MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT

Shabaka Hutchings

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Much of the creativity being showcased in the jazz world is happening in the UK, and at the center of that musical community is tenor saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. Born in London, he spent most of his childhood in his parents’ native Barbados. The diversity of the people and cultures of those two locales helped shaped his musical identity.

 

Picking up a clarinet at the age of nine, Hutchings would play along to his favorite hip-hop artists, including the Notorious BIG, Nas, and Tupac. He returned to England to study classical music on the instrument and not only earned his degree but also a coveted spot in the Tomorrow’s Warriors program.  Other members have included Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, and future bandmate Theon Cross.

The much-lauded Sons of Kemet came together in 2011. With Hutchings now on sax as well as clarinet, the band was originally comprised of a stable of drummers Tom Skinner, Seb Rochford, and Eddie Hick. Oren Marshall on tuba (later replaced by Theon Cross). Rochford later left the group, but the quartet continues to record and play live.

Sons of Kemet have been huge contributors to the London jazz scene, first releasing  Burn in 2013 and Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do in 2015. Signing to legendary Impulse Records, the Sons released Our Queen Is a Reptile in 2018. The group’s latest, Black to the Future, was released in 2021. “Sons of Kemet’s fourth album is [Hutchings’]  most outgoing and evangelical yet, but it carries no trace of compromise…Sons of Kemet’s music is as rooted in the brass-laden carnivals of the Caribbean and London garage raves as it is in the more established American traditions.”  

Kanadia

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The Heavy Heavy

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