13 Aug 2012
Award winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians in both the British jazz and hip hop scenes. Undoubtedly, one of the few artists in either genre with a degree in Modern History from Oxford University he has amassed an impressive list of accolades and awards on both sides of the Atlantic – including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, two UMA Awards and a MOBO for best Jazz Act in 2003. In October 2007, he won his second MOBO Award, at the O2 Arena, London where he was announced as the winner in the Best Jazz Act category- fending off stiff competition from the likes of Wynton Marsalis.
His skills as a hip hop MC and producer have also garnered him recognition in the urban music world: having supported the likes of KRS ONE, Dwele and TY, and being championed by the likes of Mos Def, Rodney P and BBC 1-Xtra’s Twin B.
Kinch’s projects also extend beyond recorded albums. Writing the score for Jonzi D’s Hip Hop Theatre production Markus the Sadist (2010), and Sampad’s In The Further Soil (2010), a dance-theatre piece. Kinch also wrote and acted in the latter piece, which toured throughout India for a month. Most recently he was commissioned to write a new score for the Hitchcock silent movie ‘The Ring’ which received a standing ovation.
‘At the BFI launch, Soweto Kinch brought the house down, playing part of his sax score to a scene from The Ring.’ David Gritten The Telegraph
In 2011 he collaborated with the BBC and Drum and Bass producer Goldie. By Royal Appointment is 3-part prime time reality music show, following Goldie, Soweto, Guy Chambers and Ms Dynamite as they discover and coach a group of 12 vulnerable young mentees towards their first live performance before HM Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace. Kinch, describes how the programme (transmitted in February, 2011) really allowed him to extended his work as a curator and mentor, “it was a radically fresh approach to discovering and nurturing new talent, and an antedote to the usual pop formulae and manufactured music.”
His last release The New Emancipation draws its inspiration from 19th century work songs and early blues, exploring the modern resonances of the emancipation story. From debt/wage slavery, to creative oppression in the music industry and ideas of race in a post-Obama age it combines this rich musical inheritance and revisits it with stellar jazz ensemble and modern hip hop production. Number one on the Rise Best Albums of 2010, the album features a prestigious international lineup, including Byron Wallen, Justin Brown (US), Eska Mtungwazi, Femi Temowo, Shabaka Hutchings and Harry Brown among others.
Currently touring this material with his core quartet, Kinch has earned a number of 5 star reviews for his recent live performances. His performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (2010 London Jazz Festival) confirmed Kinch as a major figure in the UK scene, as The Evening Standard’s Jack Massarik described, “it was hard to imagine stronger contemporary jazz being played anywhere else in the world.”
2011 saw Soweto and his quartet taking his music to increasingly diverse audiences across the world, including territories from the USA and Germany to Dubai, Morocco and Botswana. And entrenching his signature sound, mixing jazz and hip hop.
2012 will see the release of his much anticipated forth album based on the seven deadly sins which was showcased at eXplorations @ King’s Place at the end of January to criticial acclaim. The album release will be supported by a UK tour in October 2012.
This is a video from his last album