Shabaka and the Ancestors

OLG After Dark Series

Tuesday June 27 @ 10:30pm, Tartan Homes Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza


Shabaka Hutchings - tenor saxophone
Mthunzi Mvubu - alto saxophone
Siyabonga Mthembu - vocals
Ariel Zamonsky - bass
Tumi Mogorosi - drums
Gontse Makhene - percussions

The breakout ensemble from New York City’s 2017 Winter JazzFest was clearly Shabaka and the Ancestors. Led by London-based tenor saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, the rest of the seven-man Ancestors hail from Johannesburg, South Africa. In concert and on their debut album The Wisdom of Elders Shabaka and the Ancestors conjure a paradoxically experimental and traditional message that refers to both the Afro-Futurist movement ascribed to Sun Ra and the quasi-spiritual leanings of John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and more recently Kasami Washington. Onstage, the Ancestors project an unforced communal feeling. Individuals’ parts come to the fore, but the combined flow of saxes, trumpet and electric piano founded in bass and percussion is never less than cohesive. The Ancestors embody a motto of the Art Ensemble of Chicago: “Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future.”