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Hexagonal at Herts jazz festival: from left, John Donaldson, Graeme Flowers, Greg Heath, Simon Thorpe, Jason Yarde and Tristan Banks.

Hexagonal performing at Herts Jazz Festival: from left, John Donaldson, Graeme Flowers, Greg Heath, Simon Thorpe, Jason Yarde and Tristan Banks.

Hexagonal jazz gig at the Printworks

The popular Hastings-based jazz band Hexagonal, made up of highly respected local musicians who all have international reputations, are launching their new album McCoy and Mseleku with a special performance at The Printworks this Sunday. Julian Norridge reports.

Hexagonal came together in 2016 to play the music of the late great South African composer and multi-instrumentalist Bheki Mseleku, with whom bassist Simon Thorpe and pianist John Donaldson toured a decade or so ago. They joined up with drummer Tristan Banks, saxophonists Jason Yarde and Greg Heath and trumpeters Quentin Collins and Graeme Flowers.

In addition to Bheki’s compositions the group have added to the group’s repertoire with classic compositions by fabled pianist McCoy Tyner. The band also play their own original compositions.

Jason Yarde enjoys an international career both as a saxophonist and composer. He has worked with some of the great names in jazz including Tyner, Andrew Hill and Jack DeJohnette. His flugelhorn concerto All Souls Seek Joy was premiered by Hugh Masekela and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

New Zealand born tenor saxophonist Greg Heath has been resident in the UK since 1989 and has worked with a wide range of jazz and popular musicians, including Dr John, Mica Paris, Van Morrison and Joan Armatrading. He too is also a composer and has extensive experience writing for film, television and interactive media.

Graeme Flowers is one of the most in-demand players in the country and frequently plays top tier gigs in many genres. Graeme has just finished a world tour with Kylie Minogue, works regularly works with Kyle Eastwood, and has recently performed with artists such as Charlie Hunter and Tom Scott.

Pianist and arranger John Donaldson began playing jazz as part of the Cambridge Modern Jazz Club’s house rhythm section. After moving to California he worked with locals including Eddie Henderson, John Handy, Jeff Ballard, Donny McCaslin, Larry Grenadier and Red Holloway, to name a few. Back in England he’s performed with Art Themen, Alan Barnes, Norma Winstone, Don Weller, Art Farmer, Steve Grossman and Eric Alexander. He has also won ‘best pianist’ at the British Jazz Awards.

Bassist Simon Thorpe worked in Bheki Mseleku’s band and has become one the most popular bass players in the country, having worked with numerous artists including Stacey Kent, Bobby Wellins, Alan Barnes and Amy Winehouse. He leads his own 30-40’s swing band, Jivin Miss Daisy, and the electronic improv group Improphonics.

Drummer Tristan Banks has become one of the most sought-after young drummers on the scene playing kit and percussion. He has studied Afro-Brazilian styles extensively and besides working with many top jazz players he has also worked with artists covering a wide field of musical genres.


Hexagonal at The Printworks 14 Claremont, Hastings TN34 1HA, 8.30pm, Sunday 16 September. Tickets £7 on the door.


Posted 17:11 Friday, Sep 14, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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