Shabaka: Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace review – an elegant rebirth

British jazz star Shabaka Hutchings drops the sax for reeds and flutes on an album exploring fear, courage and the power of breathwork

Typical: you wait ages for a flute album from a musician famous for other things, and then two come along almost at once. Hot on the exhale of rapper André 3000’s New Blue Sun, released last November, comes another exploratory redefinition, this time from British sax phenomenon Shabaka Hutchings. André 3000 guests here.

Hutchings stepped away from the saxophone at the end of 2023. Since the pandemic, this maven of the London jazz renaissance has been reassessing, exploring the gentler timbres of the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute whose breathwork takes time to master.

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