Thursday 6 September 2018

'Palmares Fantasy' by Sean Khan f/t Hermeto Pascoal

'Palmares Fantasy' marks the third solo outing from UK saxophonist, Sean Khan, and may very well mark his most impressive effort yet.

Released through Far Out Recordings, the former member of the 1990's broken beat/nu-jazz collective known as the SK Radicals continues to further cement his legacy as one of the finest jazz musicians of his generation.  Khan's first solo release, 'Slow Burner', in 2012 debuted his vision for contemporary jazz, which was helped tremendously in 2015 with the release of his follow-up album, 'Muriel', which sparked collaborations with Omar, 4 Hero, Ben Hauke, Heidi Vogel and Sabrina Malheiros.  'Muriel' was a stunning project but for 2018, he may very well have surpassed it with the release of 'Palmares Fantasy'.

Named after a Brazilian city, Palmares (famed for becoming home to run-away African slaves), the album pairs Khan with the iconic Brazilian composer and improviser, Hermeto Pascoal, along with Jim Mullen (guitar), Ivan 'Mamao' Conti (Azymuth drummer) and Paulo Russo on bass.  As touched upon before, Sean Khan very much wears his intentions on his sleeve - a progressive, innovative and forward-thinking musician, heavily inspired by Latin jazz and an artist who continually pays tribute to a classic jazz aesthetic and its pioneers:  At the risk of sounding paternalistic, and certainly in no way to diminish the excellent work of his past offerings, but this could very well be the album Sean Khan has always wanted to make.

Having graced stages around the world, chalked up former collaborations with Clifford (famed for his work with John Coltrane and Sun Ra) and South African multi-instrumentalist Bheki Mseleku, that classic aesthetic is evident, and on 'Palmares Fantasy', that respect for the pioneers extends to a near ten-minute interpretation of Pascoal's own 'Montreux' which serves as the centrepiece for the project.  Two of the 'Muriel' guest vocalists return to recreate their magic with Khan, with Heidi Vogel guesting on the album's cinematic opening and closing numbers 'Moment of Collapse' and 'Your Way Not My Way', respectively, and fellow Far Out Recordings label-mate, Sabrina Malheiros, injecting some of her infectious energy on 'Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser'.

Rarely a year goes by that Far Out doesn't have a hotly-tipped contribution to an album of the year, and for 2018, this looks very likely to be it.

We were very fortunate to have secured time with Sean Khan following the release of 'Muriel' and you can read that interview here.

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