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Koweto Kinch The Black Peril LP & Show


THE BLACK PERIL by Soweto Kinch
Featuring Makaya McCraven, Junius Paul
and members of the London Symphony Orchestra
LONDON, EartH (Hackney)
Friday 22 November 2019


Award-winning saxophonist, composer, poet, MC and producer Soweto Kinch presents the première of his dynamic new work at the EFG London Jazz Festival, accompanied by a release of a new album - THE BLACK PERIL.


One year on from the Armistice Declaration in 1918, episodes of civil unrest erupted across the western world. What should have been a moment of triumph and social cohesion, disintegrated into violent disorder and racial conflict. From Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff and South Shields and the ‘Red Summer’ across the US, city streets were set ablaze by race riots.

THE BLACK PERIL is inspired by the sounds of ragtime, proto-jazz, West Indian folk music and the classical works of black composers of the period. It will revisit a time of momentous social change, also exploring connecting strands to modern forms of dance music including hip hop and trap. Breathing new life into historic and often neglected musical forms, the performance features a 14-piece jazz ensemble with some of the most skilled performers of the UK jazz scene and Tomorrow’s Warriors, members of London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago jazz giants Makaya McCraven and Junius Paul as well as dance choreographed by rising star Jade Hackett.


The music explores both the ebullience and defiant optimism of early black music as well as the brooding sense of revolutionary danger it symbolised. Through 18 original compositions, the album infuses Kinch’s lyrical reflections on the contradictions and cultural upheaval of the time, as well as reconstructing imagined sounds from across the Diaspora. Drawing on a period of history before genre boundaries had become so rigid – THE BLACK PERIL attempts to cut across conventional genre boundaries, connecting past with present, and creating fresh interpretations of often neglected periods of musical history.

The staged piece will capture the sense in which apparently unrelated riotous events across the globe were connected by the larger themes. Through a mixture of music and dance the work will tell the stories of lives colliding in the collapse of empire: pragmatists, battle scarred war veterans, self-made adventurers, proud and ambitious idealists, and the music and dance born from this riotous collision.

It’s a powerful artistic reflection on this 100-year history of racial conflict – exploring cultural anxieties, which in many ways are just as prescient in today’s world.

The premiere of this new work is co-commissioned by Serious, London Symphony Orchestra and University of Hull, and supported as a part of Help Musicians UK’s Giant Steps scheme and Cockayne Grant for the Arts.




Born in 1978 in London, England, to a Barbadian father, playwright Don Kinch, and British-Jamaican actress Yvette Harris, Soweto Kinch began playing saxophone at the age of nine after learning clarinet at Allfarthing Primary School, Wandsworth, SW London. He then moved to Birmingham, where he attended West House Primary School in Edgbaston, beginning a long association with Britain’s second city. After meeting Wynton Marsalis four years later, he discovered and became passionate about jazz, first concentrating on piano and later in his teens switching to alto saxophone as his main instrument. He attended Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, from the age of 13, completing his A levels when he was 18. Early musical influences include the vocalist and percussionist Frank Holder. Kinch went on to study Modern History at Hertford College, Oxford University. He also benefited from participation in the programmes of Tomorrow’s Warriors, the music education and artist development organisation co-founded in 1991 by Janine Irons and Gary Crosby, and played with Crosby’s Jazz Jamaica All Stars collective.

In 2001 Kinch established the Soweto Kinch Trio with bassist Michael Olatuja and drummer Troy Miller and supported Courtney Pine at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and performed at the Royal Festival Hall and the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival. In 2006, Kinch released his second album, A Life in the Day of B19: Tales of the Tower Block, the first instalment of a two-part concept album documenting the lives of three Birmingham men. The album includes narration by BBC newsreader Moira Stuart. Kinch is also a member of the Pop Idol backing band the Big Blue.

In an interview at Abbey Road Studios, Amy Winehouse mentioned that she would like to record a “more purist” jazz album, citing Kinch as a notable jazz musician with whom she would like to work.




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