SEED Ensemble’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘Driftglass’ was few days ago shortlisted for the prestigious 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize Albums of the Year. Released earlier this year via contemporary music/arts movement and record label jazz re:freshed, the ten-piece collective is led by composer, arranger and alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi.
On her nomination Kinoshi proudly added, “I am extremely honoured to have been shortlisted for a Mercury Prize. Thank you for your belief in both mine and my bands’ work. It means a lot to have our first release celebrated and share our message with you.”
Across ‘Driftglass’, Kinoshi embraces styles both past and present to create something that we can call modern. Band members cut across race and gender with original compositions inspired by the social issues of our times. Compositions such as ‘The Darkies’ are a take-that riposte to a resurgence in 1950s-style racism while ‘W A K E (for Grenfell)’ featuring Cherise Adams-Burnett on vocals, is dedicated to Grenfell Tower’s victims of social schism and starts with the band repetitively intoning the words of a poem by Harlem Rennaissance poet Langston Hughes “Tell all my mourners to mourn in red, cause there ain’t no sense in my bein’ dead.”
Projecting this new musical vision are some of London’s most up-and-coming young jazz musicians essential to the modern identity of British jazz including tuba player Theon Cross, trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey, tenor saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael and one of London’s leading guitarists, Shirley Tetteh.
Forming SEED Ensemble in 2016, Kinoshi is already a giant on the UK jazz scene, known for her work with jazz septet, Nerija, (Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners 2017, Best Newcomer) and afrobeat jazz group, Kokoroko. In 2012, Kinoshi was shortlisted for the BBC Young Composer of the Year award and was nominated for Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year 2016 as part of the ensemble Nerija. Last year, she won the 2018 Ivors Academy Award for Jazz Composition for a Large Ensemble for the track ‘Afronaut’ (feat. XANA), taken from ‘Driftglass’.
Afronaut feat. XANA
Stargaze #1: KATIN
W A K E (for Grenfell) feat. Cherise Adams-Burnett
Stargaze #2: LAU
Interplanetary Migration feat. Mr Ekow
Cassie Kinoshi – Alto Saxophone & Composer
Miguel Gorodi – Trumpet
Sheila Maurice Grey – Trumpet
Chelsea Carmichael – Tenor Saxophone & Flute
Joe Bristow – Trombone
Theon Cross – Tuba
Joe Armon-Jones – Piano & Rhodes (WAKE (For Grenfell), Stargaze #1: KATIN, The Dreamkeeper, Interplanetary Migration)
Sarah Tandy – Piano & Rhodes (Stargaze #2: LAU, The Darkies, Mirrors, Afronaut)
Shirley Tetteh – Guitar
Rio Kai – Double Bass
Patrick Boyle – Drums