Sons Of Kemet
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About Sons Of Kemet
Sons of Kemet are a U.K.-based jazz supergroup combining four musicians from around the globe. Led by saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Shabaka Hutchings, Oren Marshall on tuba, and the duo of Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner on percussion and drums, the project started in the spring 2011. Their first concert was very well-received by an audience of jazz enthusiasts at Charlie Wright's International Bar in London. The lineup later shifted as drummer Eddie Hick replaced Rochford alongside Skinner, while Theon Cross (Brass Mask) assumed the tuba chair.
The sound of Sons of Kemet was developed in a lengthy process of practice and searching, and was largely inspired by Hutchings' research, drive, and passion. He was born in London and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Barbados, where he studied the clarinet and played in a variety of calypso and reggae bands. On his return to the U.K, he studied at the Guildhall School of Music. It was during this period that he found he was just as comfortable playing free jazz as he was playing swing. After a while, he decided he'd like to develop his individuality by turning to his roots and giving his music a Caribbean twist. Subsequently, he moved back to Barbados, where he studied alongside ethnomusicologists who specialized in Caribbean music. Hutchings has mentioned that in this time he picked up major influences from jazz artists Count Ossie and Cedric Im Brooks.
As for the rest of the group, drummer Seb Rochford is possibly Sons of Kemet's most noticeable figure due to his work as a session musician for the likes of Herbie Hancock, David Byrne, and Brian Eno, as well as his own projects Polar Bear, Acoustic Ladyland, and the Mercury Award-nominated Basquiat Strings. The equally busy Skinner took part in session work for Matthew Herbert, Malatu Astatke, and Eska. Marshall played for many years under his Oren Marshall Trio moniker, and in a variety of big jazz bands, and as a session musician for film and television.
Sons of Kemet's debut release, Burn, arrived in 2013, and Sons of Kemet won the jazz award at the MOBOs that same year. Lest We Forget What We Came Here to Do (their first with Cross) was released to widespread critical acclaim in early 2016. After touring Europe and the U.S. in 2017, Hutchings worked on several recordings including Yazz Ahmed's acclaimed debut, La Saboteuse. In January of the following year he announced that Sons of Kemet had signed to Impulse! Their debut for the label, Your Queen Is a Reptile, featured Hick and Moses Boyd playing on various tracks with Rochford as a percussion trio. The set was sociopolitical in nature, with each of its nine tracks titled for a woman of African heritage and history. Performance poet Josh Idehen assisted on two tracks and dub poet Congo Natty appeared on one. Your Queen Is a Reptile was issued in March of 2018. ~ James Pearce
- London, England