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About this clip:
Saxophonist, composer, and SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director Soweto Kinch and his all-star ensemble perform “Freestyle” from his multimedia piece White JuJu Deconstructed during his concert on May 19, 2023 — part of the 2022-23 Season, broadcast on Fridays Live.
About the concert:
British saxophonist Soweto Kinch plays bebop. He raps. He is one of the wellsprings of the youth-driven London jazz scene, and for his second season as Resident Artistic Director, Kinch presents a combo version of his expansive multimedia work White Juju, exploring recent culture wars and racial upheavals, featuring Gary Bartz, Kebbi Williams, Nicholas Payton, Edward Simon, Marcus Shelby, and Gregory Hutchinson.
After George Floyd was murdered, a statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was taken down in Richmond, Va. In Bristol, England, a statue of the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into the harbor. Such acts were like “the removal of a weight, the lifting of a spell,” says Soweto Kinch. He has a name for the spell cast across the centuries by systemic racism: White JuJu. It’s the title of his new extended work, premiering this week at SFJAZZ. It charts a musical pathway through the recent culture wars and racial upheavals, blending electronic hip-hop, West Indian folk music, and jazz -- and forging a link to European classical music. Kinch weaves audio samples from recent news clips into the heat of White JuJu; its subject matter is sobering. But the music is “healing. It’s a tonic. It’s danceable,” he says. “We’re spending so much time on our phones and our screens, disconnected from our hips – and we really want to dance. It’s almost like `White JuJu’ is the thing that breaks up the dance, breaks up the groove, and keeps us from recognizing our common bonds.”
Soweto Kinch: tenor saxophone, vocals
Gary Bartz: alto saxophone
Kebbi Williams: tenor saxophone, flute
Nicholas Payton: trumpet
Edward Simon: piano
Marcus Shelby: bass
Gregory Hutchinson: drums
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