Conversations with the Unseen

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim DiGravina
This debut album from the young London-based alto saxman rightfully earned the artist a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Soweto Kinch and his players emerge here with above-average post-bop jazz vibes. Kinch mixes improvisational freakouts with impeccable mood explorations, spanning highly tense passages with moments both playful and graceful. Kinch's sax is mostly elevated in the mix, though Troy Miller's drums sometimes rock out in bold solos and Michael Olatuja's double bass occasionally takes center stage, journeying into uneasy territory or bouncing along in the foreground with effortless cool. When Kinch and company aren't painting bold sonic experiments or crafting ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim DiGravina
This debut album from the young London-based alto saxman rightfully earned the artist a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Soweto Kinch and his players emerge here with above-average post-bop jazz vibes. Kinch mixes improvisational freakouts with impeccable mood explorations, spanning highly tense passages with moments both playful and graceful. Kinch's sax is mostly elevated in the mix, though Troy Miller's drums sometimes rock out in bold solos and Michael Olatuja's double bass occasionally takes center stage, journeying into uneasy territory or bouncing along in the foreground with effortless cool. When Kinch and company aren't painting bold sonic experiments or crafting subtle moods, they let down their guard, as Kinch lowers his instruments and raps, rather unfortunately, on a few of the tracks. While his saxophone makes for mostly rewarding listening, Kinch's awkward raps just feel wrong, breaking up the flow of the jazzier numbers and thus making the album feel longer and somewhat overbearing. The rapping is interesting on paper at least, and Kinch tackles it with little artifice and decent conviction, but he's simply not that strong of a rapper. With a running time that nearly hits an hour and 15 minutes, Kinch would have done well to have left out the raps altogether. The only reason his raps don't bring the album down as a whole is that the entire affair is presented as a jazz club concert, with Kinch sometimes addressing a nonexistent audience. This gives a slight improvisational charm to the raps and to some of the extended numbers, but ultimately the fake audience banter is a conceit that takes away from the album and makes it more tiresome rather than bolstering it. In a live setting or in concert footage, the effect would be more appealing. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes maddening, Conversations With the Unseen is a bold, smart debut from Soweto Kinch that portrays a young talent grappling with jazz in new and interesting ways. Though the album doesn't always succeed, Kinch's virtuoso playing and quick mind are never in doubt.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/7/2004
  • Label: DUNE (SYNERGY)
  • UPC: 874867000080
  • Catalog Number: 8

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Intro (2:10)
  2. 2 Doxology (9:15)
  3. 3 Conversatioins With the Unseen (7:34)
  4. 4 Elision (5:56)
  5. 5 Spokes and Pedals (6:29)
  6. 6 Intermission - Split Decision (8:19)
  7. 7 Snake Hips (7:39)
  8. 8 Mungo's Adventure (7:06)
  9. 9 The Flame-Thrower (2:59)
  10. 10 Equiano's Tears (10:22)
  11. 11 Good Nyooz (3:21)
  12. 12 Outro (3:23)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Soweto Kinch Primary Artist, Alto Saxophone, Vocals, Rap
Troy Miller Drums
Esta Mtungwazi Vocals, Guest Appearance
Abram Wilson Trumpet, Vocals, Guest Appearance
Femi Temowo Guitar
Michael Olatuja Double Bass
Technical Credits
Tony Platt Engineer
Ray Staff Mastering
Janine Irons Executive Producer
Jason Yarde Producer
Soweto Kinch Arranger, Composer
Kevin Le Gendre Liner Notes
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