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Kit Downes: Dreamlife of Debris

Read "Dreamlife of Debris" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Kit Downes' ECM debut marked a substantial departure from his earlier recordings with saxophonist Tomas Challenger. Wedding Music (Loop Records, 2013) and Vyamanikal (Slip Imprint, 2016) were rhythmically complex with abstruse melodies that tended toward repetitive patterns and drones. With his ECM title Obsidian (2018), Downes, still on organ, worked in a more solidly constructed environment, imparting Celtic and hymnal qualities. Challenger appeared on only one track of the otherwise solo recording. Downes returns to ECM with Dreamlife of Debris, ...

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Kit Downes: Obsidian

Read "Obsidian" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

British jazz pianist Kit Downes has been previously heard on ECM on drummer/composer Thomas Stronen's first Time Is A Blind Guide album (2015). But in his early years Downes sang in a cathedral choir and took organ lessons. He recently returned to the pipe organ in a series of experimental projects with saxophonist Tomas Challenger, who is represented here on one track: the rest are solo performances which Downes describes as structured improvisations. Intrigued by the creative possibilities of the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kit Downes: Obsidian

Read "Obsidian" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In 2013, pianist/organist Kit Downes, along with saxophonist Tomas Challenger, released Wedding Music (Loop Records) featuring Downes on the B-3 organ at Huddersfield University's St Paul's Church. That recording was moored in an ethereal setting that gave it an ambient, but stately quality and the duo reunited under similar conditions for Vyamanikal (Slip Imprint, 2016). In both cases the music focused more on the transparency of resonance rather than the structure of the pieces. Downes' ECM debut, Obsidian, returns him ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Josienne Clarke / Kit Downes: Such A Sky

Read "Such A Sky" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Sometimes life's great pleasures creep up almost unnoticed. One day they're not there, next day it seems like they've been around forever. Such A Sky is one such pleasure. A five-track EP, it's the debut release from BBC Folk Award winning singer Josienne Clarke and Mercury Prize nominated keyboardist Kit Downes. Clarke announced the release of Such A Sky on her Twitter feed with a lovely lack of hyperbole: “I've made a little EP with pianoer Kit Downes ...

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Kit Downes Tom Challenger: Vyamanikal

Read "Vyamanikal" reviewed by Duncan Heining

This a beautiful and elegiac record but one that is not afraid to walk in the shadows. Other artists have utilised the combination of saxophone and organ--John Surman and Howard Moody's Rain on the Window and Jan Garbarek and Kjell Johnsen's Aftenland spring to mind. However, Kit Downes and Tom Challenger's Vyamanikal is quite different in its approach. This duo of church organ and tenor saxophone focuses less on form and more on the purity of sounds themselves. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Vyamanikal

Read "Vyamanikal" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Five churches, five church organs and a saxophone or two: the instrumentation to be found on Vyamanikal, the British duo of Kit Downes and Tom Challenger's follow-up to Wedding Music (Loop Collective, 2013). Downes (ENEMY, Tricko, Troyka) and Challenger (Brass Mask, Ma, Dice Factory) recorded Vyamanikal during a 2015 residency at Aldeburgh Music. The venue was established by composer Benjamin Britten in the 1960s in a disused Victorian maltings in the Suffolk village of Snape and is now ...

JAZZIN' AROUND EUROPE

Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Organ Crawling

Read "Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Organ Crawling" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Pianist-organist Kit Downes is one of the brightest and most articulate talents to emerge from the British and European scenes in recent times. His refusal to be pinned down to any specific career path or musical trajectory is to his credit but even more so is his ability to produce authentic music without compromise across style, genre or approach. Downes has that quality to his work that says, “Never mind the situation, this is me. This is my music."


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