“A small but mighty District-based jazz label.” NPR Music, June 1, 2012

Conceived on the very tip of the twenty-first century and a new millennium, HiPNOTIC RECORDS is a boutique label that aims to ride the crest of the modern jazz movement as an incubator for forward-looking improvisational music.

Reverence for jazz tradition and love of the music fuel the engine under the proverbial hood of HiPNOTIC RECORDS. Accordingly, the artists represented on HiPNOTIC are bona fide twenty-first century jazz musicians, well-versed in twentieth-century jazz traditions. Inasmuch as HiPNOTIC RECORDS¬†seeks to be something other than a latter-day bop shop, however, HiPNOTIC recordings will be found to reflect a multiplicity of styles, schools, directions and influences, both jazz-centric and otherwise — certainly including, but not limited to, the “Golden Age(s) of Jazz”.

One will no doubt hear echoes of the brilliant, resonant voices of Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and their innovative colleagues and disciples. Just as certainly, though, one will hear whispers and shouts in a variety of dialects from sources both far and near: from American pop forms to European classical; from post-colonial Caribbean, Latin, and Brazilian to the traditional musics of India, East Asia, the Middle East and, of course, Africa. HiPNOTIC will thus embrace the unique capacity of jazz to assimilate such diverse influences. Most important of all, one will hear the voice of the HiPNOTIC artist and, in it, the restless spirit of creativity that animates all genuine artistic innovation. Each has something personal to say that is well worth hearing.

Recognizing that evolution and survival are mutual conditions, and that the role of composition is critical to the evolution of jazz, HiPNOTIC seeks to be a “place” where original writing is nurtured. Appreciating further that contemporary (in the generic sense of the term) jazz artists do not live in an artificial world devoid of non-jazz-centric artistic influences, HiPNOTIC RECORDS aspires, moreover, to be a haven for serious jazz artist-composers to indulge freely their artistic imagination, without heed to rigid conventions.

In a similar vein, HiPNOTIC RECORDS does not wall itself off from the “outside” world by casting a blind eye to listeners of other genres. In an increasingly diverse and multi-cultural nation and ever more interconnected world, it only makes sense (both practically and poetically) that the most democratic form of music (not coincidentally the only original American art form) should actively welcome the participation of diverse audiences. This, HiPNOTIC RECORDS does by purposely marketing to audiences whose existing tastes admit of what just may be an inchoate passion for HiPNOTIC music. Which brings us back to the original question: What is HiPNOTIC?

HiPNOTIC music is, first of all, non-monolithic; but some common essential elements can be isolated: outstanding musicianship; emphatic improvisation; harmonic and rhythmic dynamism; and an appreciation for the musical origins of jazz and their rootedness in the at once tragic and triumphant African American experience. Out of these interactive elements emerges the intangible quality of soulfulness that is the natural byproduct of sincere and intelligent artistic expression. Stated in the grandest terms, HiPNOTIC RECORDS aspires to be a monument to the awesome power of honest and spontaneous musical expression to transport those who hear it to a sublime state of consciousness in which emotions are distilled and practical, wordly concerns (momentarily, at least) abated.

That said, welcome to HiPNOTIC.com! Please enjoy your stay, join our mailing list (for HiPNOTIC news, CD releases and tour info.), refer the music lovers in your life, and, by all means, Get HiPNOTIC on the World Wide Web!

Tony Haywood
January 2000