Kit Downes’s previous ECM appearance was as pianist on the debut recording of Thomas Str nen’s Time Is A Blind Guide in 2015 and he’s critically-regarded as one of the UK’s outstanding young jazz talents.
This recording, ‘Obsidian’, however has little to do with “jazz”, although it could only have been made by an improviser of subtle sensibilities. Some of Downes’s earliest musical experiences were as a church organist and in recent years he has been revisitng the instrument, exploring its sonic possibilities and idiosyncrasies, in improvisat ons both melodic and textural.
In November 2016 producer Sun Chung followed Downes to three English churches - the Snape Church of John the Bap st and Bromeswell St Edmund Church- both in Suffolk- and Union Chapel Church in Islington, London. These are very different acoustic spaces housing organs of very different characters which Downes investigates creatively. Alone for most of the album he is joined on one piece (“Modern Gods”) by frequent improvising partner Tom Challenger (tenor sax).