Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse!)

 |   |  1 min read

My Queen is Angela Davis
  Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse!)

Recorded in London, this third album by the saxophonist/composer Shabaka Hutchings brings together tenor sax, double drums and tuba into a stew of Afro-Caribbean jazz-funk and, as much as the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen during the Queen Elizabeth's jubilee year, in its own way this is direct dismissal of those born into royalty while Hutchings titles his tracks after those who became real queens in his mind.

They include Ada Eastman (Hutchings great-grandmother), Harriet Tubman, Anna Julia Cooper, Angela Davis and other black freedom fighters and activists. Including Doreen Lawrence, the mother of young Stephen Lawrence murdered in London in '93.

Musically it is a humid mix of rolling New Orleans grooves, some rather chunky Caribbean funk with guest vocalists Congo Natty and poet Joshua Idehen chanting down righteousness, and a nod towards dub production.

The players certainly have pedigree, among them are Seb Rochford (of Polar Bear etc) and tuba player Theon Cross provides the grounding at the seriously wobbling and exciting bottom end.

Maybe it comes up more compelling and powerful live but this lacks the adventurous musical spirit and reach of Hutchings predecessors on the label like Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and others.

Like so many Afrobeat bands (and they aren't in that bag, that's just a point of reference), this locks into a groove and seems happy enough to sit there with sometimes repetitive sax lines and melodic figures which too often pull back inside when the door is wide open.

Ironically then it is at its best when it pulls right back on My Queen is Nanny of the Maroons, a gentle and groove-riding piece with a light touch.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

If he'd done nothing else other than his tough-edged swamp-rockabilly hit Suzy-Q, Dale Hawkins out of Louisiana would still have made the rock'n'roll history books: Suzy-Q was co-written with... > Read more

Bilders: Mindful and Mean Time (both Powertools)

Bilders: Mindful and Mean Time (both Powertools)

Bilders (sometimes Bildrine) is the nom de disque of Bill Direen -- and that French there is not being pretentious as Direen spends much of his time in France, and the Mean Time album was largely... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Tropical North Queensland 2007: Big and wide but compact

Tropical North Queensland 2007: Big and wide but compact

It is a curious thing, but as big Australian cities boast about themselves and claim their points of difference, they all start to sound similar. Each will tell you of its wonderful seafood... > Read more

Sue and Horst's Famous Persimmon Cream Pie

Sue and Horst's Famous Persimmon Cream Pie

When you've got in-laws who have a large persimmon orchard you tend to learn all kinds of things that can be done with the underrated persimmon. My father-in-law Horst slices ripe ones and... > Read more