Stories » 'The Comet is Coming' dances to the apocalypse and pleads for humanity / Pitchfork

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'The Comet is Coming' dances to the apocalypse and pleads for humanity / Pitchfork

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For the past two years, London saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings has traveled the globe as one of jazz music's top performers, lending his hallmark bluster to like-minded artists Makaya McCraven and Moses Sumney, while crafting the sonic direction for two of his three disparate bands: the Caribbean dance-themed Sons of Kemet, the spiritual jazz-focused Shabaka and the Ancestors, and the cosmic jazz-centered the Comet Is Coming. Through a tireless work ethic, Hutchings has become one of the trendiest musicians in all of jazz, and is the leader of a U.K. jazz scene that boasts such names as Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, and Theon Cross.

Yet if there's a flashpoint of Hutchings' ascendance, it's 2016, when his other band, the Comet Is Coming, was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize Album of the Year and Shabaka and the Ancestors released an exquisite album called Wisdom of Elders on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings label. From there, his name and likeness started appearing everywhere: Hop on his Instagram and Facebook pages, and you're likely to see Hutchings blaring his sax on stage through grainy video footage, or posing alongside the likes of Kamasi Washington, who's become a fan of his work. Though Hutchings has been a driving force in the British underground since the early 2010s-having played with a variety of bands, including the punk-focused Melt Yourself Down, and the kaleidoscopic jazz group Polar Bear-it seems the rest of the world is coming around to his magnetic creative artistry.