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Fri May 19, 2023

SOWETO KINCH: WHITE JUJU DECONSTRUCTED

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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 work White Juju, exploring recent culture wars and racial upheavals.

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."
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 work White Juju, exploring recent culture wars and racial upheavals.

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."
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SFJAZZ Center - SF Jazz 26 Upcoming Events
201 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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