Culture: Box Fresh Jazz for the Future; Fresh from Completing His Joe Harriott Project, Soweto Kinch Relaunches His Live Box at the Drum This Weekend. Terry Grimley Reports Born to Blow - Soweto Kinch in Full Flow
Byline: Terry Grimley
Life has been a bit of a blur for Birmingham jazz hero Soweto Kinch since his highly successful Joe Harriott session at the CBSO Centre two weeks ago.
Apart from a quick British Council visit to Kenya he's been shuttling back and forth between Birmingham and London, fitting in rehearsals and a photo-shoot with Jazz Jamaica All-Stars with workshops linked to a new season of his Live Box sessions at The Drum.
Live Box, which started four years ago in a pub in Winson Green and moved via a club on Soho Hill to its present home, is Soweto's project aimed at building Birmingham's raw young talent into a vibrant creative scene.
The season, launched on Sunday and then running each week until May 15, combines headline acts with a jam session, with Mr Kinch participating most weeks.
'I'm going to be at most of them - you're just going to have to turn up and find out,' he says. 'We'll have some surprise guests as well - the likes of Byron Wallen and Steve Williamson may make an appearance.'
The short-term objective is to build a live scene where young musicians have an opportunity to participate. There is a small nucleus of talented young players including Graham Campbell, Stephen McCormack, Narun Litchmore and Francis Mott, while the session on April 3 features Live Box graduate Shabaka Hutchings, taking time off from his studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
'For me it's about getting people into the same space,' says Soweto. 'From my past experience, five people do something amazing and then 50 people come along. The number of people is growing all the time. A couple of weeks ago I met a sax player, this guy's 13, Andy Hamilton brought him to the Joe Harriott gig.'
At this Sunday's launch event (and on April 10 and May 8) Soweto shares the stage with Birmingham hip hop artist Mad Flow, while the April 17 sessions features Birmingham house performer Colonel Red.
Soweto's performances with his own band famously blends bebop and hip hop, so on the face of it it's a little confusing to hear him say that his long-term ambition is 'to combat the tidal wave of urban music'.
He explains: 'That term 'urban' is so diffuse. What does it actually stand for genre-wise? …