Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Shabaka And The Ancestors ‎– We Are Sent Here By History (Impulse, 2020)

A mainstay on the fertile London jazz sense, British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings leads a group of South African musicians on this interesting and forward thinking album. The band features Mthunzi Mvubu on alto saxophone, Ariel Zamonsky on bass, Gontse Makhene on percussion and Tumi Mogorosi on drums, along with guests on certain tracks. "They Who Must Die" opens the album with percussion, thick bass, vocalization and melodic saxophone which emphasizes a hypnotic theme. Tension and release allow intense and exciting percussion and saxophone with vocal encouragement. Loud - soft dynamics, repetition and release allow the group to stretch out providing their statement of purpose over the percolating rhythm. "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven" features taut bass, harmonizing horns at a medium tempo, vocals and complex percussion. The music flows together well becoming faster with insistent horn playing and an impressive saxophone solo. Spare electric piano droplets with light percussion usher in "Behold, The Deceiver" with soft and subtle horn playing, gradually building a powerful rhythm with percussion and saxophones. A saxophone solos with excellent bass support, flying high and soaring, while deep thick bass underpins all vocal samples and keyboard playing, pushing fast to the conclusion. "The Coming Of The Strange Ones" uses thick, elastic bass and drums with riffing horns develop a fast pace, easing into an urgent theme with everything bubbling and boiling quickly with purpose. Tart sounding saxophone breaks out for a fine solo playing off the excellent bass work for a scorching feature, stretching out, taking things to a higher level. Withering free sounding improvisation fades in on "Beast Too Spoke Of Suffering" creating a fast and exciting blowing session with torrid horns and percussion, coalescing around a raw theme which then leads to spare wounded sounds. "Til The Freedom Comes Home" conjures tight rhythm and saxophone with vocal chanting, building a deep groove, exuberant hand percussion music grows faster and more intense, with ripe saxophone accents channeling the music. Slinky saxophone groove is inciting on "Finally, The Man Cried" as the bass and drums fall in around and in support. Strong and gutsy performance moving forward, with vocalizing adding further texture to the music, leading to the finale, "Teach Me How To Be Vulnerable." Hutchings solo saxophone, breathy and calm, meets with piano to create a beautiful ballad to close the album. There is so much history between the South African and British jazz scenes with the likes of The Blue Notes and Brotherhood of Breath in the 60's and 70's and this fine group is continuing that cause of thought provoking spiritual jazz today. We Are Sent Here By History -

Send comments to Tim.