Release Date: Mar 13, 2020
Record label: Impulse!
In West Africa, histories have been passed down through generations by griots, storytellers who collect the wisdom of the past in order to help shape our fates. Even after the advent of the written word, such storytellers were the safest manner of recording knowledge--scrolls could be lost, and libraries could burn, but oral histories were shared by the collective consciousness, written in our genes, able to survive individual tragedies to persist through time. In that sense, griots are more than just historians--they're the library.
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F ronting three different groups may seem like hubris, but the energy and vision of London-based saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is not easily contained. This second album from his alliance with assorted South African musicians is both calmer and more ominous than his work with the Comet Is Coming and Sons of Kemet. There are no synth squalls and fractured beats - instead, Hutchings's tenor and clarinet are pitched against an acoustic ensemble driven by double bass and awash with Fender Rhodes piano, an approach that often echoes South Africa's distinct jazz lineage.