Shez Raja ft Soweto Kinch

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Last Show: Thursday 7 th September 2017

PizzaExpress Live (Birmingham)

Virtuoso electric bass player Shez Raja and his world-class band will be performing their unique brand of powerhouse Indo-jazz funk. This evening’s gig is a special celebration of the release of Raja's latest highly-acclaimed album, Gurutopia, his first on US label Dot Time Records, and recorded with global jazz legends Randy Brecker and Mike Stern. Shez leads a formidable line-up tonight that features award-winning alto sax player and MC Soweto Kinch. Expect exciting music that’s full of surprises – a sonic kaleidoscope of euphoric jazz, thundering funk, tuneful ragas and intoxicating grooves!

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“The hip-shaking mix of Eastern song lines and funky Western dance-beats never wavers”

Evening Standard ★★★★

Shez Raja was born to an Asian father and English mother in the North-West of England. Educated at Leeds College of Music, Raja toured the UK with groups such as Elephant Talk and Loka (signed to renowned label Ninja Tune) before becoming a highly sought-after session musician. He then went on to perform at Glastonbury Festival, the prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Royal Festival Hall and the London Forum, as well as touring Europe with platinum-selling hip-hop artist MC Lyte. Shez has appeared on BBC 1, MTV and national TV in Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand. In his formative years, Shez went on trips to the Punjab region of the Indian sub-continent with his father and immersed himself in the musical culture of his South Asian roots, learning Indian tabla drumming. He now merges his rich musical heritage with his hugely diverse playing experience to create the dynamic and passionate music of the Shez Raja Collective.

Soweto Kinch, award winning alto-saxophonist and MC, is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians in both the British jazz and hip hop scenes. Undoubtedly, one of the few artists in either genre with a degree in Modern History from Oxford University he has amassed an impressive list of accolades and awards on both sides of the Atlantic – including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, two UMA Awards and a MOBO for best Jazz Act in 2003. In October 2007, he won his second MOBO Award, at the O2 Arena, London where he was announced as the winner in the Best Jazz Act category- fending off stiff competition from the likes of Wynton Marsalis. His skills as a hip hop MC and producer have also garnered him recognition in the urban music world: having supported the likes of KRS ONE, Dwele and TY, and being championed by the likes of Mos Def, Rodney P and BBC 1-Xtra’s Twin B.

Band Lineup

Shez Raja (bass guitar)

Soweto Kinch (alto sax)

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax)

Pascal Roggen (electric violin)

Alex Stanford (keyboards)

Chris Nickolls (drums)