Artist: Soweto Kinch

Date Released: 2003

Label: Dune

Produced By:


  1. Intro
  2. Doxology
  3. Conversations with the Unseen
  4. Elision
  5. Spokes and Pedals
  6. Intermission - Split Decission
  7. Snake Hips
  8. Mungo's Adventure
  9. The Flame-Thrower
  10. Equiano's Tears
  11. Good Nyooz
  12. Outro


While most jazz and hip-hop fusions are made in the beats, meaning that its rap enhanced by jazz (i.e. Madlib, Gang Starr, The Roots, etc.), Soweto Kinch creates jazz music that is enhanced by hip-hop. So, while Kinch does drop some rhymes here and there, he is mainly a jazz saxophonist. Originally self-taught, then later schooled in prestigious jazz ensembles, along with graduating from Oxford with a Modern History degree, he has been hailed as one of the best saxophonists ever bred in Britain. Many comparisons are made with the late great British alto saxophonist Joe Harriott, but, as for this album, I especially like the description of Charlie Parker meeting Q-Tip. But don’t get caught up in the whole hip-hop hype, because this is a jazz album first, and a rap album second. In fact the only tracks with any vocals at all are #1, 6, 11, and 12 (that’s four tracks out of an hour and 15 min of play time). Mostly staying with the quartet of Kinch, Troy Miller on drums, Michael Olatuja on double bass and the excellent Femi Temow on guitar, the group creates post-bop ballads that always extend past the 5 minute mark which give them plenty of time to build and mature into the magnificent jazz songs that they naturally are. As far as Kinch’s rhymes… they are decent, but are not, and should not be the concentration of this album (though I really like #6). Eska Mtungwazi also contributes her amazing vocals to #1, 11, and 12. So if you are into jazz, pick this up, and if you are into just hip-hop give it a listen to maybe expand your horizons (but my guess is that most hip-hop heads are already very much into jazz). Michael Ardaiolo

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