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Vaughan Hawthorne-Nelson

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Biography of Vaughan Hawthorne-Nelson

VAUGHAN HAWTHORNE NELSON
Over the past two decades saxophonist and composer Vaughan Hawthorne-Nelson has crafted an unmistakable sound that is deeply communicative. Those privileged to hear him live, are immediately struck by the depth of emotion, spirit and mastery he brings to every performance. At the age of 38, the London born saxophonist now seems poised to make a major contribution to contemporary music.

This remarkable musician is in part the product of an unusual journey unique amongst his contemporaries. Accepted into the world famous Berklee College of Music at the age of seventeen, by twenty he had already recorded two albums ‘Emanon’ & ‘The Path’ signalling his intention to follow in the footsteps of his hero the great John Coltrane. In the shadow of the master Vaughan soon became absorbed in spiritual studies, leading to a number of profound experiences highlighted in Richard Olivier’s book ‘Shadow of The Stone Heart’. Taking a five year hiatus from music, Hawthorne-Nelson devoted himself to the mentoring and teaching of disaffected youth.

It was not until 1995 that Vaughan felt the call to music once more. Taking the bold step to form his own record label TML Records (which stands for Timeless) he released the aptly titled ‘Emergence’. The rewards of his personal journey were immediately apparent. Emergence has been described as “...an accomplished, powerful and spiritually uplifting album...”. ‘The Gift’ followed a year later and is imbued with a spirit of joy and release. It is a celebration of the gift of music and life - a journey of faith and courage. To hear his music, one can be in no doubt of his ability to engage the spiritual dimensions of music.

In 1999 Vaughan released ‘See You There’ featuring a stellar cast: South African pianist Bheki Mseleku, Mark Mondesir on drums and Jeremy Brown on acoustic bass. Bheki was to be an ideal companion to the searching, spiritual sound of his music. The album and subsequent tour cemented Vaughan’s reputation as a world class performer and was followed in 2001 by the live release of the band in breathtaking form ‘Live at The Wardrobe’.

In 2005 Vaughan wrote ‘The Freedom Suite’ receiving its premier performance at The Purcell Room in London with maestros Julian Joseph on piano and Gary Husband on drums. The suite is dedicated to Aram Rawf a Kurdish asylum seeker and close friend of Vaughan’s fighting Home Office deportation to war torn Iraq. This epic work completes Vaughan’s journey through personal transformation to embrace the greater call of music. The immediacy of its message of healing, hope and unity is a welcome response to the current social and political landscape.

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