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Baker's Dozen

Learning Through Listening: Shabaka Hutchings Favourite LPs
Olamiju Fajemisin , March 28th, 2018 09:07

In anticipation of the release of Sons of Kemet's latest LP, Your Queen Is A Reptile and their appearance at this year's Field Day Festival, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings detailed the thirteen albums that shaped his experiences as both a man and a musician to Olamiju Fajemisin


Bismillah Khan – Ustad Bismillah Khan 
I actually just started to listen to him last week. He's just one of the ones I had on my phone. Classical Indian. He plays like Coltrane at peak intensity. Oftentimes, Coltrane slows down his phrasing especially as he reaches the upper register of his saxophone, starts repeating notes and in some ways will harmonically simplify what he's playing. So, for example, at one of the crests of 'A Love Supreme', he might be playing fast fast fast – but then he'll get right to the top and then start to slow down and enter what's almost like a moment of prayer. This is what I heard in Bismillah Khan. The way he just taps into his instrument makes me hear a connection between these two musicians. He's one of the first people out there to whom I've come across who has made me think, 'I need to listen to more of this to influence my own playing.' Not forgetting, the fact that he plays with limited notes so the focus is actually on his expressions and how he's actually relating to the beat. His relation to the true meaning of the music is what stands out most to me.