Summer 2022

We had the huge pleasure recently of joining Baaba Maal’s band for the last night of Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall. It’s been a few years since we last played together, but Baaba’s band is as strong as ever, and it was wonderful to be back in touch with Baaba and the crew. David Honigmann reviewed the show in the Financial Times: “Highlights included a version of Chérie that started with Maal seated with an acoustic guitar, as if holding a conversation on a porch, and built to a warm celebration from the whole band, with a coda from the Kick Horns, London’s invaluable brass-section-for-hire, that sounded like a return of The Skatalites… On African Woman, the Kick Horns brought a touch of Havana”. Meanwhile, in the studio, we’ve recorded more songs for Sam Smith with producer Jimmy Napes (nice to see that he uses the same AEA R88 room mic that we have in the Tall Place). More work too with Boris Grebenshchikov, the veteran Russian dissident. And there are signs of a new Kick Horns album on the horizon: a swift follow-up to 2001’s The Other Foot, this will be a collection of big band pieces with an expanded Kick Horns line-up featuring many old collaborators and the cream of London’s music scene.


The addition of the Kick Horns for the London dates was a masterstroke. The outstanding sound quality at Ronnie’s meant the section’s superb arranging, accuracy and command of articulation was rendered with the utmost clarity.

Adam McCulloch
Maxi Jazz and the E-Type Boys review for Jazzwise


I hadn’t worked with ‘professional’ musicians until we recorded Popscene, and at that time I wasn’t sure how we’d measure up. The brass section had given the impression of a gang of painters and decorators as they unpacked their equipment. It was as if they were unfolding stepladders and unloading brushes. They splashed their bright paint all over the song.

Alex James
bit of a blur

Those Kick Horns guys are really on top of my thing.

Dr John


In all of my years recording, I’ve only ever been rendered completely speechless by what has come back out of the speakers twice: the first time was in the Nineties, when my former band Pele recorded our first single ‘Raid The Palace’ and the Kick Horns brass section turned up in Metropolis Studios, West London, and tore the song apart, plastering us all to the back wall of the studio…

Ian Prowse

…tightest, hard-hitting, yet sweet…

John Leckie


There were times during this show when Baaba Maal and his band made music that was as beautiful, as glorious and as joyous as any that I have ever heard. Yes: it was that good – percussion, guitars, keyboards, voices, and, crucially, a tight-knit four-piece brass section were locked into a pulsating, hypnotic groove. For a moment, as his band – a mixture of African and Western musicians – created this rapturous noise, Baaba Maal, in his shiny gold suit, stood with his arms outstretched and grinned, as if to say: “Look! Behold my creation.” It was sensational.

David Cheal
Daily Telegraph

Oumou Sangare’s easy fusion with the Kick Horns, who add firepower without treading on anyone’s toes, suggests subtlety can occasionally trump the search for explosive connections… The Parisian audience? They’re dancing.

Gareth Grundy
The Observer

Celebrity Mastermind. John Humphrys quizzes Josh Widdicombe on specialist subject Blur.
JH: The albums Parklife and The Great Escape featured accompaniment from the Duke Strings and which group of brass musicians?
JW: Pass
– – – – –
JH: You had one pass. The group of brass musicians was Kick Horns.
JW: No idea…
JH: No. Nor me. There we are.

Christmas 2013