Shabaka: KCRW Guest DJ Set

Hosted by

When Shabaka smiles, the world smiles with him. Photo by Anna Chang/KCRW

When you think of the current jazz landscape, chances are you’re thinking of something that connects to Shabaka Hutchings. The renowned saxophonist and band leader has historically shown a penchant for making maximalist epics with a vast cosmic reach — one of his most beloved projects is called The Comet is Coming, after all. Perhaps you witnessed his mastery of the sax in tribute to spiritual jazz pioneer Pharoah Sanders at the Hollywood Bowl in 2023. Hutchings was on hand to help bring Sanders’ career-capping, 2021 album length composition Promises to life with the record’s co-creator Floating Points (among other profoundly skilled collaborators, including The Los Angeles Studio Orchestra). 

Hutchings’ latest opus released under the solo moniker of Shabaka is a similarly intimate affair… it just features way less sax than those familiar with the artist’s previous work might expect. Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace is an LP which pointedly centers various flutes and in so doing emerges as a spare and meditative exercise. Take this album with you on your next sunrise hike, reach peak enlightenment, repeat as often as necessary.

One constant that remains is Shabaka’s sharp ear for collaborators. On the new record you’ll find him teaming with Floating Points once again, as well as other KCRW faves like André 3000, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Laraaji, Lianne La Havas, and Moses Sumney (to name just a few). 

Ahead of his KCRW Presents show this Sunday night (Apr. 28) at Hollywood Forever Cemetary’s Masonic Lodge, Shabaka swings by MBE to share an eclectic sampling of a few of his favorite tunes. Plus, he goes deep on his flute obsession (he travels with a selection of 65 of ‘em!), his approach to collaboration… especially when it comes to working with his own father as he did for Perceive Its Beauty, and what folks can expect (or not expect) from his live show. “[There will be] some reference to the album,” Hutchings reveals”. “But [the show is] actually more about the spirit that we recorded the album in, which has been a big thing I've been trying to navigate… How much to actually try to be faithful to the album, how much to actually just be faithful to the vibe of the moment, and [how] to be able to have that freedom to create.” Peep the full tracklist below and click the player button to your left for the goods.

Shabaka: KCRW Guest DJ Set: Full Tracklist

  1. Priscilla Ermel – “Campo De Sonhos”
  2. Lil Rick – “Hard Wine”
  3. Wayne Shorter – "Indian Song"
  4. Venetian Snares – “Bonivital”
  5. Contour – "Good Call" 
  6. Fela Kuti – “Zombie”





Anna Chang