Kit Downes

Kit Downes is a composer, pianist and organist living in London.


-The Mariana Trench is 10.994m deep.

-The largest pipe organ ever built, based on number of pipes, is the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ in Atlantic City, New Jersey, built by the Midmer-Losh Organ Company between 1929 and 1932

– My favourite meal is Pumpkin soup


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

I find any art that is uncompromisingly itself an inspiration. I am also inspired by nature, and my friends and family.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started playing the cello when I was 5 or 6, and loved the sound of it but found it difficult to tune. I then started playing the organ after singing in a local choir. I began to improvise on the organ, taking scores and being more free with them. I then started to get into Jazz through the same process.

3. What are your 5 favorite albums of all time?

Too tough to answer! But one album that I am enjoying at the moment is an album by Norwegian guitarist Stian Westerhus called ‘Amputation’. Also I am really enjoying John Taylor’s recent boxset on ECM – he was a master.

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Friends and great music. I have been coming to Berlin quite a bit in the last few years, thanks to friends here such as Petter Eldh, Lucy Railton, Lucia Cadotsch, Oliver Stiedle, Otis Sand jo, Phil Donkin and many others. I always have a great time hanging out there and making music with inspiring people.

5. What’s your favorite place in your town?

I don’t think i could name a favourite bar or club, as I’m still always finding new ones. Also it’s maybe more about the people than the place itself. Though I love the idea of Berlin’s ‘House of One’ – a beautiful example of open minded architecture.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

That would be sad, I have no idea what I would do in such a scenario. I would maybe try and write, or paint – I would make things, be creative I think. I become quite restless if I don’t get to do this regularly.

7. What was the last record you bought?

Last record I bought was Tom Challenger’s great solo EP called ‘Dress’.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

There are so many people, but someone who I am looking forward to playing with soon is Stian Westerhus. I love his playing and singing, and am looking forward to finding a way to blend our sounds of organ and guitar together.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

One of the most amazing gigs I ever witnessed was watching Bill Frisell play with Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen at the Newport Jazz Festival. It was a surprise gig in the programme, and I remember sitting on a wall by the water listening to them play ‘Heard it through the grapevine’ for around 20 mins – it was bliss.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

For any editing and mixing work it is crucial of course, but for live performance I try to play mostly acoustic instruments as I feel I have a more direct connection with them in the moment.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

I have half brothers and a half sister, we didn’t grow up together but they are friends. I don’t think they feel strongly about my career really, but I think they are happy that i am doing something I love.

Kit Downes will perform at A-Trane on 3rd November and at Kaiser-Wilhelms-Gedächtnis-Kirche on 5th November as part of Jazzest Berlin.