All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

138

Soweto Kinch: Conversations With The Unseen

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
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 as an influence. But Kinch's greatest asset is his fearlessness. He's always taking chances. Even if he occaisionally stumbles a little, as on "Mungo's Adventure," his improvisations remain rich and daring. When his solos come together, as on the up-tempo "Doxology" or "Equiano's Tears," Kinch will bowl you over.

The core quartet is Kinch's working band, and what a band it is. If there's anyone who still believes that musicians from other nations don't swing as hard as Americans, this group should convince them otherwise. In addition, guitarist Femi Temowo impresses with his spiky comps and incandescent solos.

Not everything on this album works equally well, however. The hip hop tracks are probably going to alienate some listeners. In reality, Kinch's hip hop sounds very different than the thudding tracks heard on American radio. Bebop phrases float through "Good Nyooz," and there's a very hip trumpet solo on "Intermission - Split Decision." There's a lot of jazz in Kinch's version of hip hop. In addition, the booklet's graphics are crowded and hard to read.

Conversations With The Unseen is on a small British label, so it may be somewhat difficult for Americans to obtain. But the effort is worth making; Soweto Kinch is that good.


Track Listing: Intro, Doxology, Conversations With The Unseen, Elision, Spokes And Pedals, Intermission - Split Decision, Snakehips, Mungo's Adventure, The Flame-Thrower, Equiano's Tears, Good Nyooz, Outro.

Personnel: Soweto Kinch, alto saxophone, rap vocals; Femi Temowo, guitar; Michael Olatuja, bass; Troy Miller, drums; Eska Mtungwazi, vocals (Tracks 11, 12); Abram Wilson, trumpet, vocals (Track 6).

Title: Conversations With The Unseen | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Dune

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read First Impressions CD/LP/Track Review
First Impressions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two CD/LP/Track Review
Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two
by Chris May
Published: February 25, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review
In Stride
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Osmosis CD/LP/Track Review
Osmosis
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest CD/LP/Track Review
Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 25, 2018
Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Words And Music" CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Après" CD/LP/Track Review Après
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Scarlett Roses" CD/LP/Track Review Scarlett Roses
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Any Other Way" CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017