Born: May 26, 1986 Primary Instrument: Piano
After studying at both the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music - Kit now plays regularly with his own trio, Stan Sulzman, Troyka, The Golden Age of Steam, Sam Crockatt and Clark Tracey - and has played with Joe Locke, Gilad Atzmon, Empirical, Gerard Presencer, Seb Rochford, Ian Ballamy, Peter Ind, Gwyneth Herbert, John Warren and Eugene Skeef. He has also performed with leading British bands Fraud, Asaf Sirkis’ Inner Noise, Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble, Acoustic Ladyland, Nostalgia 77, 2000 Black, Silhouette Brown and Dennis Rollins’ Badbone and Co. He has also worked with up and coming Composer / Songwriter Micachu, with whome he recorded in Abbey Road for Matthew Herbert, recorded for BBC Radio 6 and played at the Sonar Music Festival ’07 in Barcelona. Kit’s work with Empirical has taken him to The North Sea Jazz Festival, The JVC Festivals in New York, Montreal and Newport, and Vancouver Jazz Festival. Empirical won ‘Best Album of the Year 2007’ in Jazzwise and the EBU Award at the North Sea Festival. Kit won the BBC ‘Rising Star’ Award in 2008 and was nominated for a British Jazz Award in both 2008 and 2009, he also won one of 'Yamaha Jazz Scolarship' Awards in 2009.
Having been together since their first year at the Royal Academy of Music, the 'Kit Downes Trio' have been playing together since 2005. Their music concentrates on walking the fine line between improvisation and composition through an eclectic mix of influences. The band, featuring Calum Gourlay (Tommy Smith, Martin Speake, Tom Cawley) on bass and James Maddren (Marc Copland, Stan Sulzmann, Gwilym Simcock) on drums, has always been interested in making it's music accessible, whilst not sacrificing any of it's intellect - and doing so through new and original music. It has done this at the London Jazz Festival 2008 and 2009, Ronnie Scotts British Jazz Festival, BBC Radio 3 Live Broadcast, Glasgow Jazz Festival and Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Inspired by a wide range of influences, ranging from Bela Bartok to Keith Jarrett to Rufus Wainwright, the trio endeavors to both celebrate the classic piano trio tradition as well as develop it. They released their first album on Basho Records in November 2009.
Awards:Jazzwise Album of the Year 2008 - Empirical Mojo Jazz Album of the Year 2008 - Empirical EBU Jazz Award 2008 - Empirical Peter Whittingham Award 2008 - Empirical BBC Jazz Award 2008 - Rising Star Award British Jazz Awards Nominee 2008/09 - Rising Star Yamaha Jazz Award 2009 Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2009 (Jazzwise Magazine)
“Downes seems to have become everyone's favourite young pianist. These eight, slightly impressionistic originals are unpretentiously brilliant and full of subtle touches. Downes, bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren are all players to watch.” - Dave Gelly, Observer
“Golden is striking not only for his playing, but also for his compositions.. a brilliantly interactive trio. He’s a remarkably distinctive player. Inside or outside, his lines are full of the original and unexpected, with a logic of their own; and his stunning technique is matched by a rhythmic flexibility given full scope by his rapport with Gourlay and, especially, Maddren.” - Ray Comiskey, Irish Times ****
Pianist Kit Downes's slender frame and shy demeanor hide a lightening musical intelligence and an engagingly slow-burn energy. - Ivan Hewitt, Sunday Telegraph
Downes offers a cultivated musical intelligence allied to a determination to find bracing things to say - Peter Vacher, Jazz UK
'A very skilled and fluid pianist, Downes is not only bursting with fresh ideas but has that rare ability to carry them off. - Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise
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