Your Queen is a Reptile

Your Queen is a Reptile by Sons of Kemet
Label Page: Impulse Records

Sons of Kemet are young Jazz players from London. The core of the group is Shabaka Hutchings on Sax, Theon Cross on Tuba, Tom Skinner on Drums, and Seb Rochford on Drums. This album also incluedes guest players like drummer Moses Boyd and Saxophonist Nubya Garcia. And, it features poetry/rap on 3 of the 9 songs.

While the title of the album is, “Your Queen is a Reptile”, the individual tracks are variously named after strong, influential women of African heritage. For example, “My Queen is Harriet Tubman”, was the lead single, and “My Queen is Angela Davis”, is another song.

The album functions on a lot of levels. First off, it is a pleasure to listen to. The music is occasionally raucous, but never excessively or uncomfortably. The players, first and foremost create a groove and a feel. Then layer on solos and rhythmic embellishment, and, in the case of some of the tracks on the album, poetry.

An album you can put on and just enjoy without thinking too much, or an album you can dig in to and think about, or an album you can dance to. It’s all of those things. Pretty neat trick.

As an aside, this is Sons of Kemet’s first album for the major Jazz label Impulse! And I hope it isn’t the last of this sort of experimentation for Impulse!

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