Shabaka and the Ancestors
Shabaka & the Ancestors is a modern avant-jazz octet led by British/Barbadian tenor saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings. Its remaining members are South African jazzmen Mthunzi Mvubu (alto sax); Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet); Siyabonga Mthembu (vocals); Nduduzo Makhathini (Rhodes, piano); Ariel Zamonsky (bass); Gontse Makhene (percussion), and Tumi Mogorosi (drums). Hutchings had made several trips to South Africa between 2012 and 2014, immersing himself in the wide variety of the country's rich musical heritage. In early 2015, he assembled this group to "present the musical language that I normally associate with my U.K. bands in the context of Shabaka & the Ancestors' music and musical sensibilities." He composed a psalm in nine parts and recorded it. The finished album, Wisdom of Elders, was issued on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label in September 2016. After Hutchings spent the next several years touring and recording with his own quartet and with the Comet Is Coming, he reconvened the Ancestors in South Africa. They spent two years periodically working between studios in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The finished effort, entitled We Are Sent Here by History, is a Pan-African outing that conjugated African and Afro-Caribbean traditions. Its concept was to explore the role of the griot in the occidental African culture via an international blend of spiritual jazz. Issued by Impulse!, the set appeared in mid-March of 2020.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 13, 2020 | Impulse!
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