Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings signs to impulse! Records. His group Sons of Kemet releases Your Queen Is A Reptile April 2018
"he emitted a powerful energy from his horn, but vested each note with its own shape and sensitivity." – New York Times
Sons of Kemet & pianist Sullivan Fortner perform at impulse! stage at Winter Jazzfest Jan 12
Shabaka Hutchings, saxophonist, band leader and composer, has signed to impulse! records under the umbrella of Verve Label Group. One of his groups Sons of Kemet will release their third album Your Queen Is A Reptile on impulse! on March 30, 2018. To celebrate this signing and the label returning to the United States under VLG, impulse! will present a showcase at Winter Jazzfest on January 12 at Le Poisson Rouge, featuring Sons of Kemet and pianist Sullivan Fortner.
Danny Bennett, President & CEO of Verve Label Group says of the signing, "Shabaka Hutchings exemplifies the mission of impulse! and Verve Label Group, which is to shift paradigms musically. Shabaka's multi-faceted approach to music making and his appreciation of defying genres, bucking trends, and creating new lanes, is exactly what this label aims to achieve."
Sons of Kemet is the iconoclastic mix of tenor sax, tuba and double drums. On this third studio album, they bring a genre defying approach that celebrates the restless exploration of identity within the Caribbean diaspora within the U.K. Your Queen is a Reptile was recorded in London with a host of guests spanning the breadth of the U.K. scene including jungle legend Congo Natty and poet Joshua Idehen.
Your Queen Is A Reptile is a manifesto of sorts, addressing the British monarchy, which Hutchings believes celebrates a lifestyle that validates the injustice of class and race discrimination in Great Britain. Hutchings rejects the notion that some are born better, and thus the idolatry of the British Queen.
Instead, he presents an alternative: his own Queens. "Our Queens led by action, by example, our Queens listened. Our Queens made bright futures out of cruel and unfair pasts."
Each track on this album celebrates a different Queen: "My Queen Is Ada Eastman," "My Queen Is Harriet Tubman," "My Queen Is Angela Davis," "My Queen Is Yaa Asantewaa," "My Queen Is Mamie Phipps Clark," among others.
Sonically, this album stretches from New Orleans to the Caribbean to London to the Middle East. With the instrumentation of tuba, drums and sax, it has a second-line quality that marches into the Caribbean diaspora. There is spoken word, rap, and elements of dub, further emphasizing jazz's place in today's hip-hop world.
Hutchings performed last year at Winter Jazzfest with his group Shabaka & The Ancestors, which The New York Times described as a "powerful and stylish band." This year, in addition to the Sons of Kemet's performance at LPR on January 12, his third group The Comet Is Coming will perform on the BBC's stage on January 10 at Le Poisson Rouge. It is rare that an artist is invited to perform at Winter Jazzfest two years in a row.
Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and Shabaka & The Ancestors, are all signed to impulse!, which has relocated to the United States to operate under the umbrella of Verve Label Group, alongside Verve Records. Founded in 1960, impulse! is associated with revolutionary jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Pharoah Sanders, among others.
The Verve Label Group (VLG), a division of Universal Music Group based in New York City, is home to many of the most acclaimed artists in Jazz and Classical music, while also strongly focused on championing emerging talent across all genres.