The British-born Barbados-raised saxophonist and clarinetist is the centrifugal force in three critically-acclaimed bands: Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and the South African-centered Shabaka and the Ancestors, who released their second album We Are Sent Here By History in March 2020.
He signed to Impulse! in 2018 after a six-year stretch rising to prominence with international sold-out shows that dissolved old genre boundaries and attracted eminent attention. Along the way he picked up accolades including two Mercury Prize nominations, a MOBO and a 2020 inclusion as one of Downbeat’s “Musicians Shaping The Future Of Jazz.” His band The Comet Is Coming created a memorable NPR Tiny Desk show. There has been endless coverage from The New Yorker to Afropunk. Sons of Kemet appeared in The New York Times Magazines “Songs That Matter Right Now” and Pitchfork’s “Best Songs of the 2010s” and were included in the soundtrack to groundbreaking visual media including Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix and Michaela Coel’s award-winning BBC/HBO show I May Destroy You.
Comet, Kemet and The Ancestors – as well as numerous ad hoc ensembles – are separated by personnel and sound palette but the records naturally talk to each other. He writes the music for Sons of Kemet and leads Shabaka and the Ancestors, whilst the music for The Comet is Coming is developed from within improvised jam sessions. It’s a rich set of overlapping musical worlds in which music is written whenever the opportunity rises. Pre-pandemic, most of these opportunities were on the road: in 2019 Hutchings performed around 100 gigs over ten months with Comet plus another 40 shows solo or in other ensembles.