This year’s Pickathon delves even deeper into multi-faceted and imaginative worlds of jazz, from master instrumentalists like Nate Smith and Nubya Garcia to mind-bending experimentalists like Sons of Kemet and Emma-Jean Thackray. Today we’re excited to spotlight two of the jazz greats joining this year’s lineup, with more to come!
Nate Smith + KINFOLK is the conceptual, semi-autobiographical project helmed by ace jazz drummer and composer Nate Smith. Four years after the release of the GRAMMY-nominated first installment of the Kinfolk series, Smith released Kinfolk 2: See the Birds in 2021. Featuring a slew of special guests including Brittany Howard and Vernon Reid, Kinfolk 2 is an exploration of the music that shaped Smith in his teen years, merging influences from Black rock greats like Living Colour and Bad Brains to 90s neo-soul and hip-hop. But in the pioneering spirit of jazz, Kinfolk 2 is not merely a throwback, showcasing Smith’s modern jazz chops and unique ability to balance groove and beat with improvisation. We can’t wait to welcome Nate Smith to Pickathon and witness his greatness in person!
Genre-defying jazz visionaries Sons of Kemet celebrate the restless exploration of identity across the Caribbean diaspora within the UK. The band’s iconoclastic sound is led by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, with Theon Cross on tuba and both Tom Skinner (Hello Skinny, The Smile) and Edward Wakili-Hick (Roots Manuva, Gilad Atzmon) on drums. Hypnotic double drum rhythms frame the colorful interplay of saxophone and tuba, as the band’s original compostions are brought to life by four fiercely creative musicians. Their acclaimed 2018 album Your Queen Is a Reptile was followed up by 2021’s Black to the Future, which Pitchfork called a “propulsive mind- and body-moving record”. Sons of Kemet have recorded with numerous UK musical titans, including jungle legend Congo Natty, poet Joshua Idehen, Grime MC D Double E, and Lianne La Havas. Their Pickathon performances are sure to be mind-blowing and NOT to be missed!