REVIEW: Shabaka Hutchings and Sons of Kemet + David Austin Grey’s Greyish Quartet @ Hare & Hounds, June 6th

Words by Robert Kornreich

An enjoyable gig – especially Sons of Kemet. Both good to hear and to watch.

BUT let’s get this clear at the start. I don’t do the language of ‘funky’ and ‘streetwise’. Not even the ‘hip’ of my youth. Indeed, these terms make me cringe with their naff over-blown aspiration to… ‘coolness’? Right, that’s out of the way.

Sons of Kemet is a new-ish, London based quartet. All their numbers were… great. Just go and listen to the wonderfully driving rhythm of ‘Itis’; to that passionately coarse, lyrical sax, the chanting tuba (yes, a tuba), to the two drummers (yup, two).

Led by Shabaka Hutchings (classically trained & coming from B’ham) on saxophone and clarinet, with Oren Marshall on tuba and the two drummers; Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford.  Did I hear elements of Fela Kuti’s  West African Afrobeat? Of John Coltrane’s Love Supreme? Did I hear elements of Rai and Klezmer? I hope so.

David Austin Grey’s Greyish Quartet, in support, played many of the numbers from their recent debut album, ‘The Dark Red Room’ – music inspired by film and photography.

Upfront was ‘You’re like Kryptonite’, their jazz-funk/ fusion in the style of Joe Zawinul and Miles Davis’ ‘Bitches Brew’. Or is it Herbie Hancock? Indeed, that style was much of their set.

Unfortunately (for me) they didn’t play any of, what I hear as, their 1960s/ 70s post-bebop cool numbers; shades of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bill Evans. But, then, I was pleased that they also didn’t play their rap and hip hop numbers. Yup, that’s me.

Was this, as my friend asked, enjoyable, engaging and inspiring? In a word; yes. Yes (OK, two words: I’m an enthusiast).

And, I will constantly remind him, not a finger-clicking intellectually superior audience poseur in sight. Just wild eruptions of joyful applause.

Shabaka Hutchings & Sons of Kemet release their debut album later in 2012.

For more info visit http://www.shabakahutchings.com/

For more on David Austin Grey and Greyish Quartet, including samples of ‘The Dark Red Room’, visit www.davidaustingrey.com

For more gigs at the Hare & Hounds, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk

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