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Norwich musician up for Mercury Prize

PUBLISHED: 09:52 21 July 2010 | UPDATED: 15:41 29 October 2010

Simon Parkin

A Norwich pianist has been nominated as one of the 12 contenders for this year's Mercury Music Prize, putting him up against the likes of Paul Weller and Dizzee Rascal.

Further listening: Kit Downes
Further listening: Kit Downes

A Norwich pianist has been nominated as one of the 12 contenders for this year's Mercury Music Prize, putting him up against the likes of Paul Weller and Dizzee Rascal.

Former Norwich School pupil Kit Downes has been nominated for the album Golden, released last year by his trio and which features acoustic jazz played alongside bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren.

Classically-trained Downes has already been making waves on the jazz scene. He won the rising star award at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2008 and has played with a number of musical outfits.

He cites influences as wide-ranging as Hungarian composer Bela Bartok to torch singer Rufus Wainwright.

The classically trained 23-year-old won the rising star award at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2008 and he cites influences as wide-ranging as Hungarian composer Bela Bartok to torch singer Rufus Wainwright.

He is known on the British jazz circuit as an accomplished musician and performer and the trio have been together since they met at the Royal Academy of Music.

Kit has previously played in several jazz outfits including Empirical, whose eponymous debut recorded on Courtney Pine's label Destin-e Records was named album of the year in Jazzwise and jazz album of the year in Mojo magazine and saw them nominated for the best album and best band at the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards.

Kit took the brave decision to leave the group, embarking on a new career which saw him forming new groups, including the Kit Downes Trio.

The Mercury nominated album Golden has received almost universal positive reviews. "I hope people can keep coming back to it, that it isn't an album that you only listen to once - but is a piece of work you can find something new in every time you listen to it," said Kit.

After training at the Purcell School of Music in London and finishing his degree at the Royal College of Music, Kit now lives in London - but Norwich is still the place he calls home and he plays in venues such as the King of Hearts and the Playhouse.

"I try to come as much as possible as it's always really relaxing…but I love playing in Norwich. There are some lovely venues like the King of Hearts, The Playhouse and John Innes," he said.

"It's nice to come back to what still feels my base and I also write so much better when I'm at home. Norwich is just very comfortable.”

The 2010 Mercury Music Prize winner will be unveiled on September 7.

THE MERCURY SHORTLIST IN FULL

Golden - Kit Downes Trio

Only Revolutions - Biffy Clyro

The Sea - Corinne Bailey Rae

Tongue 'N' Cheek - Dizzee Rascal

Total Life Forever - Foals

Sky At Night - I Am Kloot

I Speak Because I Can - Laura Marling

Sigh No More - Mumford And Sons

Wake Up The Nation - Paul Weller

Becoming A Jackal - Villagers

Two Dancers - Wild Beasts

XX - The XX.

Further listening: Kit Downes
Further listening: Kit Downes

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