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Shabaka Hutchings review – soaring to unfettered heights

Over the past decade, the hard-blowing sound of Shabaka Hutchings’s saxophone has been a constant of the British jazz scene. Working through short, percussive phrases in the double-drummer group Sons of Kemet, laying out long, looping lines in the psychedelic jazz trio Comet Is Coming, or screeching in the punk-influenced Melt Yourself Down, throughout myriad formations the power of Hutchings’s playing remains immediate.

The intensity of that musicianship has taken its toll, since Hutchings recently announced that from 2024 he will be taking a break from the saxophone to focus on the gentle sonics of other woodwinds instead.

Tonight’s performance is his last on the sax and the program is apt: an interpretation of pioneering saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1965 spiritual jazz masterpiece, A Love Supreme. A half-hour suite that riffs on the syllabic rhythm of the record’s title, A Love Supreme requires communal unity to ground its repeated melodies, as much as it does individual virtuosity to soar.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 10/12/23]

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