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Shabaka trades in his sax for the flute on his solo debut album

Let’s think about what it takes to master something. You spend years committing to practicing, performing and honing your craft. You might get so good that you’re widely considered one of the best at what you do. Shabaka is one of those people.

The saxophone player is revered for his work in bands like Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming, but he stepped away to start over with a new instrument.

His debut solo album, Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace, is an exploration of the flute, including the Japanese shakuhachi. The record features appearances from Laraaji, Moses Sumney and André 3000.

In this session, Shabaka talks about why he went on a hiatus from playing the saxophone; how playing the flute improves his playing all-around; and how it helps to know someone when trying to get a hand-crafted shakuhachi in Japan.

Plus, Shabaka brought several beautiful flutes to play solo improvisational sketches, including one gifted to him by André 3000.

This episode of World Cafe was produced and edited by Miguel Perez. Our senior producer is Kimberly Junod and our engineer is Chris Williams. Our programming and booking coordinator is Chelsea Johnson and our line producer is Will Loftus.

Copyright 2024 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.
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