AWARD-WINNING saxophonist, composer, poet, MC and producer Soweto Kinch returns with a brand new studio album, The Black Peril, released on Soweto Kinch Recordings on November 18.
A politically and racially-engaged body of work, historical inspiration for the record can be traced to the episodes of civil unrest that erupted across the western world one year on from the Armistice Declaration in 1918.
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, Jamaica and the ‘Red Summer’ across the US, city streets were set ablaze by race riots.
Featuring a stellar line-up of musicians from across the UK jazz scene – including the likes of Jay Phelps, Giacomo Smith, Xhosa Cole and Nathanial Cross – plus US jazz stars Eric Lewis and Gregory Hutchinson, The Black Peril explores the sounds of ragtime, proto-jazz, West Indian folk music and the classical works of black composers of the period, revisiting a time of momentous social change, while also exploring connecting strands to modern forms of dance music including hip-hop and trap.
The music examines 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 such as the blues, Jamaican Kumina, Barbadian Tuk and American spirituals. 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 project is 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.
Kinch will launch The Black Peril at the EFG London Jazz Festival on November 22 at EartH Hackney.
The concert will feature a 14-piece ensemble featuring Tomorrow’s Warriors, members of London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago jazz giants Makaya McCraven on drums and bassist Junius Paul, a selection of players from across the UK jazz scene as well as dance choreographed by rising-star Jade Hackett.