|Sons Of Kemet — My Queen Is Mamie Phipps Clark (March 30, 2018)|
Sons Of Kemet — My Queen Is Mamie Phipps Clark (March 30, 2018)EDITORS’ NOTES
♣¤★√ London new~school jazz practitioners Sons of Kemet have one particular queen in mind with the title of their third release, Your Queen Is a Reptile. Each track here is dedicated, instead, to an alternative queen from black history, some still living. Hotly tipped tenor saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who is of Barbadian ancestry, includes a short manifesto from “the children of immigrants” and “the descendants of the colonized.” With tuba player Theon Cross and the two~drum attack of Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick, Hutchings unleashes grooves that feel organic and loose~limbed, yet bracingly intense.
♣¤★√ “Náš přístup k hudbě se hluboce změnil, protože si myslím, že my, jako jednotlivci, jsme se všichni, z hlediska naší hudební citlivosti, rozšířili. To jistě lépe představuje, jaká je naše hudba. Je v tom stále ještě hodně energie, ale cítíme, že ta energie jde jiným způsobem, než před třemi lety. Zpočátku to bylo mnohem důraznější. Můžeme říci, že to bylo také více fyzicky silnější: cítili jsme se nabušenější a hráli jsme se tak po dlouhou dobu. Takže to znamená, že namísto toho, abychom se zaměřili na to, že se naše představení se zaměřuje na boj o dosažení cíle a na to, jak jsme vybíjeli svou energii, dnes je to spíše o ovládání naší energie a kam směřuje. To je náš hudební proces v tuto chvíli. V tom případě je naše hudba pro žánr méně specifická. Ve skutečnosti naše hudba nikdy nebyla spojena s určitým žánrem, ale teď se to stává ještě méně”. “Our approach to music has deeply changed, because I think that we, as individuals, have all grown in term of our musical sensibility. That’s surely shown by our music. There is still a lot of energy in it, but we feel that it is energetic in a different way than three years ago. In the beginning it was much stronger. We can say that it was also more physically stronger: we felt stronger and we played in that way for a wide amount of time. So, this means that instead of focussing our shows on the struggle to get to the end and how we battered our energy down, today they are more about controlling our energy and where it goes. That’s our musical process at the moment. Then, our music is less genre~specific. Actually, our music has never been related to a specific genre, but now it’s becoming even less of that”.
Location: London, UK
Album release: March 30, 2018
Record Label: Impulse!
01 My Queen Is Ada Eastman;
02 My Queen Is Mamie Phipps Clark;
03 My Queen Is Harriet Tubman;
04 My Queen Is Anna Julia Cooper;
05 My Queen Is Angela Davis;
06 My Queen Is Nanny of the Maroons;
07 My Queen Is Yaa Asantewaa;
08 My Queen Is Albertina Sisulu;
09 My Queen Is Doreen Lawrence
℗ 2018 Verve Label Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
♣¤★√ Shabaka Hutchings: saxophone;
♣¤★√ Pete Wareham: saxophone (track 4);
♣¤★√ Nubya Garcia: saxophone (track 7);
♣¤★√ Theon Cross: tuba;
♣¤★√ Tom Skinner: drums;
♣¤★√ Seb Rochford: drums (tracks 1, 2, 4~6, 8, 9);
♣¤★√ Moses Boyd: drums (tracks 3, 7, 8);
♣¤★√ Eddie Hick: drums (tracks 3, 7);
♣¤★√ Maxwell Hallett: drums (track 9);
♣¤★√ Josh Idehen: vocals (tracks 1, 9);
♣¤★√ Congo Natty: vocals (track 2).
By CHRIS MAY, February 21, 2018; Score: ****½
°•° It is appropriate that this, British~based Sons of Kemet’s third album, should be released under the Impulse banner. During its heyday, Impulse was the home of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders and as such was the chief platform for the cosmic/spiritual jazz movement of the 1960s and 1970s and that movement’s demand for white~majority society’s recognition of black culture and respect for black people. In 2018, the multi~racial Sons of Kemet, led by tenor saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings, is a prominent British driving~force behind a similarly politically~assertive genre reboot. So many of Hutchings’s musical heroes — who include the Coltranes and Sanders — have been housed under the label, that he says, “It’s an honour to join the family.” And just in case anyone misses it, Mzwandile Buthelezi’s cover art — not just the album spine — is rendered in Impulse’s signature orange and black.
°•° Your Queen Is A Reptile offers a stripped~down alternative to the sometimes overlong and overbaked cosmic offerings of artists such as Kamasi Washington. Washington’s otherwise excellent triple~CD debut, The Epic, would have been improved by rigorous editing, and less wafting and warbling from its heavenly choir. (Excessive running~time was addressed on Washington’s follow~up, Harmony Of Difference. Saccharine choral overload, unfortunately, was not). The nine tracks on Your Queen Is A Reptile, by contrast, are paragons of concision and grit.
°•° More importantly, perhaps, unlike Washington’s take on cosmic jazz, the Sons of Kemet’s music is explicitly grounded in everyday life, specifically the everyday life of people of African~Caribbean heritage living in Britain. Performance poet Josh Idehen adds excoriating verses to “My Queen Is Ada Eastman” and “My Queen Is Doreen Lawrence,” and toaster Congo Natty rides “My Queen Is Mamie Phipps” dub style. All nine tracks are named after women of African heritage, and the sleeve notes contain a hard~hitting refutation of the relevance of the British monarchy to Britain’s immigrant diaspora.
°•° The line~up on the album differs a little from that on Sons of Kemet’s debut, Burn, and second album, Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do. Hutchings and Theon Cross, who replaced tuba player Oren Marshall on Lest We Forget, are both still here. But the high energy, yet light footed, twin~drummer team of Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford is expanded on some tracks to a trio by Moses Boyd or Eddie Hick. There are also guest appearances by saxophonists Nubya Garcia and Pete Wareham.
°•° The title Your Queen Is A Reptile, by the way, references the surprisingly widespread belief that the members of the British royal family are all shape~shifting lizards from an alien civilisation. The jury is still out on that, but not on the inspirational lives of the women cited in the track titles. As large chunks of British society, and parts of American society too, whip themselves into an orgy of excitement over the upcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Your Queen Is A Reptile offer a timely antidote — and one given added impact by the multi~racial composition of the band. °•° https://www.allaboutjazz.com/
by Madison Bloom, MARCH 30 2018; Score: 7.6
°•° Your Queen is Sons of Kemet’s first release on Impulse!, the label that was home to Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and Pharoah Sanders at their peaks. This adds another dimension to Hutchings’ relationship with American jazz, placing him among the players whose work he’s trying so hard to subvert and deconstruct. It is a peculiar achievement for him in some ways, but it is also a testament to his talents as a composer and player. Hutchings may not feel any “ultimate reverence” to the genre, but its tastemakers see a lot of promise in him. Given the passion and innovation he’s breathing into contemporary jazz, why shouldn’t they? (excerpt)
Interview 2016: http://www.rhythmpassport.com/articles-and-reviews/interview/interview-shabaka-hutchings-sons-of-kemet-august-2016/
|Sons Of Kemet — My Queen Is Mamie Phipps Clark (March 30, 2018)|