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An interview with flautist...

John Hackett

John Hackett and flute with special head-jointComposer and flautist John Hackett comes from both classical and rock backgrounds, working as soloist and orchestral player with classical ensembles, and with rock guitarist Steve Hackett. Playing with Symbiosis has been an interesting change for him:

'I have learned an enormous amount from working with the other musicians in Symbiosis,' John says. 'Coming from a mainly classical background myself, I was so impressed by the ability they all have to improvise and allow the music to find its own course. It's hard to pin a label on what we produce, which I think shows its originality. Elements of classical, folk, jazz and world music freely intermingle in a kaleidoscopic fusion of sound.'

'At the centre is Clive, who as well as being a talented multi-instrumentalist, is a genius with sound technology (he is one of the few people who know how to record a flute well!) He uses the recording studio as an instrument in its own right. Surely this must be the way forward. When we improvise as a group or in pairs, things seem to happen in a way that none of us would have predicted. Often we'll be listening back and I'll say, "Did I really play that?"

All the great composers such as Bach and Mozart were fabulous improvisers - it's a skill which is at the heart of creativity and is sadly neglected in conventional classical training. Even if someone is not attempting to improvise at a professional level, it can be a valuable way of expressing and dealing with emotion, and can therefore be very therapeutic for both performer and audience alike.'

John Hackett has recently worked with Symbiosis to help compose the ambient music for two albums of guided relaxations by U.S. therapist Denise Linn, titled Angels! Angels! Angels! and Phoenix Rising. He has published three books and CDs of original music written specially to help new flute-players to learn the instrument; released an album of original compositions for flute and piano titled Velvet Afternoon at the beginning of March, 2004; and more recently worked on Prelude to Summer – for Flute and Guitar (see below), which features guest guitarists Chris Glassfield and Steve Hackett and was released at the end of 2008.

John plays flutes (and occasional guitar and keyboards!) on these albums by Symbiosis: (click on any cover to find out more and hear him play!)

Touching the CloudsAmber and JadeThe Comfort ZoneSea of LightSong of the Peach Tree Spring

Dancing in your DreamsAutumn DaysTears of the MoonLake of Dreams

or listen to John on these tracks from Touching the Clouds: Nimbus; Lakeside; and Wrapped in Evening Mists ~ and these from Amber and Jade: Light After; Jasmine & Rose; The Beauty Within; Golden Light from the Sea; Sun on the Water; Dancing with the Dawn.

Space (blue)

Float away with... SYMBIOSIS

NEW from flautist John Hackett:

Prelude to SummerPrelude to Summer – for Flute and Guitar

with Steve Hackett & Chris Glassfield

OUT NOW: 18 melodic pieces composed by John Hackett, following on from his duo album "Sketches of Satie" with Steve Hackett and "Velvet Afternoon" with pianist Sally Goodworth. Here John plays both flute and guitar, joined by brother Steve and classical guitarist Chris Glassfield. (Released Nov. 2008)

"This album is a kind of homecoming as the guitar kindled my first love of music"

Listen/Buy through this link to Symbiosis

The album is also available for £11.49 (inc. P&P) from John's website:

Velvet Afternoon Front CoverClive Williamson of Symbiosis says:

"John was a founder member of Symbiosis back in 1988, and it's been a real pleasure to work with him on nine album releases, as well as collaborating with him on a number of projects to write music specially for BBC radio programmes and for several albums and a video by Denise Linn. You can check out his beautiful performances on our albums by clicking on any of the covers above. I guess up to now he has been best known for his superb flute-playing on albums by guitarist Steve Hackett and by our group, Symbiosis, but I'm very pleased to see that he is finally releasing his own classical and song-based material! (It turns out that John is a great singer, by the way!) His first acoustic recording is an album of his own compositions for flute and piano, featuring the pianist Sally Goodworth.

Velvet Afternoon is inspired by the music of Erik Satie and other influential classical composers and is richly melodic. The style is distinctly classical but the emphasis is on good tunes with a relaxing contemporary feel. Following on from the success of Sketches of Satie, where John and his brother Steve beautifully re-interpreted Erik Satie's piano works on flute and guitar, John Hackett now proves that he is a gifted composer in his own right. The combination of John's flute-playing and Sally Goodworth's mellifluous piano accompaniment makes this the perfect album to relax to."

Listen on line to these tracks: Allegro Molto Moderato, Velvet Afternoon

The album is available direct through this link to Symbiosis, or for £9.99 (plus £1.50 P&P) through Symbiosis (see details below) ~ For more information about Velvet Afternoon and John's progressive rock release "Checking Out of London", visit the "John Hackett Band" website:

Check out our Downloads page for complete tracks from John with Symbiosis,

plus Digital DIY for an interview with John in the Anechoic Chamber at the BBC's Kingswood Warren research centre.

Total Price: £11.49 Sterling (including World-wide postage and packing)

John Hackett in the Anechoic Chamber

John playing flute in the Anechoic Chamber at Kingswood Warren for the BBC Radio series "The Science of Sound", 1990.

To contact John, e-mail: relax(at) {replacing (at) with @ }

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Photos of John Hackett © Clive Williamson, 1990 & 2008.

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