It begins with a gradually intensifying rumble of thunder and an explosion of brilliant light. This finally ushers in the long anticipated recorded incarnation of Shabaka Hutchings’ Sons Of Kemet. The band has been described as a supergroup in some quarters, given the high calibre of the musicians and their already demanding workloads in other projects.
The idiosyncratic reeds, tuba and double-drums quartet Sons of Kemet launched this bracing repertoire in London last week – and the axiom that there's not usually much duplication between a recorded jazz programme and a live one is borne out by an album that makes the perfect storm of Seb Rochford's and Tom Skinner's collective percussion sound, as if it's moved into your house. Opening with the galloping-hooves drumming, pulpy tuba hook and Pharoah Sanders-like sax supplications of All Will Surely Burn, the album goes on to balance thunder and reflectiveness surprisingly evenly – maybe the result of a long gestation for saxophonist/clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings' Caribbean and African-inspired material. The north African reeds melody, metal-castanet sounds and thundersheet roar of Oren Marshall's tuba effects are more revealingly separated on The Godfather than on the live show; Adonia's Lullaby is almost Celtic-folksy; Beware is an irresistible invitation to dance wherever you are, and Rivers of Babylon (the only cover) can rarely have been interpreted more sepulchrally – with Hutchings' tenor suggesting a slow-motion Sonny Rollins.