Sons of Kemet, Makaya McCraven, L’Rain & more played Central Park (pics, video)

Sons of Kemet, Makaya McCraven, L’Rain & more played Central Park (pics, video)Published: August 1, 2022photo by Ellen Qbertplaya

Having both played Newport Jazz fest the day before, UK group Sons of Kemet and Makaya McCraven hit NYC on Sunday night (7/31) for a free SummerStage in Central Park show with L'Rain and Danielle Ponder. Photos from the whole night by Ellen Qbertplaya are in this post.

This was likely the last chance a lot of people had to see Sons of Kemet, who have announced they are calling it quits at the end of the year. As such, the group — bandleader/saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, tuba player Theon Cross and drummers Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick — gave a tour-de-force performance on Sunday night, with Shabaka in particular going full blast the whole set, that featured hardly any down time between songs, if any. They are an impressive unit that had the crowd pogoing during the the most spirited, electric numbers of the night. It will be sad to see them go.

Behind his kit, Makaya McCraven played confident host to a crack ensemble and let all his bandmates — particularly vibraphonist Joel Ross — shine during their easygoing, smooth set, which included a number of tracks from his upcoming album In These Times.

Though she's played a number of times in NYC this year, L'Rain was a perfect complement to this lineup, back on her feet after a leg injury earlier this year and playing songs off her great 2021 album Fatigue and more with real passion.

The night was opened by Danielle Ponder, a late addition to this show, whose brief three-song set included a cover of Radiohead's "Creep." She'll soon be on tour with Marcus Mumford.

Shabaka Hutchings will be back when The Comet is Coming tour for their just announced new album. Drummer Tom Skinner will be back later this year as part of The Smile with Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood.

More pictures from Sunday's SummerStage show, plus fan-shot video of Sons of Kemet, Makaya McCraven and L'Rain, are below.