Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Learning Through Listening: Shabaka Hutchings Favourite LPs

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

"Growing up in Barbados and experiencing carnival played a massive role in how I see the function of music, or the atmosphere that I want to have at many of my concerts," says Shabaka Hutchings down a crackly phone line. Hutchings called Barbados home between the ages of six and sixteen and it was there that his classical and spiritual musical education began.

His career is rooted in his classical clarinet training from the age of six. It wasn’t until later that he picked up the saxophone, which he taught himself to play save for "a couple of lessons with John Toussant". It wasn’t an easy process: "it’s been a long hard process getting it [the saxophone] into my system," he says; "Ii’s only in the last four, maybe three years in which I’ve felt comfortable playing the saxophone". It’s remarkable that he’s so modest given that his chops have made the various groups in which he plays – Sons Of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down and The Comet Is Coming – some of the most thrilling both live and on record in recent years.

Though a seemingly reserved man, Shabaka lets his passion run away with him when discussing the records that resonate with him, stun him and reduce him to being simply a listener and observer. When reminiscing over the musical experiences that truly stayed with him, he tells me, "At some stage she [Björk] became a conduit for this raw energy that’s here in the atmosphere", in reference to witnessing a Björk a performance in the wake of Volta, an album that didn’t even make the list.

Your Queen is a Reptile is out on Verve Records on the 30th of March 2018. Click on the picture below to see the thirteen albums chosen for his Baker’s Dozen. Sons Of Kemet play Field Day this summer, for more information go here. Shabaka has been nominated for the Jazz FM award Jazz Innovation Of The Year; the ceremony takes place on 30th April – International Jazz Day). Click the image below to begin reading the Baker’s Dozen

First Record

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