Nigel Hitchcock’s Hitchgnosis

The legendary British saxophonist, now largely based in Germany, releases a third album as leader, inspired by his five years on the Isle of Skye

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Saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock has released his third solo album and his second on his Eight Inch Clock label.

Best known for his dazzling sax solos on albums with Mark Knopfler, Ray Charles, Cher, Take That, Incognito and countless other pop legends, perhaps less so for the hundreds of TV ads and movie soundtracks he appears on and perhaps even a little for his irregular appearances on the UK jazz scene, he provides on his latest release the perfect showcase for his work as a composer and arranger.

The title, Hitchgnosis, refers to the body of musical knowledge that he has acquired during his illustrious career to date and the music itself was inspired by five years spent on the beautiful Isle of Skye. 

Nigel explains: “I was falling back in love with life, and music, and as I stood on the rocks of this magnificent isle [Skye], I imagined a musical journey through time and space, from the big bang and the forming of the rocks beneath me, through creation itself, gradually heading towards the present, where a beautiful blue sky gives us hope for a bright future”.

In a departure from both the pop genre and from his previous albums – Snake Ranch Sessions (1997, Black Box) and Smoothitch (2013, Eight Inch Clock) – Hitchgnosis puts Nigel with a symphony orchestra and rhythm section including electric bass and percussion. Among the musicians are Laurence Cottle (electric bass), Miles Bould (percussion) and Chris Dagley (drums).

He has utilised the full breadth of his sound palette to craft a magical, musical adventure. Each of the pieces on the album has a unique identity yet is connected by the lush orchestrations and beautiful, sometimes haunting melodies inspired by his time on Skye.  

Now mainly based in Germany, where he counts Tini Thomsen’s MaxSax and sax quartet Q4 amongst his current projects, Nigel invites listeners to Hitchgnosis to “buckle up and enjoy the ride”.

This article was prepared with the assistance of the artist.