The River Doesn’t Like Strangers: Double Vinyl LP
Label: Native Rebel Recordings
Release Date: 8th April
A deep, dubby and bassy jazz record from saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael, representative of her Jamaican and British roots. Her playing is understated but stealthily impactful, it's the space between. This album comes out on Shabaka Hutching's label and most tracks written by him so naturally there's also a real fire to the playing from what may be one of the best British Jazz albums in the last few years.
For those who dig: dubby British Jazz, Theon Cross, Ill Considered, Sons of Kemet and Shabaka's other projects, Tom Herbert from Polar Bear plays on this record alongside his bandmate from The Invisible Dave Okumu...
The stunning debut album, The River Doesn’t Like Strangers on Shabaka Hutchings’ new label Native Rebel Recordings by saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael now finally available on vinyl!
Chelsea Carmichael is an understated innovator and educator, quietly adding her own contribution to the iteration of jazz that has evolved on these islands. She’s a warm and hypnotic player, who brings subtle and considered improvisation to everything she does.
Primo cultural instigator Shabaka Hutchings noted her potential and invited her to record the first release on Native Rebel Recordings. He wrote a set of songs for her, which she worked up at RAK studios with Eddie Hick (Sons of Kemet), Dave Okumu (The Invisible) and Tom Herbert (The Invisible; Polar Bear) and the resulting recordings comprise her 2021 debut album The River Doesn’t Like Strangers.
The album title comes from something her dad said when they visited Jamaica for the first time, when she was younger. The Rio Grande goes through the centre of his home village of Grants Level, in the parish of Portland. “The river has always had a reputation for not being very kind to new people. My dad’s not really superstitious, so it stuck out for me that he said that.”
These explorations include a focus on one particularly rich seam. “I’ve been really delving into the lineage of Black British excellence within jazz,” she adds, referencing the more obscure parts of Courtney Pine’s back catalogue and Nu Troop’s 1981 album ‘Migrations’ along with Denys Baptiste, Jason Yarde and Soweto Kinch. “The Conservatoire path is very American-focused. That’s where the music is from, but we have our own history and legacy here and we don’t do too much digging into it. It’s a personal project to dig into the history we have in this country.”