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Xhosa Cole: FreeMonk

EFG London Jazz Festival

Sun 24 Nov

Xhosa Cole: FreeMonk

EFG London Jazz Festival

Join Xhosa Cole at Kings Place as part of EFG London Jazz Festival for the launch of his third LP ‘On a Modern Genius Vol. 1’, which celebrates the compositions of the inimitable pianist Thelonious Monk. This new project ‘FreeMonk’ explores, abstracts and collages Monk’s compositions, breathing new life into these timeless tunes.

Winner of the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes in Birmingham including the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jazzlines Ensemble and Birmingham Music Service. Having grown up in Handsworth and first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, he’s now among a long legacy of Birmingham Saxophonists including Soweto Kinch and Shabaka Hutchings.

To date he’s released two studio albums: K(no)w Them, K(no)w Us featuring saxophonist, Soweto Kinch and Pianist, Reuben James and Ibeji, featuring conversations and duets with seven percussionists from the African Diaspora, which explores themes of Brotherhood, Ancestors, Masks, and Codes. Xhosa has the rare trait of having firm roots in tradition paired with an uncompromisable radical vision. His art speaks to an intersectional experience that celebrates the reality of community connection and challenges conventions that inhibit true creative expression.

Xhosa has performed twice at the BBC Proms, Composed music for the Ripieno Players, a Birmingham Based String Orchestra, recorded saxophone for Mahalia’s debut album Love and Compromise, completed a 22 date UK tour, all along side his studies as a scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Xhosa also received the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Newcomer in 2019 and Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year.

Joining Xhosa at Kings Place are some of the finest improvising musicians in the UK: Pat Thomas (piano), Josh Vadivello (bass), and Peter Newman (drums), with guest appearances from Byron Wallen (trumpet) and Hans Koller (Euphonium).


‘It is the highly gifted Xhosa Cole who is currently making most waves … Cole has the rich expressive range and technical skills that characterise significant soloists.’ The Guardian

‘The 24-year-old tenor saxophonist/composer is a British sensation and proves that he’s here for blood with this release … He’s got technique, talent, artistry and a burning desire that shows throughout the set.’ Downbeat on ‘K(no)w Them, K(no)w Us’

‘The result is rich and singular. Cole’s duo exchanges with each guest are marked by elegance and curiosity’ The Wire on ‘Ibeji’

Date:Sun 24 Nov
Start time:8pm (Doors: 7.30pm)
Venue:Hall Two
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