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Musical notes

With his evocation of street life in 21st-century Britain, Soweto Kinch restores jazz's original vigour. Plus, Chris Barber: still going strong after 59 years

By David Perry   August 2008

An original traditionalist

Jazz, like cinema, is a relatively new art form—and yet its lack of deep history is often exaggerated. Some young jazz musicians play and talk as if their music started with John Coltrane, whose avant-garde style changed everything in the 1960s. But not 30-year-old alto saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch (pictured, below right). Born in London to a Barbadian playwright father and a Jamaican actress mother, he read history at Oxford, and a sense of the subject informs his music. For example, a track called “Snakehips” on an early album is a nod to the nickname of…

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