John Hackett Band - We Are Not Alone album review

Flautist John Hackett’s second full-band outing, plus live extras

John Hackett Band - We Are Not Alone album artwork

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With a surname like his, it was no wonder John Hackett took a while to emerge from under the shadow of his older brother. The flute maestro and accomplished guitarist spent many years as a successful session man and a regular guest on his brother’s solo albums, often collaborating with other acolytes of Hackett Sr. However, it wasn’t until 2005, at the age of 50, that John Hackett released his first solo album proper. But the band he’s put together over the past couple of years, featuring classical guitar specialist Nick Fletcher and a rhythm section of Jeremy Richardson and Duncan Parsons suggests his midlife creative renaissance has gathered pace since then. As on John Hackett’s 2015 solo album, Another Life, the main man’s flute, perhaps surprisingly, is quite a low-profile element of his sound, with soaring, jazz-inflected guitar licks taking centre stage on Perfect Day and Castles. But when that flute does come to the fore, it really stamps a strong identity on the central riff of Take Control, and adds an intoxicating atmosphere to Winds Of Change. And big brother Steve? His sole contribution is some harmonica work on Never Gonna Make A Dime. The family name is being well-served regardless.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock