Soweto Kinch: The New Emancipation

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: So
LABELS: SKP
WORKS: The New Emancipation
PERFORMER: Soweto Kinch (sax); Byron Wallen (trumpet); Karl Rasheed-Abel (bass); Justin Brown (drums) etc.
CATALOGUE NO: SKP 002CD

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Emancipation is the theme of Soweto Kinch’s all new ‘concept’ album. The young British altoist knows about history – he’s got a degree in it from Oxford. And as this work shows there’s also deep musical influences at play in his writing – from Delius to Ellington.

I wonder if Kinch knew that his album would come out precisely 50 years on from the recording of Max Roach’s worksong based Freedom Now suite? Kinch’s cutting, contemporary work deals with debt slavery and fair trade and he uses the medium of hip hop, as well as bebop-informed jazz blowing, to make his point.

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If that sounds heavy going, never fear. The combination of tongue-in-cheek storytelling, starburst solos and soaring vocal harmonies make for an uplifting experience. Impressive guests pitch in throughout the programme but it’s the core quintet that carries the project: bustling and cajoling, teasing and moaning. Garry Booth