The album is a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he's long admiredAfter years spent in the orbit of Londonï¿½s jazz circuit, Shabaka Hutching examines and reimagines his influences with a dexterity thatï¿½s unique. Drawing out the vision underlying his new album, he says, ï¿½I see energy as being a form of wisdom to be passed down through the ages.ï¿½
Unpicking the albumï¿½s title, he continues, "When we study the music, the lives, the words of our master musicians we obtain a glimpse of that artist's essential energy source. This is the core vitality of the individual which leads them to utilise the musical specifics of their chosen genre in a way that mirrors their inner source of power. This is an intuited wisdom that's handed to us from the legacies of our elders.
The album is a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians heï¿½s long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom heï¿½d flown there to play with over the past few years. Recorded across just one day, the group drew on their South African lineage ï¿½ heroes like Zim Ngquwana and Bheki Mseleku ï¿½ to bring their own slant to the American jazz lineage which is reconfigured in Hutchingsï¿½ compositions themselves.
Going beyond the jazz greats Hutchings cites, influences are drawn from plenty of other sources: Caribbean calypso, central African song structures and Southern African Nguni music all play a part. Bringing together those ideas with the contributions of his bandmates is, he explains, crucial to what he sees in the role of an album artist. ï¿½Even though I wrote all the music, for me, the leader of the project isnï¿½t the person who writes all the music but the one who has a vision for how certain musical elements will be combined."