Shabaka and the Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History
Mar 13, 2020
86
To everyone interested in this band, I highly suggest checking out their 2016 debut, 'Wisdom of Elders' if you haven't already, incredible display of instrumental brilliance!

Skillful, well-spoken, innovative, I've recently gained a huge admiration and deep fascination for saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and his very notable works in groups such as The Comet is Coming and Sons of Kemet. In this current sociopolitical climate, the modernistic, unconventional jazz compositions he tends to be associated with not only prove to be exciting and especial for the current jazz scene, but remarkably poetic in its "sonic poem" technique. Often, listening to a Sons of Kemet record is like being submerged within the mind and perspective of another individual, dearly thought-provoking and exhilarating. Meanwhile, the nu-jazz and electro-psychedelic elements of The Comet is Coming serve to be spacious, futuristic and otherworldly, giving the sense of journeying to another planet.

Shabaka and the Ancestors touches upon similar spiritual themes in the music, but the band itself is very much different, indulging in a definite, familiar afro-jazz direction. In spite of the band's rhythmic style and modern influences, this album seems to revert to a more traditional jazz form, maintaining intensity in the ensemble, but ultimately feeling more like an ethereal journey, a relaxation of the mind for the most part. Quite the amazing contrast, to say the least, the experience is incredibly alluring!

What the band may not deliver in terms of restlessness, they certainly deliver in pure, natural energy, passion and personality, something that will quickly grab the attention of all listeners who happen to stumble upon these instrumental gems. A jazz record with such unique, interesting personality is a jazz record that's hard to ignore, hard to dislike. For such reasons, it can mean much more. When highlighting the artistic context, 'We are Sent Here by History' is a musical portrayal of existential thought and pure storytelling through inner emotions. With these qualities in mind, it perhaps explains why, I, a listener, can feel a touching closeness to this record without thinking much about the music I'm listening to. The whole journey just seems very natural, not artificial, just pure, raw human emotion in the form of jazz instruments. Absolutely stunning!

Although I undoubtedly believe this is one of the best albums of the year, I think The Skinny put it best when describing the experience one can expect: "what you gain from We Are Sent Here By History will be dictated by how much you connect with its musical vision. Sink into its groove though and it’s an album that presents a fascinating societal commentary."

FAV TRACKS: They Who Must Die; Go My Heart, Go to Heaven; Behold, the Deceiver; Run, the Darkness Will Pass; The Coming of the Strange Ones; Beast Too Spoke of Suffering; 'Til the Freedom Comes Home

LEAST FAV TRACK: Finally, the Man Cried
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