Tuesday January 23, 2018

soweto kinch

jazz saxophonist and composer

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Soweto Kinch is a British jazz alto saxophonist, composer, music arranger, lyricist MC, rapper, artist educator and an actor. Soweto Kinch is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians to hit the British Jazz and Hip Hop scenes in recent years.

He was born in London on 10th January 1978, to a Barbadian father who is a playwright, and his British-Jamaican mother, who is an actress. He first became interested in music at the tender age of eight, playing clarinet at primary school and quickly developed a fondness for the alto saxophone. He was given his first instrument when he was nine. After meeting Wynton Marsalis four years later he discovered and became passionate about jazz, first concentrating on piano and later, in his teens, focusing on alto saxophone.

Soweto's musical influences are as broad as they are diverse. He particularly admires Sonny Rollins for his innovative style and successful appropriation of West Indian music within the jazz canon. Most recently, Soweto has been influenced by baroque and early classical music due to an interest he has in the 17th and 18th century black population of Britain. He is keen to reconstruct the African and classical influences that this community would have had.

As an alto player, Soweto is rapidly developing his own sound which is rich, energetic and dynamic and though he clearly has a strong respect for tradition, he is continually exploring his jazz inheritance. In 2001 he established the Soweto Kinch Trio - with bassist Michael Olatuja and drummer Troy Miller, both exceptional young players - which supported Courtney Pine at the former Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, Birmingham and performed at the Royal Festival Hall and Cheltenham International Jazz Festival. His aim with the Trio was to move audiences with the simplicity of his band and to discover the breadth of sounds and dynamics he could achieve with these basic elements.

In 2000, Soweto was given a role in a film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, The Cat's Meow and he completed a commission with NITRO Black Theatre Cooperative in November 2001 for whom he composed a score for Slamdunk – A Hip Hop musical theatre piece that toured nationally. Similarly, he composed the score for a production in Birmingham, Its Just A Name produced by Nu Century Arts and written by his father Don Kinch.

At the end of 2002, Soweto began work on his début album, extending his band to quartet status with the addition of guitar (Femi Temowo). Working with Dune producer, Jason Yarde also a brilliant alto sax player, composer and arranger, and leader of J-Life he created a stunning album which brings together his love of jazz and hip-hop. On Conversations With The Unseen, he brings Charlie Parker and Q-Tip into the zone, combining straightahead jazz with funky hip-hop and rap vocals. Conversations With The Unseen was released in April 2003 and launched Soweto on his career as a solo artist, winning a Mercury Music Prize for An Album Of The Year 2003, and earning him the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act 2003.

In 2006, Soweto released his second album, A Life In The Day Of B19 - Tales Of The Tower Block, the first instalment of a two-part concept album documenting the lives of three inner-city Birmingham men. The album features narration from Moira Stuart. 2007 was an important year in Soweto's development as a writer, as well as a musician. He began working on The Midnight Hop, commissioned for the Bicentennial of the Abolition of Slavery. This was the first time Soweto had written a script, following even more directly in his father’s footsteps. Soweto also composed the score for Absolute Beginners, which ran at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and wrote a series of pieces for Kwame Kwei-Armah’s play at the National Theatre, The Statement of Regret. Soweto plans to extend his compositional skills further into film scores.

Soweto runs his own youth arts/music project in Birmingham, The Live Box. The project involves Soweto organising special events and workshops for young musicians (aged 6-18). In October 2006, Kinch took an almost crusading zeal to a series of school workshops during National Music Week and delivered an amazing 25 workshops in 5 different cities from Manchester to Bristol, in just 6 days!

Soweto also moonlights as a member of the Pop Idol backing band The Big Blue.

Soweto Kinch's website
Soweto Kinch's MySpace page