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Soweto Kinch
Soweto Kinch Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch
@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
7 July 2013

Click an image to enlarge.


Born in London, England on 10 January 1978 to a Barbadian father and British-Jamaican mother, Soweto Kinch is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians to hit the British jazz scene in recent years.

He first became interested in music at the tender age of eight, playing clarinet at primary school. He quickly developed a fondness for the alto saxophone and was given his first instrument when he was nine. After meeting Wynton Marsalis four years later he discovered and became passionate about jazz, first concentrating on piano and later, in his teens, focusing on alto saxophone.

His family had a strong artistic influence on him, his father being a playwright and his mother an actress. Having such a theatrical background exposed him to performance and meant that he was often surrounded by musicians and other artists such as jazz tap dancer Will Gaines and percussionist/bebop vocalist Frank Holder.

Kinch is essentially a self-taught musician who has supplemented his musical education by gathering information from books and transcribing jazz recordings. He has also been fortunate to attract the attention of two of the most important jazz luminaries in Britain, saxophonist Courtney Pine OBE and double bassist Gary Crosby, both of whom are now key mentors. In addition to the alto saxophone, Kinch plays soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, and piano. He also raps and is competent on the computer, using sequencers such as Cubase, Logic Audio, and Sibelius.

Kinch made the practical decision to become a full time musician fairly recently. Graduating from Oxford University in 1999 with a BA in Modern History, he was set to pursue a career in journalism or to undertake post-graduate studies. However, the offer of a place within the core band of Tomorrow's Warriors (the development programme established by Gary Crosby in 1991 to nurture and develop talented young jazz musicians) and with Crosby's professional bands, Jazz Jamaica and Nu Troop persuaded him to choose music as a career path.

Kinch’s musical influences are as broad as they are diverse. He particularly admires Sonny Rollins for his innovative style and successful appropriation of West Indian music within the jazz canon. Most recently, Kinch has been influenced by baroque and early classical music due to an interest he has in the 17th and 18th century black population of Britain. He is keen to reconstruct the African and classical influences that this community would have had.

Kinch made his first appearance on record in October 2001 as a member of the internationally acclaimed Jazz Jamaica All Stars, a 20-piece big band blending jazz with reggae, ska and other Caribbean rhythms.

In July 2002, Kinch won the inaugural White Foundation International Saxophone Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Hot on the heels of this major award, Kinch picked up the prestigious BBC Radio Jazz Award for Rising Star 2002 and, as a member of Jazz Jamaica All Stars, shared in the glory of the BBC Radio award for Best Band 2002.

Kinch is pursuing an interest in Theatre. He completed a commission with NITRO Black Theatre Cooperative in November 2001 for whom he composed a score for ‘Slamdunk’ (performed at The Contact Theatre, Manchester). Similarly, he composed the score for a production in Birmingham, ‘Its Just A Name’ produced by Nu Century Arts (April 2002) and written by his father Don Kinch.

Kinch’s debut album “Conversations With The Unseen” was released in 2003. The album won a Mercury Music Prize for An Album Of The Year and earned him the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act 2003. Kinch was also announced as the winner of the Peter Whittingham Award for Innovative Jazz Project the same year.In 2004, Kinch continued international touring and picked up BBC Radio Jazz Awards for Best Band and Best Instrumentalist.

Yet another prestigious award came in November 2004, with Kinch winning the Urban Music Award for Best Jazz Act. All categories of these awards were nominated and voted for online by the public and Kinch received a record number of votes!

Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch



Jazz Planet 12" Soweto Kinch - A life in the day of B19:  Tales of the Tower Soweto Kinch -  Conversations with the unseen



Click Soweto Kinch's images to view his photographs with the Lincoln Center Orchestra,
or @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club,
or with Abram Wilson...

Sowto Kinch with Lincoln Center Orchestra  (Click to go to this page) Sowto Kinch @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club  (Click to go to his page) Sowto Kinch with Abram Wilson (Click to go to this page)

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