Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award-winning, Mercury Music Award nominated, solo recording artist for ECM Records who has toured the world with groups such as Squarepusher, Troyka, Empirical and Nostalgia 77, as well collaborative projects such ‘ENEMY’, ‘Vyamanikal’ and duo projects with Lucy Railton and Aidan O’Rourke. In 2013 and 2015 he was nominated in the Rising Star category in Downbeat Magazine (in piano and organ categories), and in 2014 won the 'Best Album Award' at the UK’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
“Obsidian” is a collection of Kit Downes’ solo organ works from the eponymous album released on ECM Records in 2018. It is a musical response to volcanicity, slow processes that cause extreme reactions. A mixture of written and semi-scored/semi-improvised pieces, it focuses on the nuances and unique features of both smaller chamber organs local to rural Suffolk as well as larger grander instruments from bigger cities around the UK. It is both a study of extended techniques from instruments sometimes in states of disrepair, and a connection and adaptation of the improvised tradition of the instrument, exploring themes of duration, vibration and mechanics.
Kit has toured this music throughout Europe - from the Elb Philharmonie in Hamburg, to the Southbank Centre in London (where he was commissioned to write a new work for the opening festival of the refurbished Royal Festival Hall Organ), to Rewire Festival in Den Haag and the Brussels Jazz Festival.
At the age of 12, Kit was an organ scholar in Norwich (St. Peter Mancroft) as well as playing at the Cathedral (where he was a chorister), before he started studying piano and organ at the Purcell Music School - studying organ under David Dunnet and Katherine Dienes-Williams. He later went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, (where he is now a tutor and Associate).
“Kit Downes showed his considerable chops and flowing imagination as a pipe organist” - Downbeat Magazine
"A richly layered, moving soundscape with regular dark, whispering undercurrents - building with unbelievable tension" - All About Jazz
Kit Downes (Christ Church organ).
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