The Squid's Ear Magazine

Hawkins, Alexander Trio (w/ Neil Charles / Stephen Davis): Carnival Celestial (Intakt)

Unique approaches to the piano trio format, alerted to the listener by merging synthetics and samples into the opening, bubbling carnival-esque "Rapture", then settling into more recognizable yet innovative approaches to creative, modern jazz through Hawkin's fascinating compositions, electronics drifting in and out at times but generally adhering to great, modern jazz.

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product information:

UPC: 7640120193980

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: ITK398.2
Squidco Product Code: 33406

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels w/ booklet
Recorded at Fish Factory, in London, UK, on September 20th and 21st, 2022, by Benedic Lamdin.


Alexander Hawkins-piano

Neil Charles-double bass, percussion

Stephen Davis-drums, percussion

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"British pianist and composer Alexander Hawkins is a creative epicenter of the London jazz scene and is regarded as one of the most innovative musicians with a surprising radius of action. His trio with Neil Charles and Stephen Davis was formed in 2012 and masterfully celebrates the connection of freedom and structure, composition and improvisation.

Carnival Celestial is a fantastic work of musical presence and impressively proves what is possible with piano, bass and drums - one of the more convention-laden formats in jazz practice. "Hawkins, Charles, and Davis clearly have moved the piano trio forward and stretched it's conceptual horizons with Carnival Celestial, and in doing so, they have contributed to it's ongoing vitality,"-Bill Shoemaker, from the liner notes

Artist Biographies

"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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"Neil Charles is a bassist, electronic producer and composer. He regularly performs, records and tours with numerous jazz, classical and contemporary music bands and ensembles like alex Hawkins, mingus big band, has played with Terence Blanchard, black top and is a member of the electro-acoustic jazz trio, Zed-U."

-Cafe Oto (

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Stephen Davis is an Irish-born, Belfast-based jazz/free-improv drummer and composer.

-Squidco 9/27/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Rapture 5:27

2. Puzzle Canon 6:32

3. Fuga, The Fast One 4:54

4. Canon Celestial 3:17

5. Rupture 4:52

6. Sarabande Celestial 5:32

7. Unlimited Growth Increases The Divide 5:03

8. If Nature Were A Bank, They Would Have Saved It Already 2:50

9. Carnival Celestial 6:22

10. Counterpoint Celestial 6:50

11. Echo Celestial 4:41

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Piano Trio (Piano Bass Drums)
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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