Photograph by Ron Milsom
Back in February 2023, Nick Lea had the pleasure of interviewing saxophonist Kim Cypher and talking to her about her innovative and forward-thinking project ‘Brighter Tomorrow – A Tribute to The Arts’.
At that time the project, due to Kim’s determination and hard work, was gaining momentum. There had been concerts promoting the project, recording Kim’s music with a host of different musicians with an album planned, and the publication of the online magazine Brighter Tomorrow.
In a recent conversation with the saxophonist, she happened to mention that the Brighter Tomorrow project was reaching its first anniversary, and so it seemed to be an ideal time to catch up with Kim to see how things were moving forward one year on.
In her own words, Kim was happy to update us…
“One year ago, I embarked upon an inspired project, an absolute labour of love, evolving from a determined commitment to pay tribute to and celebrate The Arts. It all started as the world picked up the pieces following the pandemic and, like many other fellow musicians and creatives, feeling somewhat deflated and downtrodden, I felt a duty of care to express huge pride and respect for all those working in The Arts who form an incredible, dedicated, passionate, hardworking and caring creative community. A flame had been ignited and my ‘creative mission’ began!
‘Brighter Tomorrow’ was launched back in July 2022 with a performance at London’s fabulous ‘Crazy Coq’s’. One year on, the project continues to grow…and grow. Here’s a brief summary of what’s been happening, who’s been getting involved and my exciting plans for the project moving forward…ultimately leading to ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ – The Album and soundtrack to the project.
I released the first of many new original tracks in July 2022 – ‘Gonna Be Alright, Gonna Be OK’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Song’. Both tracks were performed at the launch event at ‘Crazy Coq’s – tracks available on Bandcamp and all music platforms.
These two tracks form the beginning and end of an ERA OF TIME, almost like bookends surrounding the project. ‘Gonna Be Alright, Gonna Be OK’ expressing reassurance during worrying times and ‘Tomorrow’s Song’ expressing hope and joy as we head towards a brighter tomorrow.
The launch event introduced a ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ SOCIAL CAMPAIGN created to shine a spotlight on The Arts and celebrate the work of all those contributing to a brighter tomorrow for The Arts. Fellow creatives were invited to share their projects, new music, videos, productions, photographs, venues etc. using the hashtag #brightertomorrowforthearts
I headed to my local theatre The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham to capture some wonderful photography by Ron Milsom as part of this huge celebration of all who work in The Arts, including those working ‘behind the scenes’.
The social campaign continues so please check out all the wonderful things people are sharing on all social platforms and JOIN THE CELEBRATION.
From this campaign, a selection of social posts was included in a vast ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ WEBZINE which was published on 1st November. You can view the stunning 300-page magazine I created via my website or click here.
A series of ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ ‘live’ TOUR DATES then followed to share my new music and further spread the word. These included sellout shows at jazz clubs and venues around the South West, Oxfordshire and Midlands. More tour dates to follow!
All of this, ultimately leading to ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ – THE ALBUM – A soundtrack to the project.
For this, I envisaged featuring a selection of SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMERS to record my original tracks with me and my ALL-STAR band. I was absolutely thrilled when the first of my special guests joined the project – one of my biggest jazz heroes, the wonderful piano/vocalist Liane Carroll.
We headed to London’s 606 Club with sound engineer/videographer Juanjo Lopez Vidal to record a live version of ‘Tomorrow’s Song’ (with some newly added lyrics I had written). It was a very special moment for me and perfectly captures the heart and soul of this project with Liane being the perfect choice to express the emotions of the song. You can view the video of this very special performance on YouTube:
The moment was also captured beautifully by photographers Ron Milsom and Tatiana Gorilovsky. The track is available on Bandcamp and all music platforms.
A studio recording session then followed with guitarist Antonio Forcione who features on three of my original tracks, one of which is a really stunning acoustic ballad called ‘Where Time Goes’. This track not only reflects the passage of time which seems to pass by at incredible speed these days, but it also marks the one-year anniversary of losing my dear Daddy which crept up on me much sooner than I could ever have anticipated. It is a very special track for me.
A conversation then followed with one of my favourite artists – trombonist, vocalist, composer and producer Ashley Slater. I have admired Ashley’s music and performance for many years. I love his individuality, his unique musical style and the wide range of music he creates. I reached out to him to ask if he would join my ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ project and the conversation that followed inspired one of the tracks written for the album. It was a conversation about the music industry and, in particular the challenge of being so diverse that your music cannot be categorized into one specific genre – a challenge we have both faced. Ashley agreed to join the project and within an hour of the conversation I had composed one of the two tracks he features on. It is a fantastically lively Latin track bursting at the seams with Ashley’s vibrancy and energy. I literally cannot wait to unveil it!
Ashley has also breathed new life into a track I released during the pandemic – ‘Crazy Times’. This track came with a community-based video which was declared “BEST music video of 2020” by US Music Interview Magazine. You can watch the video on YouTube. ‘Crazy Times’ has been brought up to date and has been given the ‘Ashley treatment’ to reinvent it as ‘Tiempos Locos’ and there is some crazily awesome trombone playing in there!
Some finishing touches were then added to some tracks by hugely respected percussionist Karl Vanden Bossche. I have worked with Karl before when he recorded on my second album ‘Love Kim x’ and so I was over the moon when he agreed to be part of this project. He has worked his magic once again.
With nine tracks now recorded, I just have a few more tracks to complete the album and it fills me with great pride and joy to ANNOUNCE MY FINAL SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMER – Ray Gelato.
I have hugely admired and respected Ray as a performer for many, many years. His musical talent, showmanship and dedication really inspire me. I was lucky enough to perform with Ray in 2020 for the last live gig I played before the pandemic kicked in, a charity event ‘For Mum’ in honour of my late mum and raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity. The gig at Pizza Express Soho was a sellout and the project raised almost £3000.
I will be recording with Ray in the Autumn as the final part of my forthcoming ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ album, continuing the theme of celebrating wonderful fellow musicians, with original tracks expressing a range of feelings and emotions and spanning across many genres including Jazz, Latin and Swing. An album that marks an era and celebrates a Brighter Tomorrow for The Arts.
With two highly acclaimed albums released in the past 7 years, my third album comes at a time when I have completely settled into who I am as an artist. It has taken some time and it has been quite a journey. But the journey has led me to a place of contentment and acceptance of my diverse musical style. Quite simply, I am uniquely ME. It will be my most confident album yet, embracing the uniqueness of each and every individual performer and celebrating who we all are – a celebration of wonderful, unique musicianship and the coming together of fellow creatives.
‘Brighter Tomorrow’ – THE ALBUM is due for release later this year. Huge thanks to all who have collaborated and supported the project so far.
Throughout 2023, ‘Brighter Tomorrow’ has continued to ‘evolve’ with huge interest and support from many respected jazz platforms including Women in Jazz Media, Jazz in Europe, Jazz Views, London Jazz News, The Jazz Mann, Raestar Promotions as well as regional, national and worldwide radio play including BBC Radio 3, Jazz London Live and Jazz Bites Radio.
The most recent feature for Kind of Jazz was a 4-part series of interviews I carried out with fellow jazz musicians Tori Freestone, Alcyona Mick, Migdalia van der Hoven, Terence Collie, Alex Steele, Edison Herbert, Zoe Gilby and Natasha Seale. The series of heart-warming and enlightening interviews about life as a jazz musician was published over two weeks from 30th June. You can read all four interviews at
A whole year of celebrating and paying tribute to the many amazing people who dedicate their lives to The Arts, working tirelessly to make the world a more vibrant, enriching, happier and better place. It is not without challenges, but there is no doubt that the strength, determination, resilience and passion of all who work in The Arts will always find a way through to continue the work we SO love to do…and soon, there will be a soundtrack for a BRIGHTER TOMORROW FOR THE ARTS.”
Listen to Kim’s Music here
Follow Kim on Spotify