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The Comet Is Coming flips the minimalist palette into an electrifying, apocalyptic sound / Pitchfork

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The cosmic fusion group skewers the jazz-trio format as it's typically understood, flipping the minimalist palette into an electrifying, apocalyptic sound.

Since their debut was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize in 2016, the Comet is Coming's saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings has become a formidable presence in the international jazz scene in his own right, making fans of Beyoncé and Virgil Abloh along the way. Hutchings landed not just one but three different bands on the Impulse label in the process. From the Afro-Caribbean stomp of his Sons of Kemet to the South African spiritual jazz of Shabaka and the Ancestors, his music is simultaneously rooted in the traditional, broadly international in scope, and thoroughly of the moment.

But there's something in the way the Comet Is Coming skewers the typical jazz trio that stands apart from his other projects. Its surface speaks to the cosmic sounds of Sun Ra, but there's something raw and earthy at the core. Comet draw from the minimal, restrained palette of the trio format to make something that's electrifying and apocalyptic all at once, able to tear the roof of jazz-as well as rock, jam band, and EDM-festivals. A companion piece to this year's Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, The Afterlife continues to hover over that album's scorched earth, not replicating the rush of "Summon the Fire" but instead exploring in greater detail that set's most somber moments. It's concise yet also shows the trio's depth in just over 30 minutes.

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