Busy bandleader Shabaka Hutchings has had an interesting journey. Born in London, raised in Bardados, he returned to the UK and has become one of the pillars of a rejuvenated jazz scene there. As a member of of Sons of Kemet, The Comet is coming and the leader of his own group, Shabaka and the Ancestors, he is an active part of the Brownswood label’s pantheon of artists.
His mission in moving back to London involved studying the clarinet, building on the instrument he began teaching himself in his youth by playing along with hip-hop artists. He continued his education as part of the Tomorrow's Warriors project and eventually added the saxophone to his arsenal.
Incorporating the hip-hop he cut his teeth on, along with soca (Soul of Calypso), he’s also been influenced by acid house and drum & bass music, he and many of his contemporaries travel to the outer reaches of the jazz genre.
His first recordings were with the quartet, the award-winning trio, Sons of Kemet (with Theon Cross on trumpet), on Burn in 2013 and two more recordings. The Comic is Coming adds electronica and psychedelic funk to the mix and have several releases as well. The Ancestors’ 2016 debut, Wisdom of Elders, was released by Brownswood Recordings. If you haven’t been listening to at least one of Hutchings’ musical incarnations, you have a lot of catching up to do.
Black Skin, Black Masks