Perceive its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace (Impulse!)

Contact Jacob Daneman, Sam McAllister about Shabaka

Shabaka, the artist best known for his work as the incendiary sax player and band leader of celebrated groups Sons of Kemet and The Comet Is Coming, announces his new solo album, Perceive its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace, out April 12th via Impulse!. This new work sees Shabaka primarily focus on flutes and softer woodwinds, as he shares the lead single/video, “End of Innocence,” which features Shabaka on clarinet. The piece features contributions from Jason Moran (piano), Nasheet Waits (drums), and Carlos Niño (percussion), and its Phoebe Boswell-directed video features a languid Shabaka moving fluidly while enveloped in water as the sounds of the piece similarly wash over the listener. Additionally, Shabaka has announced two performances in Brooklyn, NY at National Sawdust on Tuesday, April 23rd. Pre-sale begins today at 10am EST, general on-sale March 1st at 10am EST. He will also be performing at Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN at the end of March. Of “End of Innocence,” and the album broadly, Shabaka says it “really signifies a departure for me, a departure from the bands that I’ve become known for playing in, and the arrival of the flutes in general. I bring a lot of flutes to the album and explore different kind of sonic terrains, although for this track in particular, it’s not actually the flute, it’s the clarinet. It’s my first instrument, the instrument that I consider to be my primary instrument, so it’s really going back to what I feel most comfortable with.”


Having put the saxophone down and devoting his studies and energies towards the flute, Perceive its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace is, in a sense, a debut album. And yet, the album also serves as a reintroduction to the artist, a levitating, stunning work chock full of the lessons he’s learned over the course of his life and career. It represents the spirit of exploration that the artist is most tapped into these days. With contributions on the record from André 3000, Esperanza Spalding, Moses Sumney, Brandee Younger, Floating Points, Laraaji, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Saul Williams, Elucid, and more, Perceive its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace is a grand artistic statement from Shabaka, impossible to classify into genre, and bottomless in its exploratory curiosity.


Shabaka’s recent musical exploration includes employing a variety of flutes, including the ancient Japanese Shakuhachi, which he started playing in 2020 during the pandemic. “Since then, it has slowly changed the scope of my musical inner landscape and drawn me towards a multitude of other instruments in the flute family,” he explained. “As more flutes have been added to my arsenal including Mayan Teotihuacan drone flutes, Brazilian Pifanos, Native American flutes and South American Quenas, I’ve started to appreciate the underlying principles that cause these instruments to resonate most fully and use this understanding to form a concept allowing me to freely move between instruments.”


On New Year’s Day 2023, in the wake of the release of his 2022 debut EP, Afrikan Culture (which notably featured the artist primarily on flutes), Shabaka announced that beginning in 2024 he’d take a hiatus from playing the saxophone publicly, with his intention to cease playing with bands in which the saxophone was his primary instrument.


For the flute-forward album Perceive its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace, Shabaka tapped into a remarkable cadre of players. “I invited a bunch of musicians I’ve met and admired over the past few years of touring throughout the United States to collaborate and everyone said yes, which I constantly find breathtaking,” he disclosed. His aim was to gather the musicians at Rudy Van Gelder’s historic studios, which he says “informed the sound of so many seminal jazz albums that have shaped my musical aptitude. We played with no headphones or separation in the room so we could capture the atmosphere of simply playing together in the space without a technological intermediary.”


When asked about the meaning of the song’s titles, he explained that his previous album’s song titles can be read as poems, respectively. “The narrative aspect of my albums is always intentional,” he explained. “Around the release of the Shabaka and the Ancestors album We Are Sent Here by History, I coined the term ‘sonic poems’ to express how I’m intending the listener to relate to the words associated with the sounds contained on the disc. Each title on this disc was extracted from a longer poem written specifically for the album which only achieved its full meaning in the presence of the music.” Perceive its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace follows in this tradition of titles as symbolizing a narrative which is necessarily subjective and expansive in relation to the listener’s experience with the heard music.”


    Jul 06, 2024
    Montreal, QC
    Montreal Jazz Festival

    Aug 04, 2024
    Newport, RI
    Newport Jazz Festival

    Oct 23, 2024
    Madison, WI
    Wisconsin Union Theatre