Kicking off simply with drums & bass, ‘Bone & Soil’ builds slowly to a crescendo of Chelsea’s soothing tenor saxophone melody. Of the track, Chelsea commented: “‘Bone and Soil’ is an ode to one of my favourite poems by Nayyirah Waheed, titled ‘melanin | Bone and Soil’ It reads: We write from the body. / It remembers everything.”
Engineered at London’s iconic RAK studios by Will Purton and recorded with Eddie Hick (Sons of Kemet), Dave Okumu (The Invisible) and Tom Herbert (The Invisible; Polar Bear),
The River Doesn’t Like Strangers from start to finish is jazz mastery at its finest. The title track was inspired by the words of Chelsea’s dad on the Rio Grande in Jamaica: the river that goes through the centre of his home village of Grants Level, in the parish of Portland.
“I feel that the way that I play on this record draws inspiration from the lineage of black music making and the Caribbean Diasporas,” Chelsea said of the album. “It only felt right to reference my own lineage, and what has always been inside me even before a saxophone was put in my hands.”
Originally from Warrington, Chelsea is a Conservatoire-trained musician who has already been part of a Mercury-nominated band – she played on SEED Ensemble’s 2019 Driftglass – and has recently laid down sax on Little Sims’ track ‘Point & Kill’, as well as playing live with Kano.
She also currently plays with Theon Cross, the Neue Grafik Ensemble. Following a performance together in May 2019 at the Total Refreshment Centre-affiliated Church of Sound with South African band The Brother Moves, Shabaka noted Chelsea’s potential and invited her to record the first release on the new label.
Chelsea Carmichael is an undeniably exciting talent. Watch this space.