Ten years ago, if you'd have told me that one of the most exciting jazz groups in the world would be made up of two drummers, a saxophonist, and a tuba player, I'd probably have said, "Yeah, right. If that happens, I'll eat my John Coltrane records."
I'm glad I never made such a bet. (Not just because my stomach would hurt.) And not just because Sons of Kemet, led by fiery British tenor saxophonist phenomenon Shabaka Hutchings, have made four exploratory albums that treat improvisation as a savior and rhythm as a deity. But because in a live setting, they're a revelation, filling a dance floor as few jazz bands can. The first time I saw them, in 2018, at the side room of the SFJAZZ Center, nearly every single body moved in time, nonstop.