As part of the Jazzwise 20th Anniversary Special, Ronnie Scott’s had another gem in store.
The multi-talented British saxophonist and mc that is Soweto Kinch recently played the venue in front of a sold out audience.
Performing from his latest album, Nonagram, and together with his band members, Reuben James on piano, Nick Jurd on bass and Ed Richardson on drums, a bespectacled Kinch stepped onto the stage, cap on, cool as anything, ready to play from an album that has shaken the core of everyone listening to it since its release. The album is innovation with a pinch of geometry stirred in it to add more vibe and wizardry.“Nonagram” (a geometrical shape made out of nine sides) is an album to listen to with sheer delight but also concentration, appreciation and amazement are the operative words here. Kinch plays, sings, raps, asks the audience to join in ad hoc with the singing, encouraging the crowd to want more.
The band have been on stage and played non-stop for more than 20 minutes before there is a slight “vocal break” by Kinch who salutes the audience and introduces everyone. He is also funny, “I am not going to talk as much as I do normally…” he says. Kinch is not afraid to fly high and on the night, he is the master of innovation and creativity.
Playing “Nonagram” is a compendium of healing, sound and geometry all in one. When “Triangle” plays next, it is incredible, a soaring tune. A slight remembrance of Jaimeo Brown’s “Transcendence” hits me whilst listening to the music; pieces where, again and again, music is THE vital ingredient for a healing process which “seems to be so important these days”, notes Kinch. There are long compositions, a “screaming” sax and poetical lyrics a-plenty.
Ed Richardson on drums launches himself on his playing like a vulture onto its prey, it is hypnotic to watch him play, together with Reuben James on piano, and they are the icing on the cake.
The first set ends with “Forecast” where the audience participation is, as I said earlier, another sign of Kinch’s natural talent not just as a musician but also as an audience man! His “connection” with the crowd is fantastic, the second set is a proof of this, Kinch and his band played a gentle rapping tune, which narrates and mocks people that seem to be too much involved in their own world to recognise and remember people they knew not too far back in their lives.
The audience nodding, Reuben James burning the piano keys, the show is smooth, sharp AND entertaining!
Expectations ran high, Soweto Kinch and his Nonagram Quartet did not disappoint, on the contrary, they finished the show like they had started it, blowing the roof off with harmonies, hot tunes and phenomenal talent.
Words: Erminia Yardley
Fascinating YT video from Soweto explaining interesting time signatures related to his Nonagram album