Album Review: Sons of Kemet / ‘Burn’ (Naim Jazz)



From the glare of stage spotlights to alone and out in the wild, the Sons are a travelling quartet boarding a Mystery Machine that can brake from 60-0 at the click of a finger. Distinctive UK jazz congregates Bolero-like performance art and the expected aspects of an all hands to the pump ensemble, creating buzz-worthy bursts that clash with deliberations showing respect for classical compositions.

After opener “All Will Surely Burn” builds a wailing wall of squalls and “Inner Babylon” follows with a blitzkrieg of percussion — SoK on some double drummer biz, with a solitary horns-man attempting to play funk pacifist on both — the presence of impish clarinet and reeds take over. Between light-hearted and fending for itself when passages are left threadbare, and part of a tuba-assisted little-and-large combo, you can never imagine its players simply standing still, more likely to be performing ballet steps in a narration needing no vocal adornment.

When the band is sworn to playing quietly, the thin line emerges between going on instinct and pre-rehearsed storyline; either way, it confirms a live presence that will dominate any boards they tread. “Going Home,” “Beware” and “The Itis” see an intersection of frenetic, limb-heavy jazz hustle and the lead character tiptoeing impudently. In sharp contrast, “The Book of Disquiet” leads the record’s pleas for caution, where cymbals and snares vibrate to plant seeds of doubt in darkness, and a pastoral finale creatively reconstructs Boney M.

File under: Quantic, Hidden Orchestra, Ariya Afrobeat Arkestra

Matt Oliver

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