COMPOSERS: Sons of Kemet
ALBUM TITLE: Sons of Kemet: Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do
WORKS: Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do
PERFORMER: Shabaka Hutchings (sax), Tom Skinner (drums), Seb Rochford (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: CD217
Group leader Hutchings has described Lest We Forget as ‘a meditation on the Caribbean Diaspora in Britain’. Alongside the Caribbean elements there are hints of Arabic rhythms. But for me the overall effect, thanks to the Sons’ use of tuba and two drummers and their strutting spring-heeled rhythms, evokes revivalist New Orleans marching bands like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band. These incorporate more modern influences such as R‘n’B and funk.
Out front, Hutchings takes care of post-free-jazz business with some acerbic virtuosity over the driving tuba riffs and complex percussion patterns. Maybe a tad more variety would have been good, but it all adds up to an exciting, danceable, exhilarating album. It’s a set that can also be thought-provoking once you know the background to some of the compositions, including one inspired by a novel presenting a futuristic vision the band considers close enough to normality to be unsettling. Barry Witherden