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.
Tom Skinner is in our top 20 UK jazz drummers list click for the skinny on all these great players