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We Are Sent Here By History

Shabaka And The Ancestors

We Are Sent Here By History

Second album from the London-based Sons of Kemet saxophonist Shabaka Hutching featuring poems written and sung by Siyabonga Mthembu

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  1. 10.0 |   The Arts Desk

    Though the album speaks ferociously of racial and social iniquity, toxic masculinity and more, it also imagines, and vividly depicts, a better world
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  2. 9.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    When the comet eventually comes – on the off-chance that a time vault or bunker manages to fulfil some earthly preservation – this could be a record to leave behind, with the hope that the next species can work a turntable
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  3. 9.0 |   Crack

    Hutchings’ message may be grandiose and his visions lofty, but his expression is nonetheless heartfelt and captivating. On We Are Sent Here by History, he makes it apparent that change – the lifeblood of jazz music – is necessary, lest we descend into stasis and merely accept the damaging history we have been given
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  4. 9.0 |   All Music

    Final proof that Hutchings is a modern jazz prophet; he sees the past as merely a jumping-off point for exploration, not only in music but in philosophical concepts, cultural theories, and spiritual precepts as an aesthetic
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  5. 8.0 |   Uncut

    While Hutchings' trademark, frantically circling sax figures are prominent, it's the album's sombre moments that prove the most powerful. Print edition only

  6. 8.0 |   Q

    It coats its spiritualism in an optimism that is never less than radiant. Print edition only

  7. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Hutchings has suggested his Ancestors work is an update of the griot tradition - weaving social commentary into seemingly harmless party pieces. We Are Sent Here By History achieves more: transforming impending doom into an affirmation of life. Print edition only

  8. 8.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    Consistently resolves toward hope, even if its underlying optimism isn’t so much the aversion of doom so much as the desire to meet that doom as one’s best self
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  9. 8.0 |   The FT

    An end-of-days theme runs through the album, which mixes free jazz, spoken word and church-rooted harmonies
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  10. 8.0 |   Pitchfork

    The British-Barbadian jazz saxophonist and his South African players narrate the apocalypse from a distant future, suggesting that in order to build anew, some things will first need to burn
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  11. 8.0 |   The Observer

    There are no synth squalls and fractured beats – instead, Hutchings’s tenor and clarinet are pitched against an acoustic ensemble driven by double bass and awash with Fender Rhodes piano, an approach that often echoes South Africa’s distinct jazz lineage
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  12. 7.0 |   Under The Radar

    A thoroughly enjoyable and well-executed assortment of tracks that will perhaps get better the more they are listened to
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  13. 6.0 |   The Skinny

    Shabaka Hutchings returns with a spiritual jazz odyssey that presents a new form of the griot storytelling tradition
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