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Theon Cross – Postponed until September – More details here.

ABOUT

SEED Ensemble

Formed in early 2016, SEED Ensemble is a Mercury Award nominated ten-piece band led by alto saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi. The band presents a stellar line-up featuring some of London’s most up-and-coming young jazz musicians including tuba player Theon Cross (Sons of Kemet), trumpeter Sheila-Maurice-Grey (Kokoroko) and guitarist Shirley Tetteh (Maisha). Combining jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced groove, SEED explores a blend of genres through original compositions and improvisation. Their debut release Driftglass (Jazz Re:freshed, 2019) features the track Afronaut (feat. XANA) which won the Ivors Academy Award 2018 (formerly known as BASCA, British Composer Award) for Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble.

Bookings: Sinan Ors (sinan@atc-live.com)

…a wonderful reflection not simply of the best of London’s current improvisational music, but a strong perspective representing the city’s young Black creative class.” – Afropunk

“Cassie Kinoshi is a striking instrumentalist, a musician able to reinterpret material on the fly, while injecting brave new elements in the process…a stunning work, full of daring musicality and spiritual depth.” – The Clash 

A most fantastic and colourful approach to this piece. So very well done and I’m extremely proud of you all. Big thanks ” – Greg Osby

“…Driftglass is an untrammelled wrap-around delight.” All About Jazz ” The richness of the band’s melody, harmony and solo is something we can attest to and that got the crowd going. Band members cut across race and gender; and original compositions are inspired by the social issues of our times. So a night of music by the people for the people about the people? We like ” – www.sqwzl.com

” The players on this heartfelt and accomplished brew of African, Caribbean and urban dance grooves, R&B and 60s Blue Note-ish ensemble harmonies are mostly young Londoners. But they often sound like old souls, and with roots in varied places, like so many of the culturally sharp-eared newcomers currently revitalising UK jazz.“, The Guardian

” Kinoshi solos with a biting tone, and, buoyed by the leader’s arrangements, all are impressively on song. ” – Financial Times ” This is music full of drama and variety in terms of instrumentation, dynamics, harmony and rhythm. ” London Jazz News

The Master Sessions:

SEED Ensemble live at British Grove Studios

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SEED ENSEMBLE

In studio performance gallery
 

TIDAL Masters

SEED Ensemble - Driftglass
Log into your TIDAL HiFi account to hear the entire album
Musical highlights + sonic details to listen out for

MQA Listening Notes

Afronaut (feat. XANA)

Like a rocket launch, the drums open the track at speed, while the repeated brass swells and athletic double bass jumps lift the track higher. The trumpet solo builds momentum further before a warped finale, while the guitar adds reverb-laden details evoking distance, time and space, before the atmosphere is cleared, allowing XANA to deliver her powerful poetry.

Mixing myriad influences from Miles Davis and Afrobeat to spoken-word and psych-rock.

Listen out for how the muted guitar picks help to build the suspense in the introduction, how the timbre of the flute adds both weight and air to the alto sax melody as they play in perfect unison.

The Fender Rhodes piano is the unsung hero, providing rich, sustained harmony to the ensemble from the off, briefly stepping into the limelight for a tripped-out solo as the band breaks down later in the composition.

The solo delicate guitar finger picking and rippled/echoed reflections slowly open up the composition with quiet introspection. The mellow and questioning sax motif is repeated with accompanying dynamic full brass section swell to open up the track.

The theme of reflection is developed throughout, in the question and answer between instruments and more subtly in the phrases of the individual soloists. While the ebb and flow of the ride cymbal sizzle provides a tonal mirror, with the other layers of instrumentation and rhythm shifting around it. 

Listen to the fullness and weight of the double bass as it walks us through the track. The different voices in the brass repeat an unresolved note in unison, whilst they slowly crescendo and shift and swirl in the soundstage, bringing the guitar solo to a mid-song high-point. The following answer delivered on saxophone showcases the instrument’s range – from gentle and breathy to powerful and raspy – always maintaining tone and body.