Tom Skinner, Voices of Bishara, Brownswood ***

With Sons of Kemet no longer on the live scene it is interesting to look to what former members down the years are up to. Seb Rochford is to debut on ECM under his own name. Eddie Wakili Hick (Rochford's successor in the two-drummer set-up) has …

Published: 5 Nov 2022. Updated: 29 days.

With Sons of Kemet no longer on the live scene it is interesting to look to what former members down the years are up to. Seb Rochford is to debut on ECM under his own name.

Eddie Wakili Hick (Rochford's successor in the two-drummer set-up) has just released Njhyi leading the Max Roach M'Boom-recalling Nok Cultural Ensemble.

Shabaka Hutchings has released an excellent EP for Impulse under his own name. Theon Cross continues to issue solo recordings and is on the Njhyi track 'Awakening'. Oren Marshall's current activities (Cross' predecessor) are lesser known for the moment although his tenure in Pigfoot was epic encountered live in 2015.

Tom Skinner's main headline grabbing activity recently has been with high profile rock band The Smile (whose A Light For Attracting Attention also sees Theon Cross among the personnel) and here the drummer who with Shabaka the only two to remain in Sons of Kemet from its very earliest days until the current hiatus puts his head above the parapet to circulate in a completely different orbit. And it is so different verging somewhere between chamber jazz and free-ish spiritual jazz sounds. It's brief, more a mini-album than a full release.

Skinner has been a name player for decades on the London scene and his alias Hello Skinny beat this record to the punch by about 10 years. But all that is just conversational and Voices of Bishara is a very good thoughtful cerebral record nonetheless influenced by the late Abdul Wadud's By Myself. Tunes are by Skinner here with cellist Kareem Dayes, tenorist-flautist Nubya Garcia, the former Polar Bear bassist Tom Herbert and Skinner's Sons of Kemet leader and bandmate Shabaka Hutchings on tenor and bass clarinet. 'Voices (of the Past)' is the track to gravitate to most for the sheer acme of the interplay particularly between Skinner, Shabaka and Nubya.

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Julie Campiche Quartet, You Matter, Enja ***

The sound of the late Barbara Thompson listening to the saxophonist on appealingly moody opener 'Aquarius' comes to mind here firstly - the sax line in a downbeat dialogue musically with harpist Julie Campiche. It was just the timbre not …

Published: 5 Nov 2022. Updated: 31 days.

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The sound of the late Barbara Thompson listening to the saxophonist on appealingly moody opener 'Aquarius' comes to mind here firstly - the sax line in a downbeat dialogue musically with harpist Julie Campiche.

It was just the timbre not necessarily the style, capisce. It's not jazz-rock by the way more a punk-ish avant spirit. Rock-like drumming on 'The Other's Share' anchors the whole thing. It's all very tasteful and could connect as easily with a classical sensibility as a jazz one. 'Aquarius' is the most exhiliarating of the tracks but there are surprises, the spoken word drawn from speeches by Greta Thunberg on 'Fridays of Hope' amounts to some but these admittedly don't add much.

The darker more elemental sections where the quartet sound becomes still and hovers is far more interesting. Campiche whose approach is far less spiritual-jazz aimed than say the stand out harpist this year Alina Bzhezhinska is with saxist Leo Fumagalli, bassist Manu Hagmann and drummer Clemens Kuratle who was excellent with Ydivide this year.

You Matter is an album easier to admire than to really buy into. But the overall effect to its credit of what could even be taken to be a suite-like approach given the integrity of the compositional ideas deftly unveiled is more significant than cherry picking best bits here and there.