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Alexander Hawkins (1st Show)


Alexander Hawkins – Piano
Neil Charles – Bass
Jon Scott – Drums

Alexander Hawkins is a composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader who is ‘unlike anything else in modern creative music’ and whose recent work has reached a ‘dazzling new apex’. Working 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.

His writing has been said to represent ‘a fundamental reassertion of composition within improvised music’, and his voice one of the ‘most vividly distinctive…in modern jazz’.

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.’

He is a frequent solo performer, and also appears in groupings ranging from duo (with the likes of Evan Parker, Louis Moholo-Moholo, John Surman, Han Bennink, Hamid Drake, Sofia Jernberg and Tomeka Reid), through to large ensembles (‘Unit[e]…is a free-jazz masterpiece’, Free Jazz). His co-led quartet with the vocalist Elaine Mitchener ‘probably [sets] a new standard for improvised music with song’ (Jazzism). His most recent work, Togetherness Music, was released by Intakt Records in January 2021, and has been called ‘[a] masterpiece that can stand next to the best works of Mitchell, Braxton or Parker’.

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, Wadada Leo Smith, Marshall Allen, Mulatu Astatke, Han Bennink, Hamid Drake, Michael Formanek, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, Matana Roberts, Angelika Niescier, and Shabaka Hutchings, amongst many others. For over a decade, he has also been noted for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo. He has also performed twice as part of Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome, as well as touring and recording with the Anthony Braxton Standard Quartet.

In 2012, he was chosen as a member of the first edition of the London Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Soundhub’ scheme for young composers. He has been widely commissioned, by the likes of the BBC, festivals such as the London and Berlin Jazz Festivals, and contemporary music groups such as the Riot Ensemble. He was named ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in the 2016 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. In 2018, he was elected a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri.


Welcome to the Vortex. Although the government is relaxing its Covid restrictions on July 19th 2021 the Vortex will continue to operate measures to protect users of the premises.

Please note the following:

  • Please buy tickets in advance as there will be no door sales.
  • We ask you not to attend gigs if you have or think you may have any Covid-19 symptoms. If you can’t make a gig because you have to self-isolate then just get in touch by filling out this form and we’ll give you a voucher for another gig.
  • We will ask you on entry to sign in for NHS Test and Trace either using the NHS Covid app or manually
  • There will be no standing at gigs. Everyone who books a ticket will be allocated a seat, but we cannot guarantee that you will have a table.
  • Orders for drinks and snacks will be taken and paid for using the Butlr app which you can download on arrival. (If you do not have a smartphone then your order will be taken at the table and you can make a contactless payment. We do not accept cash.)
  • We ask that everyone wears a mask when moving around inside the building.
  • Automatic hand sanitiser stations are provided at various places within the building and we encourage regular use of hand sanitiser.
  • Full details of the measures that we are taking to prevent transmission of Covid are set out in our risk assessment and management plan which can be found on our website.
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