwards / double bass
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
John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with Evan Parker, Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Lol Coxhill, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others.
"I think John Edwards is absolutely remarkable: there’s never been anything like him before, anywhere in jazz." - Richard Williams, The Blue Moment