Once upon a time the C-word was in common usage. It isn't heard so much these days, but the older generation mustn't be lulled into a false sense of security, because the younger generation remains perfectly capable of using the word on occasions. This is one of those occasions, because Soweto Kinch's The Legend Of Mike Smith is very definitely a Concept Album--and it's quite a concept.Kinch is an alto saxophonist, rapper and composer: a two-time winner of the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act who has always seemed equally at home in hip-hop. He's no stranger to ...read more
British saxophonist Soweto Kinch polarised opinion to the max in 2003, with his jazz 'n' hip-hop debut, Conversations With The Unseen (Dune). Many older listeners hated it, regarding it as a betrayal of tradition of Judas-like proportions. Younger, more inclusive listeners loved it, welcoming it as, simultaneously, a reconnection with jazz's long-lost roots in urban street culture and a way forward into a brighter and more vigorous future.
The battle lines weren't wholly characterised by age and anticipated prejudice, however. The great, conscious rapper KRS-One loved Kinch's music and gave him a support slot on tour. More surprisingly, perhaps, Wynton ...read more
Shortly after he released the RH Factor last year, trumpeter Roy Hargrove said, They had me figured for a jazz guy. But I have roots in hip-hop and R&B. This album is just the opening of a door." On Dec. 7th at the Jazz Gallery, British alto player/rapper Soweto Kinch opened that door a little wider. On its debut album, Conversations with the Unseen , Kinch's band begins with an organic groove, while Kinch and a guest vocalist rap, we open it up, we open it up." The music veers seamlessly between a hard, intensely urban pace, a ...read more
Soweto Kinch Conversations With The Unseen Dune 2004
The journey from disdain to serious respect takes about twenty seconds. It just requires two minutes to get there.
Soweto Kinch opens Conversations With The Unseen with a hip-hop welcome to the session" rap that might trick new listeners (guilty) into thinking a bunch of self-hyping doo-wop lies ahead. But the alto saxophonist literally blows that perception away seconds into the second track, storming his way through a set approaching the likes of Branford Marsalis and Chris Potter in king-of-the-hill prowness.
Soweto Kinch, a young British saxophonist with Jamaican roots, has created quite a stir in Europe. Judging from this, his first CD, the raves are well-deserved. Conversations With The Unseen contains some attempts to merge jazz and hip hop, but it is primarily a showcase for Kinch, an exceptionally gifted jazz musician, and his taut, hard-swinging band.
Kinch is an astonishingly good player, especially for one still in his mid-20s. He has a gorgeous, round tone that fills the horn, and his lines are long and fluid. At times he recalls the late British master Joe Harriott, who he names ...read more
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