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Niesicer, Angelika / Alexander Hawkins : Soul In Plain Sight (Intakt)

After a series of performances in Europe in 2020, the duo of German saxophonist Angelika Niescier (Angelika Niescier sublim) and British pianist Alexander Hawkins recorded this passionately charged and intimate duo at the Loft in Koln, Germany, finding the two in a high-speed dance of weaving notes and ardent expression, a brilliant set from two virtuoso players.

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product information:

UPC: 7640120193690

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: ITK369.2
Squidco Product Code: 31392

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Loft, in Koln, Germany, in September, 2020, by Christian Heck.


Angelika Niescier-saxophone

Alexander Hawkins-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"The exceptional musician Angelika Niescier is one of those extraordinary women who have been giving new contours to the European jazz scene for some time. She is not only a determined artist with unrivaled energy, rich sound palette and virtuoso technique, but also composes for film, theater, big band, ballet and symphony orchestras. Niescier has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the "Prize for Young Artists" in North-Rhine Westphalia, was the first "improviser in residence" in the renowned jazz city of Moers, and received the Echo Jazz for sublim III -thing CD of the year.

Niescier played with jazz greats such as Joachim Kühn, Steve Swallow, Achim Kaufmann, Jim Black, Simon Nabatov, Julia Hulsmann, Nasheet Waits, Ralph Alessi, Tyshawn Sorey, Ulrike Haage ...

She has performed with her own projects on the most important stages and festivals in Europe and toured in Central Asia (eg the Goethe Institute), Italy, Greece, Croatia, Egypt, Mexico, USA, Switzerland, Canada, South Korea, Bahrain, Gaza, West Bank, Iraq, Lebanon, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Russia ...

She regularly gives concerts for various radio and television houses (including WDR, Bavarian Radio, Saarland Radio, Radio Bremen).

Whether soloprograms, continuous work with their working quartet Angelika Niescier sublim, the diverse themes of the composition or fulfillment of compositions for film, theater and dance - the central theme of their works is to blend complex composition and improvisation into an organic whole. She understands the influence of the word, the (film) image, the movement and the visual arts as an important inspiration."

-Angelika Niescier Website (Translated by Google) (

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"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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track listing:

1. Brawls And Squabbles 2:55

2. Arhythm Songy 4:57

3. Why Didn't You? 2:46

4. Un:Tamed 5:54

5. Shipwrecked Words 3:40

6. Scops 3:11

7. Weft 0:57

8. Nexus 6:40

9. Metamorphose Einer Karelle 4:29

10. Loom 1:33

11. As Hemispheres At Home 5:03

12. Limnetic Zone 3:45

13. Tar'Ai 4:36

14. Scope 1:56
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"When Alexander Hawkins played at the Jazzfest Berlin in a duo with the American trumpeter Wadada leo Smith, he met the saxophonist Angelika Niescier. Niescier was playing at the festival with her New York Trio with bassist Christopher Tordini and drummer Tyshawn Sorey ("The Berlin Concert", Intakt CD 305). Niescier has also been honored in Berlin with the albert Mangelsdorff Prize, Germany's most prestigious jazz award.

Hawkins is fascinated by Niescier's saxophone playing, and Niescier in turn is ardent about Hawkins' music. They stand on the same ground - both have their roots in jazz, and both love the jazz avant-garde of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor. Two technically skilled instrumentalists with sparkling temperament, drive and joy in experimentation.

After several duo concerts, the studio album by Niescier and Hawkins, recorded at the loft in Cologne, is now available. The American jazz critic Stephanie Jones writes in the liner notes: "Soul in Plain Sight reveals layers of mutual navigation. Angelika Niescier and alexander Hawkins court similarities and delight in differences... buoying and challenging each other's inclinations, the artists navigate shared sound with compassion and nuance."-Intakt

"Some pairings were just meant to be. Exhibit one, Soul In Plain Sight by the duo of Angelika Niescier and Alexander Hawkins. Niescier, the Polish-born Germany-based saxophonist, met the British pianist Hawkins at the Berlin Jazzfest. Their mutual admiration led to a brief tour and this recording. The music succeeds here because of the musicians' balanced approach and compatible natures. Opening with the cleanse and purge of the improvised "Brawls And Squabbles," the pair spar with push/pull jabs. Hawkins hammers fisted notes while Niescier delivers squawks and overblown notes as this opening salvo announces this new partnership.

Of the fourteen tracks, eight are improvised, three were penned by Niescier and two by Hawkins. The lone cover is "Arhythm Songy" by Muhal Richard Abrams. Recorded in 1977 in a session with saxophonist Anthony Braxton, the composition links Niescier and Hawkins to both the AACM and Braxton. Hawkins would be engaged by Braxton to tour Europe in 2020 playing jazz and pop standards, which can be heard in the massive 13-CD box set Quartet (Standards) 2020 (New Braxton House, 2021) and Niescier draws much of her inspiration (and sound) from Braxton. That connection can be heard or her Intakt recordings with Tyshawn Sorey and Christopher Tordini. The listener can can favor either musician's compositions or choose their free improvisations. Niescier's "Metamorphose Einerka Karelle" plays out as drunken bebop and Hawkins' "Scops" tinkle trinkles as an alluring ballad. The very brief "Weft," "Loom," and "Scope," which together don't add up to five minutes of music, are classics in miniature asking for an encore, as does this duo. More please."-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
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European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
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