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The duo of London pianist Alexander Hawkins (Decoy, Convergence Quartet) and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo (Blue Notes, Circulasione Totale, &c.) alternating standards and original compositions with impressive empathy and masterful ability.

Hawkins, Alexander & Louis Moholo-Moholo
Keep Your Heart Straight

Hawkins, Alexander & Louis Moholo-Moholo: Keep Your Heart Straight (Ogun)
Label: Ogun    
Released in: Great Britain    

"I first heard Alexander Hawkins play - at the Vortex Jazz Club, with the Anthony Braxton's cornet-playing protégé Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist Dominic Lash and drummer Harris Eisenstadt in the Convergence Quartet. The music was an idiomatic white-knuckle ride, and all the players were variously fascinating - but the then 28 year-old Hawkins was a revelation, for the audacity of his ideas, the depth of his understanding of both the- matic and free-form musics, and for his Cecil Taylor-like stamina and power. At the end of that year, I made Hawkins my choice as the rising young player to watch in every media outlet I could get the news into. But his achievements since, including through-composed music, the jazz of Thelonious Monk or Steve Lacy, Hammond organ funk and a lot more, have exceeded all expectations. With this album, Hawkins explores vamp under floods of long-lined melody on Catch You On The Rebound, it's sometimes hard to believe such orchestral depth and drum-choir variety is the work of just two musicians. one of his most productive musical relationships, with the great South African percussionist Louis Moholo- Moholo. If you detect a glimpse or two of classic South African jazz

But this set is about delicacy as well as drama, audible in Moholo- Moholo's feathery cymbal textures, or Hawkins' fluid, spacious, treble- note overtures to slow-building improvisations. The standard songs (If I Should Lose You, Lakutshon' Ilanga and Prelude To A Kiss) show how imaginatively this duo joins past and present, whether breaking up a familiar melody into rugged chunks of Monkish chords, hiding it between trilling low-end notes and dissonant harmonies, or threading it through Moholo-Moholo's percus- sion monsoons. In the rich jazz history of an old lion making inspired new music with a young one, Keep Your Heart Straight deserves a very prominent place on the podium. in the solemn, hymn-like chords in Amaxesha Osizi or Hawkins' rocking, early-Abdullah drive on Hear Our Hearts, they represent the young Oxford pianist's enthusiasm for that culture's fusion of soulful- ness and townships jive, and the percussion giant's profound experiences of it, that drew these two together in the first place.

But, typically for both players, this session spans far wider horizons, and the pair traverse them with astonishing empathy and alert impulsiveness. From the opening's thoughtful piano speculations over softly pattering percussion to its storming power chords, through the harmonic subtlety glowing within the free-piano tour de force of Pure."-Ogun

"Alexander Hawkins is a composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader who is 'unlike anything else in modern creative music' (Ni Kantu) and whose recent work has reached a 'dazzling new apex' (Downbeat). A largely self-taught improviser, he works in a vast array of creative contexts. His own highly distinctive soundworld is forged through the search to reconcile both his love of free improvisation and profound fascination with composition and structure. In 2012, he was chosen as a member of the first edition of the London Symphony Orchestra's 'Soundhub' scheme for young composers. He also received a major BBC commission in late 2012 for a fifty minute composition: One Tree Found was first performed and broadcast in March 2013, and was subsequently performed and broadcast for the WDR in Cologne (2014). He has also twice been commissioned by the London Jazz Festival (once as composer, once as an arranger), and by the Cheltenham Jazz Festival (2016).

An in-demand sideman, 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, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Harris Eisenstadt, amongst many others. He has also been noted in recent years for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo. Concert appearances have taken him to club, concert and festival stages worldwide."

-Alexander Hawkins Website (

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Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Duo Recordings

Search for other titles on the Ogun label.

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Product Information:

UPC: 5020675572362

Label: Ogun
Catalog ID: OGCD 039
Squidco Product Code: 17073

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Recorded on October 24th, 2011 at Fish Factory, London.


Alexander Hawkins-piano

Louis Moholo-Moholo-drums, percussion

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Track Listing:

1. Heavy Manners 14:22

2. Amaxesha Osizi (Times of Sorrow) 7:37

3. Hear Our Hearts 8:17

4. If I Should Lose You 5:29

5. Pure Vision 5:47

6. Lakutshon' Ilanga 6:08

7. Catch You On The Rebound 5:51

8. Prelude To A Kiss 4:44

9. Keep Your Heart Straight 7:41