Shabaka and the Ancestors

Wisdom of Elders

  • bwood155cd bwood155lp
  • £11.99
  • £19.99

Tradition shapes your work. For saxophonist and bandleader Shabaka Hutchings, that's something he's long understood. After years spent in the orbit of London's jazz circuit, he examines and reimagines his influences with a dexterity that's unique. The album is a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he's long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom he'd flown there to play with over the past few years. Recorded across just one day, the group drew on their South African lineage - heroes like Zim Ngquwana and Bheki Mseleku - to bring their own slant to the American jazz lineage which is reconfigured in Hutchings' compositions themselves. Going beyond the jazz greats Hutchings cites, influences are drawn from plenty of other sources: Caribbean calypso, central African song structures and Southern African Nguni music all play a part. A regular sight on stages around London and beyond, playing - and often leading - groups like The Comet Is Coming, Sons of Kemet and Melt Yourself Down, he's part of a generation whose idea of jazz is pointedly unrefined. That's to say, 'Wisdom of the Elders' comes from an artist interested in the indefinable gaps more than fitting into boxes.

Featured in: Jazztastic