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Sons of Kemet

Over the last half decade, Shabaka Hutchings has established himself as a central figure in the London jazz scene, which is enjoying its greatest creative renaissance since the breakthroughs of Joe Harriott and Evan Parker in the 1960s. Hutchings has a restlessly creative and refreshingly open-minded spirit, playing in a variety of groups—most notably, Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and Shabaka & the Ancestors—and embracing influences from the sounds of London’s diverse club culture, including house, grime, jungle, and dub. “The common theme in my career as a jazz musician has been wondering if what I’m doing is the thing that I should be doing,” says Hutchings, who studied classical clarinet at college at London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Floating Circles Quartet: Humble Travelers

Read "Humble Travelers" reviewed by Chris May

London's Floating Circles Quartet are a group of Guildhall School of Music & Drama alumni who have been playing together since 2017. Humble Travelers is their debut album. If one had to pin a label on FCQ, chamber music is probably the most accurate off-the-peg description, though it is inadequate and oversimplified as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Alan Wakeman: The Octet Broadcasts 1969 and 1979

Read "The Octet Broadcasts 1969 and 1979" reviewed by Chris May

Despite a perception fostered by the more breathless media coverage given to the young lions who have emerged on the London scene since the mid 2010s, an identifiably British strand of jazz did not kick off when Shabaka Hutchings' Sons Of Kemet released its debut album in 2013. The groundwork was laid back in the 1950s ...

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums

Read "Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums" reviewed by Chris May

There can be little argument that a jazz label ever captured a zeitgeist more completely than Impulse! did during its original 1960s incarnation. In the US, the fight back against white racism was cresting, opposition to the Vietnam war was growing, outrage over the assassinations of figures of hope such as President Kennedy, Martin Luther King ...

Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Drummers have been key members of every band which has changed the course of jazz history, from Max Roach with Charlie Parker to Elvin Jones with John Coltrane and onwards. Yet drummers have been the leaders of a surprisingly small proportion of landmark bands themselves. Chick Webb in the 1920s was the first of the few. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Chip Wickham: Blue To Red

Read "Blue To Red" reviewed by Chris May

The marketing thrust accompanying Chip Wickham's third album emphasises an affinity between the disc and the late 1960s / early 1970s work of Yusef Lateef and Alice Coltrane. Certainly, Blue To Red ticks two boxes: Wickham puts aside his saxophone to play only flute and alto flute, whose seraphic tones were favoured by Lateef and Coltrane; ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Shabaka And The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here by History

Read "We Are Sent Here by History" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Even as Shabaka Hutchings moves the evolution of jazz forward, We Are Sent Here By History laments the present-day conditions of conflict, suffering, parity, and the struggle to survive. The saxophonist's breakthrough album came with his Sons of Kemet on Your Queen Is A Reptile (Impulse! Records, 2018). He also leads the jazz/electronica hybrid The Comet ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dragon's Fuel: Pomorandze / Oranges

Read "Pomorandze / Oranges" reviewed by Toj Samaz

Anyone can dance. And dance one will on this Eastern European steam ship. A cruise along the Danube with the taste of rakia (a Balkan spirit) in the mouth. Sharing an unexpected sunny day during winter with a bunch of friends. This could explain the almost childlike song titles. One might wonder whether the title was ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Ted Poor: You Already Know

Read "You Already Know" reviewed by Chris May

Breaking news 3/23/20: Impulse! is getting its mojo back. Showing definite signs of, anyway... Since its glory days in the 1960s and 1970s, Impulse! has been little more than a logo wheeled out by its parent company, Universal Music, to lend credibility to unrelated one-off projects. Until very recently, the only newly recorded ...


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