Paul Hanmer (born 1961, Cape Town) is a South African composer, pianist and one of its foremost jazz musicians. In 1987 Hanmer moved to Johannesburg where he formed Unofficial Language with drummer Ian Herman and bassist Pete Sklair. The group has released two albums, Moves Moves and Primal Steps.
Influenced by Keith Jarrett, Hanmer’s music is at times cerebral and minimalist but always distinctly South African, with strong flavours of the Cape Flats and the Friday afternoon township gumba. Hanmer has worked with artists including Grammy Award winner Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Jonathan Butler, Pops Mohamed, Sipho Gumede, and McCoy Mrubata.
Since 2003 Hanmer has also been composing works for classical performers: UnTsiki and Ntwazana (2003) for The Bow Project, a string quartet for the Sontonga Quartet, a wind quintet for the Mozart anniversary in 2006, a clarinet quintet for Robert Pickup, a suite of duets for double bass and cello for Leon Bosch, a piece for two tubas and drumkit for Anne Jelle Visser of the Zurich Opera, and two duets for violin and harp.