The Paul Hemmings Uketet
Gig Seeker Pro

The Paul Hemmings Uketet

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




Paul Hemmings is a talented guitarist who is as deft a distortionist as he is an outside tight-rope experimenter, offering an aural painting that is as bold as it is exciting. This is a successful album, not just for the coup of landing the famed avant-garde Danish saxophonist John Tchicai (a veteran of work with both John Coltrane and Archie Shepp) but for Hemmings compositional skills and the equally compelling aural/ artistic participation of the brilliant drummer, Adam Issadore, and the equally impressive electric and upright bassist, Gaku Takanashi. Combined with Hemmings outstanding guitar and mastery of the studio, this is a wholly exhilarating and expansive collection of eight brilliant original compositions. Benefiting from the drama that the musicians bring to the scores, it shifts from the rhythmic to the cacophonous sublimely.

The opening “Under A New Mexico Sky,” also reprised as the finale, is worth the price of admission, alone. Here Tchicai blows a gorgeous motif under which the trio swirls and dances, with Hemmings delivering an intense guitar passage, particularly in the reprise, that dazzles. On “Radio Free America,” following a radio dial scanning intro, replete with static, the assembled break into a tune that incorporates elements of Roswell Rudd with Mingus, with guitar and tenor working especially well off each other. On “The Battle New York City,” bass and drums set up a hard tenor blow under which distorted guitar blows as mightily. “A Conversation In Central Park” opens with a serene music scape that brings early morning to mind before giving way to the sunshine and greater activity. The timbre and mood throughout is adventurous and riveting. Exemplary disc. - Mark E. Gallo

"All About Jazz, Los Angeles"

"Student meets teacher on a bravely original outing from John Tchicai and his former pupil Paul Hemmings. Heavily amplified and clearly inspired by indie rock, Hemmings' recording is part Zu and part Bitches Brew. And while such a combination may not play to the hearts or ears of the jazz standard, Letter From America's contents are delightfully creative adventures. The harsh and jagged 'Radio Free America,' with its radio tuning static, is in stark contrast to Hemmings' melodic opening 'Under A New Mexico Sky,' a selection that wouldn't be out of place in Bill
Frisell's catalog. But that is just how Hemmings seems to roll. Seagulls
introduce 'Venice Beach Boardwalk,' a showcase for drummer Adam Issadore, who puts some Beach Blanket Bingo into his intro solo. The remainder is Tchicai going tropical, doing his best Sonny Rollinsesque calypso. The jaunty, upbeat 'Ous Ous' is a propulsive joy from beginning to end. It is difficult to remember Tchicai playing this impassioned in years. An extended 'Code (R)ed' gives Hemmings and Tchicai ample room to tweak and scrutinize with deliberate pace. The new generation's Frisell, Hemmings' mixture of cultures, influences, and genres exploring the edges of harmony and rhythm is remarkably fresh and a complete success. Like another forward thinker, Ken Vandermark, Hemmings is pushing the boundaries of convention and structure, seducing jazz's modern temper and molding his very own profound form and style in the process. Letter From America is certain to be one of the year's best albums.

- Peter Sanchez

"All About Jazz, website"

"The Paul Hemmings Trio with saxophonist John Tchicai mixes some styles around...and still comes up with a cohesive set of sounds. The rock-informed Letter From America possesses some ragged edges and a visceral feel with some free jazz shadings, making it an excellent from-the-gut outing." - Dan McClenaghan

"All About Jazz, Toronto"

"When guitarist Paul Hemmings says that he views jazz through a wide angle lens, he is not making an idle boast. He shows just how adventurous a composer he is on this recording, his third as leader... Hemmings springs a delightful surprise on the wide encompassing 'Venice Beach Boardwalk.' He brings in loops and samples which, in a sense, are a red herring. Tchicai comes in and plays a klezmer melody. If that weren't enough, the rhythm section goes into a reggae backbeat for a calypso melody. In comes some free flowing jazz from Hemmings before he settles into mainstream harmony with Tchicai. It's all done with finesse and is a fine accomplishment." - Jerry D'Souza

"Jazz Times"

This collaboration between guitarist Hemmings and avant-garde saxophonist Tchicai is a curious amalgam, contrasting amorphous freejazz with the pounding beat of surf rock, or mixing whispered dialogues with intense tugs-of-war and happy little grooves. The underlying theme here is elusive, although geographic song titles suggest something relating to American diversity. What is clear is the rapport between the two leaders, who whirl about each other furiously at one moment and kick back into a soulful conversation in the next. - Forrest Dylan Bryant


Introducing...The Paul Hemmings Uketet [2012, Leading Tone Records]



With The Paul Hemmings Uketet, the unassuming four-stringed Hawaiian instrument takes its place front and center, alongside bass and drums, in a well-seasoned jazz combo that pushes the boundaries of what has often been considered a mere novelty instrument. Based in New York City, The Uketet (pronounced yook-TET) serves up a savory blend of jazz standards, contemporary classics, and original music, all the while showcasing the instrumental virtues of its key ingredient. From the Hawaiian Islands to the Island of Manhattan, The Uketet combines the warm spirit of Aloha with the vibrancy of New York's world-renowned jazz scene to concoct a tantalizing taste of instrumental ukulele music.

A jazz guitar player by training, Paul's love affair with the ukulele started while visiting the island of Maui for a friend's wedding. What began as a light-hearted fling soon developed into a full-fledged obsession. Over the next few years, Paul's ukulele found its way into more and more of his jazz guitar gigs until he decided it was time to launch a project that would feature the smaller instrument in its own right. After enlisting long-time friend and colleague Gaku Takanashi on bass and versatile session ace Mike Campenni on drums, The Uketet was born. The group set to work playing gigs around New York, developing their distinct sound with arrangements that blend familiar melodies with exotic harmonies and the rhythms of the world. In any given performance, you'll find The Uketet incorporating elements of hard-swinging jazz, latin-infused polyrhythms, and reggae-tinged grooves, all peppered with fancy flights of improvisation. With a repertoire ranging from Thelonious Monk and Antonio-Carlos Jobim to Bob Marley and The Beatles

Since releasing their first full-length studio album in the spring of 2012, was recently released on Leading Tone Records.