cassie kinoshi seed ensemble

Cassie Kinoshi

The composer and alto-saxophonist behind SEED Ensemble and Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year 2016 winners Nerija tells us about the tracks she's got on repeat right now...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 4 Aug 2017
  • min read
Composer, arranger and alto-saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi is an integral force in both SEED Ensemble and Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year 2016 winners Nerija.

As SEED founder, she helms an awesome 10-strong troupe of musicians from diverse disciplines, all drawn together by a love of inner-city groove and Afro-Caribbean verve.

Over the years, her sonic wanderings have also seen her pen for classical ensembles such as Benyounes Quartet and members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and she still finds time to jam with Afrobeat septet KOKOROKO.

Next on her agenda is Driftglass, a two-date collaborative project involving emerging performers from the jazz, dance and spoken word worlds.

Artists including saxophonist Nubya Garcia and pianist Ashley Henry will come together for two nights of cross-genre mayhem in what Cassie hopes will offer a true representation of the capital’s new musical mindset.

The events, which are supported by Jazz:Refreshed and Sound and Music, take place on 18 August and 15 September at Total Refreshment Centre. For more info about the series and to buy tickets, see the Driftglass Kickstarter page.

Here, Cassie reveals the tunes and artists she’s currently got on repeat…

Sumochief: Elefant
Every member of Sumochief has such a distinctive sound and it’s wonderful to hear their work as a collective. The whole EP is beautifully put together. Sumochief member Joe Armon-Jones is also SEED Ensemble’s keyboard/piano player.

Shabaka and the Ancestors: Joyous
I love music that is almost hypnotic and transports you as you listen. This track is so simple and repetitive and throughout the growth of the composition you can hear that all the players are deeply connected. They are sharing an experience.

Mr. Ekow: Broken Images [this one wasn't available on Spotify unfortunately]
The way Mr. Ekow works with words and improvises with language during freestyles is captivating. He always seems to take everyone on a lyrical journey whilst creating fascinating imagery. Mr. Ekow will be working alongside SEED Ensemble on both 18 August and 15 September.

Nina Simone: Be My Husband
Nina Simone is a huge inspiration of mine. This tune is so stripped back yet incredibly powerful. All the composition needs is her voice.

Ashley Henry: Deimos
A really intriguing composition, I love the title of this tune! Ashley Henry will be playing with SEED Ensemble on 15 September.

Madman Jaga: Hankuri
The idea of remaining on one groove for the entire tune is something that really appeals to me. I love how it allows all of the players to have the space to develop one idea when soloing and have extended conversations with the rest of the ensemble.

Andrew Hill: Dusk
This tune is, in my opinion, one of Andrew Hill’s most enchanting compositions, especially the large ensemble arrangement. It’s so peaceful yet has little moments of beautiful chaos and juxtaposition. He is such an underrated jazz pianist and composer.

Little Simz: No More Wonderland
There is so much amazing popular music being made today that’s pushing boundaries artistically and embracing originality in a way that a lot of the tunes on the charts don’t see the need to. Little Simz is definitely one of those artists. This track features trumpet from one of SEED Ensemble’s musicians, Sheila Maurice-Grey, too!

Sun Ra: Springtime Again
I haven’t checked out as much Sun Ra as I feel I should have! But as I began to slowly work through his 1960/70 discography and read more about him, I feel a lot more connected to his work and ethos than I thought I would. This particular tune stood to me because of its simple beauty and ethereal sound-world.

Tyler, The Creator: BUFFALO
I just love how honest, controversial and explorative both his music and videos are. As a person he just seems so at ease with being himself openly - being able to express yourself honestly through music is so important to me. This tune is dope – definitely on repeat!

Read our recent feature New Age: Jazz in 2017.
Nerija play at the African Centre Summer Party on 19 August.