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Jazz - Released March 13, 2020 | Impulse!

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In 2016, Shabaka Hutchings made his debut with Impulse! with Your Queen is a Reptile, recorded with Sons of Kemet. Since his beginnings, the saxophonist and posterboy for the blossoming new British jazz scene has collaborated with plenty of artists (Sun Ra Arkestra, Heliocentrics, Anthony Joseph, Floating Points) and beefed up plenty of groups (The Comet Is Coming, Melt Yourself Down). With Shabaka & The Ancestors, he is joined by musicians from Johannesburg for an eclectic and engaged jazz record, blending spirituality and shamanic feelings. Four years after Wisdom of Elder, We Are Sent Here By History continues the South African adventure. Once again surrounded by a subtle but powerful rhythm section (bassist Ariel Zamonsky, drummer Tumi Mogorosi and percussionist Gontse Makhene), an inspired wind section (alto saxophonist Mthunzi Mvubu and trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni) and pianists Nduduzo Makhathini and Thandi Ntuli, Shabaka creates solid links between a jazz inherited by Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders and Don Cherry and the vast plethora that is African music. Zulu chants (We Will Work (On Redefining Manhood)) and texts sung by Siyabonga Mthembu that touch on ecology as much as the relationships between men and women reinforce this torrent of music. We Are Sent Here By History (better than its predecessor) is a snapshot of an era which questions the future of its protagonists, but is also a study of the values and sounds to conquer the future. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 21, 2020 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released February 21, 2020 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released January 31, 2020 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released January 31, 2020 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released September 27, 2019 | Impulse!

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A little more than a year after the release of Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (a studio session from March 1963), the label Impulse! has released a new unpublished recording by John Coltrane. Recorded on June 24, 1964 (between the Crescent and A Love Supreme sessions) with his faithful colleagues Jimmy Garrison (double bass), Elvin Jones (drums) and McCoy Tyner (piano), Blue World is not an album like his others. In fact, it is music for film. Canadian director Gilles Groulx, a friend of Garrison, commissioned Trane’s Quartet to illustrate his next feature film, The Cat in the Bag. And the saxophonist obliged without warning his label. At the end of the short session, Groulx left for Quebec with the record under his arm but only used a few minutes in the final cut.55 years later, the whole session has resurfaced and we discover a truly inspired Coltrane, intertwining highly spiritual sequences with dazzling punctuations. The saxophonist was in a period of letting go of complex, superimposed harmonies. Later on in his career he even abandoned Western harmonies. Here, Coltrane is in the midst of a transition and the cohesion between the four musicians is stunning throughout. Blue World offers new takes of pieces that were recorded for his 1960 albums: his hit Naima which carried the album Giant Steps, as well as Village Blues and Like Sonny, two pieces found on his record Coltrane Jazz. Despite not being as essential as Crescent and A Love Supreme, Blue World remains a superb document concocted by a quartet unfortunately unable to provide anecdotal information. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 27, 2019 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released September 27, 2019 | Impulse!

For the second time in 2019, England's spiritual sci-fi jazz trio the Comet Is Coming lay out their dystopian vision of earth with a provocative, hybrid evolutionary "new thing" music that melds electronica, soulful out-jazz, spidery funk, swampy dub, and prophetic poetry. Cut during the same sessions as Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, it's not a collection of outtakes or even a sequel, but a holistic mirror image that comes from the same sphere of aesthetic investigation and font of inspiration. According to the band, "…These two records can be seen as companions that cannot exist without each other, like day and night, light and dark, creation and destruction. They were made together, at the same time, and have always been intended to be experienced together." At nearly eight minutes, "All That Matters Is the Moments" is one of the set's longest cuts. It's introduced by sweeping outer space electronics and Shabaka Hutchings' spiraling tenor sax playing a cosmic, spiritual blues solo before guest poet Joshua Idehen begins his prophetic dissemblage above Dan "Danalogue" Leavers' low-tuned, fuzzed-out, dubwise bassline and Max "Betamax” Hallett's Nyabinghi-style tom-tom and cymbal drumming. After Idehen delivers a spiky prediction amid the notion that what he's doing is "daydreaming of a world I won't live to see," he offers a glimmer of hope as he speaks of holding onto cherished memories of the friendships that came during times of loss and destruction. King Shabaka's tenor horn slices in and wails the blues amid phase-shifted atmospherics and layered electronic textures fusing future jazz and reggae. "The Softness of the Present" stands in pillowy contrast as its interlocking grooves of layered keyboards and rolling snare frame Hutchings' hypnotic, melodic, Nigerian-inspired melody. The set shifts again in the title track's amorphous darkness informed by atmospheric and dynamic hints of menace via a minimalist, hypnotic four-note sax line, sine-wave oscillations, synth and organ ostinatos, and doomy drumming (reminiscent of Martin Hannett's production on Joy Division's Closer). The two-part "Lifeforce" is introduced by beeps and space blips, wafting keyboard chord voicings, and rolling cymbals and snares. Hutchings practices circular breathing in a seemingly unending flurry of insistent yet melancholy notes that crisscross Albert Ayler, Roland Kirk, and John Coltrane during the first half. Its latter part is an insistent, funky, pulsing rhythmic stomp using all the same elements. Closer "The Seven Planetary Heavens" is a processional, its slow march punctuated by slow, sweeping lyricism in a pronounced series of changes that highlight tension and release via the rhythm section's canny interplay and wonky Danalogue electronics. It eventually breaks wide open, signaling that the end of one thing -- cultures, planets, stars, galaxies -- always gives birth to another through disruption and evolution. Suffice to say, it, like Afterlife as a whole, ends in a very different place from where it began, leaving the listener to wonder if it's the introduction to Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, or a provocative new beginning altogether. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 27, 2019 | Impulse!

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A little more than a year after the release of Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (a studio session from March 1963), the label Impulse! has released a new unpublished recording by John Coltrane. Recorded on June 24, 1964 (between the Crescent and A Love Supreme sessions) with his faithful colleagues Jimmy Garrison (double bass), Elvin Jones (drums) and McCoy Tyner (piano), Blue World is not an album like his others. In fact, it is music for film. Canadian director Gilles Groulx, a friend of Garrison, commissioned Trane’s Quartet to illustrate his next feature film, The Cat in the Bag. And the saxophonist obliged without warning his label. At the end of the short session, Groulx left for Quebec with the record under his arm but only used a few minutes in the final cut.55 years later, the whole session has resurfaced and we discover a truly inspired Coltrane, intertwining highly spiritual sequences with dazzling punctuations. The saxophonist was in a period of letting go of complex, superimposed harmonies. Later on in his career he even abandoned Western harmonies. Here, Coltrane is in the midst of a transition and the cohesion between the four musicians is stunning throughout. Blue World offers new takes of pieces that were recorded for his 1960 albums: his hit Naima which carried the album Giant Steps, as well as Village Blues and Like Sonny, two pieces found on his record Coltrane Jazz. Despite not being as essential as Crescent and A Love Supreme, Blue World remains a superb document concocted by a quartet unfortunately unable to provide anecdotal information. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 6, 2019 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released August 16, 2019 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released March 15, 2019 | Impulse!

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Saxophonist and clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings is a real connoisseur of sounds and fusions, and a true explorer. Each of his new musical expeditions pushes him further towards the top of today’s jazz scene… Born in London in 1984, he grew up under the Barbadian sun before moving back to England in 1999 where he joined the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Here, he caught the attention of saxophonist Soweto Kinch and started hanging out with big names like Courtney Pine and Jerry Dammers from the Specials. In 2011, Shabaka launched Sons of Kemet, a surprising quartet featuring a tuba and two drums. A complete oddity, halfway between a marching band and a chamber orchestra, that blends jazz, Caribbean and African music, Egyptian influences, and flavours from New Orleans and Ethiopia. The aptly titled The Comet Is Coming – no relations to Sons Of Kemet – is another adaptation of jazz language. But does it still qualify as jazz? It doesn’t really matter. As a sort of electro-drip-fed Sun Ra of the third millennium, Shabaka Hutchings – who calls himself King Shabaka here – is supported by a duo composed of Danalogue on the keyboards and Betamax on drums and percussions. It’s a rather avant-garde programme set to overpowered percussive rhythmic and hypnotising brass improvisations. Sun Ra, as we said… It’s hard not to mention him who was idolised (or hated) for his lengthy compositions and mind-blowing, almost psychedelic performances as well as for the odd cosmic philosophy he preached. The Comet is Coming’s second album, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, remains profoundly attached to its time, in which Shabaka injects his philosophy with contemporary elements far removed from master Ra’s semantic like when he hands over the microphone to rapper/spoken-word performer Kate Tempest on Blood Of The Past. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 26, 2018 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Label Impulse! has unearthed from its archives this previously unreleased concert from November 2007 between two absolute giants: Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. The bass player, who passed away in 2014, met the pianist for the first time in the early nineties. The spark was instantaneous, and the two virtuosos regularly worked together, both on stage and in studio. But never in duo. This 2007 live was the first time. At the invitation of Heidelberg Enjoy Jazz Festival, in Germany, Haden and Mehldau agreed to perform together in the magical setting of a church, the Christuskirche in Mannheim. And while the result was stunning, the tapes remained in storage for over a decade… "It’s thrilling to play with someone who improvises like this”, recalls the American pianist. “After all, this is the guy who did it first on his instrument. Those early records of the Ornette Coleman Quartet like This is Our Music or Change of the Century were not “free” in the sense that they abandoned the principles of harmony. They often were free of a fixed harmonic schema, though, and Charlie was improvising the harmony, from the ground up!"Above all else, it’s the depth of their complicity that shines through on this recording. The ease with which Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau integrate space and silence in their exchanges is sublime. In terms of repertoire, they opted for classics  (Charlie Parker, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Gershwin, Kern…) that they stroke with their fingertips. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 26, 2018 | Impulse!

Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Label Impulse! has unearthed from its archives this previously unreleased concert from November 2007 between two absolute giants: Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. The bass player, who passed away in 2014, met the pianist for the first time in the early nineties. The spark was instantaneous, and the two virtuosos regularly worked together, both on stage and in studio. But never in duo. This 2007 live was the first time. At the invitation of Heidelberg Enjoy Jazz Festival, in Germany, Haden and Mehldau agreed to perform together in the magical setting of a church, the Christuskirche in Mannheim. And while the result was stunning, the tapes remained in storage for over a decade… "It’s thrilling to play with someone who improvises like this”, recalls the American pianist. “After all, this is the guy who did it first on his instrument. Those early records of the Ornette Coleman Quartet like This is Our Music or Change of the Century were not “free” in the sense that they abandoned the principles of harmony. They often were free of a fixed harmonic schema, though, and Charlie was improvising the harmony, from the ground up!"Above all else, it’s the depth of their complicity that shines through on this recording. The ease with which Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau integrate space and silence in their exchanges is sublime. In terms of repertoire, they opted for classics  (Charlie Parker, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Gershwin, Kern…) that they stroke with their fingertips. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 29, 2018 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz - 5 étoiles de Classica
“It’s like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid.” Saxophonist Sonny Rollins didn’t weigh his words to describe this previously unreleased session recorded by John Coltrane in March 1963 and released for the first time in June 2018. When it comes to original content, so-called gems and other rarities, labels are masters at scraping the bottom of the barrel and pumping up the cash register with anecdotal, at times completely useless content. In this case however, it’s a completely different story. Although the posthumous discography of John Coltrane, who passed away in July 1967, is already massive, this Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album is turning out to be a prime addition! The most tender of all tenderloins! The ultimate treat! The only negative would be this Lost Album appellation, as no document proves that Trane, or even his producer Bob Thiele, had in any way considered to turn this impeccable session into a proper album… The scene takes place in March 1963. Four days before the saxophonist, surrounded by his legendary Praetorian guard – pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, bass player Jimmy Garrison – recorded an essential album with singer Johnny Hartman. In the afternoon of Wednesday 6th, the quartet dropped by Rudy Van Gelder’s famous studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Just a few hours before going back to Manhattan to perform on stage at the Birdland. The tapes of this session have been retrieved by the family of Naima, Coltrane’s first wife. Fourteen tracks are playable. Fourteen, including two original songs, Untitled Original 11386 and Untitled Original 11383, on which Garrison performs a double bass solo! This marvel is available in a simple edition (seven tracks selected by John’s son, Ravi Coltrane) or Deluxe (all fourteen tracks!). The bond between the four men jumps out like rarely before. Coltrane alternates between deep sequences that foreshadow incoming wild swerves (Untitled Original 11386 and his legendary Impressions), and lyrical moments (the classic Nature Boy). Notes flood down, combining perfectly with McCoy Tyner’s percussive style… Although Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album doesn’t provide any new information on Coltrane’s quartet, it is still a completely indispensable archive, both for its musical and sound quality. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 29, 2018 | Impulse!

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
“It’s like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid.” Saxophonist Sonny Rollins didn’t weigh his words to describe this previously unreleased session recorded by John Coltrane in March 1963 and released for the first time in June 2018. When it comes to original content, so-called gems and other rarities, labels are masters at scraping the bottom of the barrel and pumping up the cash register with anecdotal, at times completely useless content. In this case however, it’s a completely different story. Although the posthumous discography of John Coltrane, who passed away in July 1967, is already massive, this Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album is turning out to be a prime addition! The most tender of all tenderloins! The ultimate treat! The only negative would be this Lost Album appellation, as no document proves that Trane, or even his producer Bob Thiele, had in any way considered to turn this impeccable session into a proper album… The scene takes place in March 1963. Four days before the saxophonist, surrounded by his legendary Praetorian guard – pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, bass player Jimmy Garrison – recorded an essential album with singer Johnny Hartman. In the afternoon of Wednesday 6th, the quartet dropped by Rudy Van Gelder’s famous studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Just a few hours before going back to Manhattan to perform on stage at the Birdland. The tapes of this session have been retrieved by the family of Naima, Coltrane’s first wife. Fourteen tracks are playable. Fourteen, including two original songs, Untitled Original 11386 and Untitled Original 11383, on which Garrison performs a double bass solo! This marvel is available in a simple edition (seven tracks selected by John’s son, Ravi Coltrane) or Deluxe (all fourteen tracks!). The bond between the four men jumps out like rarely before. Coltrane alternates between deep sequences that foreshadow incoming wild swerves (Untitled Original 11386 and his legendary Impressions), and lyrical moments (the classic Nature Boy). Notes flood down, combining perfectly with McCoy Tyner’s percussive style… Although Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album doesn’t provide any new information on Coltrane’s quartet, it is still a completely indispensable archive, both for its musical and sound quality. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 1, 2018 | Impulse!

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Released in 2015 by the label Impulse!, Aria was an impressive first album for Sullivan Fortner. After making a name for himself as the designated pianist for Roy Hargrove, Stefon Harris and Christian Scott, the New Orleans native played a classical, yet not anecdotal card. Quite the contrary in fact. His technique was already formidable, his influences (Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols) perfectly assimilated, his writing (five of the album’s ten compositions) impeccably on point, but more than anything, it was the characteristic DNA of New Orleans that transpired through his fingers. Three years later, the aesthete impresses even more with his Moments Preserved produced in collaboration with bass player Ameen Saleem and drummer Jeremy 'Bean' Clemmons. Sullivan Fortner is no old timer, but a master like you don’t see anymore. Much like the late Mulgrew Miller, his piano combines a toppling technique with a musicality of exquisite taste. No time for smokescreens. With Fortner, everything is refinement, elegance and an acute sense of conversation with his accomplices, including his ex-boss and trumpeter Roy Hargrove on three tracks. Moments Preserved is an unadulterated jazz album. No artificial colours to go with the zeitgeist! Timeless music like only the greatest musicians can produce. Even when he covers Earth, Wind & Fire’s Fantasy, Sullivan Fortner fully makes this massive hit his own, rendering it unrecognizable! Astounding. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 1, 2018 | Impulse!

Booklet
Released in 2015 by the label Impulse!, Aria was an impressive first album for Sullivan Fortner. After making a name for himself as the designated pianist for Roy Hargrove, Stefon Harris and Christian Scott, the New Orleans native played a classical, yet not anecdotal card. Quite the contrary in fact. His technique was already formidable, his influences (Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols) perfectly assimilated, his writing (five of the album’s ten compositions) impeccably on point, but more than anything, it was the characteristic DNA of New Orleans that transpired through his fingers. Three years later, the aesthete impresses even more with his Moments Preserved produced in collaboration with bass player Ameen Saleem and drummer Jeremy 'Bean' Clemmons. Sullivan Fortner is no old timer, but a master like you don’t see anymore. Much like the late Mulgrew Miller, his piano combines a toppling technique with a musicality of exquisite taste. No time for smokescreens. With Fortner, everything is refinement, elegance and an acute sense of conversation with his accomplices, including his ex-boss and trumpeter Roy Hargrove on three tracks. Moments Preserved is an unadulterated jazz album. No artificial colours to go with the zeitgeist! Timeless music like only the greatest musicians can produce. Even when he covers Earth, Wind & Fire’s Fantasy, Sullivan Fortner fully makes this massive hit his own, rendering it unrecognizable! Astounding. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 30, 2018 | Impulse!

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For his début on the label impulse!, Shabaka Hutchings is performing with Sons Of Kemet, the group which probably resembles him the most. A prestigious orange and black label, at one time very politically engaged: it seems impulse! and Hutchings were meant for each other. “So many of my musical heroes including John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders have been housed under this record label, it’s an honour to join the family.”, the star said of the blossoming contemporary British jazz scene... The brilliant saxophonist is turning out project and pieces one after another, (Sun Ra Arkestra, Heliocentrics, Anthony Joseph, Floating Points) and is voraciously working his way through bands: The Comet Is Coming, Melt Yourself Down, Shabaka And The Ancestors, and now Sons Of Kemet, which have been going since 2011. Born in London in 1984, Hutchings spent his youth in Barbados where he studied classical clarinet before playing in calypso and reggae groups, later to be joined by Soweto Kinch, who plays here with co-conspirators Theon Cross on tuba and two drummers, Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick. His quartet's atypical jazz pays little heed to stylistic boundaries as it celebrates the way that they Caribbean diaspora in the UK constantly explores its identity. Recorded in London with guests like Jungle legend Congo Natty or poet Joshua Idehen, this third album from Sons Of Kemet is also a manifesto denouncing what Hutchings and his friends call the injustice of the British monarchy, an oppressive political system that they say underpins social inequalities and racial discrimination. Rejecting the unequal system embodied by the Queen of England, they propose an alternative, celebrating other Queens. "Our Queens walked among us. Our Queens led by action, by example, our Queens listened. Our Queens made bright futures out of cruel and unfair pasts." Every composition on the album pays homage to a different queen: My Queen is Ada Eastman, My Queen is Harriet Tubman, My Queen is Angela Davis, My Queen is Yaa Asantewaa. Musically, Your Queen Is A Reptile delves as much into the musical heritage of New Orleans as that of London, the Caribbean or the Middle East. Even rap, spoken word and dub are brought in to enrich this protean jazz which lends a real and contemporary identity to the impulse! label, which is synonymous with stylistic battles from the 1960s and 1970s. Powerful © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 30, 2018 | Impulse!

For his début on the label impulse!, Shabaka Hutchings is performing with Sons Of Kemet, the group which probably resembles him the most. A prestigious orange and black label, at one time very politically engaged: it seems impulse! and Hutchings were meant for each other. “So many of my musical heroes including John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders have been housed under this record label, it’s an honour to join the family.”, the star said of the blossoming contemporary British jazz scene... The brilliant saxophonist is turning out project and pieces one after another, (Sun Ra Arkestra, Heliocentrics, Anthony Joseph, Floating Points) and is voraciously working his way through bands: The Comet Is Coming, Melt Yourself Down, Shabaka And The Ancestors, and now Sons Of Kemet, which have been going since 2011. Born in London in 1984, Hutchings spent his youth in Barbados where he studied classical clarinet before playing in calypso and reggae groups, later to be joined by Soweto Kinch, who plays here with co-conspirators Theon Cross on tuba and two drummers, Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick. His quartet's atypical jazz pays little heed to stylistic boundaries as it celebrates the way that they Caribbean diaspora in the UK constantly explores its identity. Recorded in London with guests like Jungle legend Congo Natty or poet Joshua Idehen, this third album from Sons Of Kemet is also a manifesto denouncing what Hutchings and his friends call the injustice of the British monarchy, an oppressive political system that they say underpins social inequalities and racial discrimination. Rejecting the unequal system embodied by the Queen of England, they propose an alternative, celebrating other Queens. "Our Queens walked among us. Our Queens led by action, by example, our Queens listened. Our Queens made bright futures out of cruel and unfair pasts." Every composition on the album pays homage to a different queen: My Queen is Ada Eastman, My Queen is Harriet Tubman, My Queen is Angela Davis, My Queen is Yaa Asantewaa. Musically, Your Queen Is A Reptile delves as much into the musical heritage of New Orleans as that of London, the Caribbean or the Middle East. Even rap, spoken word and dub are brought in to enrich this protean jazz which lends a real and contemporary identity to the impulse! label, which is synonymous with stylistic battles from the 1960s and 1970s. Powerful © Marc Zisman/Qobuz