Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon Last Minute Christmas Sale Save Big On Tech After Black Friday

It's not too late to pick up tech gifts from Amazon. It's Last Minute Christmas Deals sale has discounts across smart home, laptops, monitors, speakers and other gadgets.

Kamaal Williams - The Return Music Album Reviews

Kamaal Williams - The Return Music Album Reviews
Following the dissolution of the jazz-funk duo Yussef Kamaal, the London keyboardist returns with an urbane, dynamic album that’s deeply rooted in the city’s rhythms.

Walk the streets of South London and you might catch Kamaal Williams cruising the concrete in a customized Chevy Impala. His swaggering brand of cool-hand jazz makes for potent lowrider fuel—the cosmic keys and snappy drums could tempt even Roy Ayers to ride shotgun. This is music that connects Camberwell to Cali, not just in its affinity for the pioneering cats of classic West Coast sounds but its spiritual kinship to Kamasi Washington, Ryan Porter, Terrace Martin, Thundercat, and other latter-day LA artists. Spanning both sides of the Atlantic, this kaleidoscopic vision of jazz comes cut with a motley set of groovy throwback influences.


Williams (who also produces soulful house as Henry Wu) first laid out his smooth remit alongside drummer Yussef Dayes in the duo Yussef Kamaal. The pair’s still-great 2016 album Black Focus seamlessly blended jazz, funk, boogie, Afrobeat, and hip-hop in a way that captured the culturally diverse districts of the English capital. In doing so, Yussef Kamaal positioned themselves alongside the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Zara McFarlane, and the Ezra Collective as old-school-minded Londoners who made music that gloriously distilled the city’s plurality. Against the acidic backdrop of Brexit-era Britain, where the struggles of immigrants and institutional hostility toward people of color have been so brutally laid out by the Grenfell Tower tragedy and Windrush scandal, Yussef Kamaal’s music felt like a small antidote to the malignancy stirring in the UK’s soul.

Yet the group’s excellence manifested just once. They split last year, the break so sudden that Williams and Dayes didn’t even fulfill all their gigging commitments as a duo. And now we have The Return, which could easily be the sequel to Black Focus—at least, that seems to be Williams’ pitch. The album artwork and fonts match. He even named his label Black Focus! Most importantly, the music maintains the same softly bumpin’ style, even without Dayes by his side.

As soon as Williams’ celestial keys begin to percolate and swirl on the opening “Salaam,” it’s clear that little has changed. The track’s silky chords and sluggish grooves satisfy like a cold beer in the summertime, with the 1970s R&B flavor highlighting Williams’ eagerness to venture a couple degrees further away from jazz than he did on Black Focus. Hearing the young virtuoso contort classic genres to his will is thrilling. And while Dayes’ rasping drumming—so key to Black Focus’ hippest jams, like “Lowrider” and “Joint 17”—is missed, newly recruited percussionist MckNasty offers his own urbane rhythms. The ethos of “Catch the Loop” is right there in the title: The rubbery bassline and crisp drums, evoking the spirit of the funky practitioner Dr. Lonnie Smith, are just begging rap producers to come snatch a sample.

Much of The Return highlights Williams as a master arranger. On “Broken Theme,” the off-kilter drums and keys sound like they’ve been beamed in from two completely different planets, yet every few seconds, they snap into line, bringing balance to the wild freak-out. The calming “Medina,” meanwhile, is the song most rooted in the tradition of basement jazz clubs. The serene mood is as timeless as whiskey and bitters, and Williams caresses the keys like he has all the time in the universe.

Should you be looking for flaws, there are a couple of strange decisions. “Rhythm Commission” could have been an album highlight had it been given room to breathe, but the two-and-a-half minute running time is barely enough to let the funk sink in. “The Return” swoons with string-led orchestration reminiscent of Jon Brion’s arrangements on Kanye West’s Late Registration, but at just 66 seconds long, the track begs to be developed into a full-bodied number. There was room for this album to grow.

Williams’ ambition appears to have been to present himself as belonging to the same continuum as Yussef Kamaal while establishing himself as a solo artist. Job done. Yet The Return does even more. It’s a sweet snapshot of London 2018—an encapsulation of a newly brewing jazz community, uniting numerous cultural strands that make up the city. When the scene needed him most, Kamaal Williams returned to show the way.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos are the perfect thing for a busy weeknight dinner. They are easy to throw together using leftover chicken and can be customized using whatever Mexican toppings your gang enjoys.

Vorwerk Kobold VR300 Review

At nearly £1000, does the VR300 offer enough to justify the purchase when you can pick up a robot vac for £100s less? Find out in our Vorwerk Kobold VR300 review
Should I Buy The Vorwerk Kobold VR300?
It’s expensive, but the Kobold VR300 provides an impressive vacuuming experience that we think could rival that of a conventional vacuum cleaner, but it’s not as smart as some rivals – yet. The low-profile design, upgraded SLAM technology and D-shape design allow the VR300 to safely navigate around obstacles and reach every last nook and cranny.

Amazon Last Minute Christmas Sale Save Big On Tech After Black Friday

It's not too late to pick up tech gifts from Amazon. It's Last Minute Christmas Deals sale has discounts across smart home, laptops, monitors, speakers and other gadgets.

Asus ZenBook 14 (UX433) Review

Asus has revamped the ZenBook line with a whole new design, including a lighter build, redesigned hinge, and a light-up numpad built right into the touch pad
Should I Buy The Asus ZenBook 14 UX433?
The ZenBook 14 is a very promising shakeup to the Asus laptop line. It’s smaller, lighter, and better looking than any of the previous models, without having to sacrifice either ports or powers. There aren't many laptops around that can offer you a 14in display in a body this compact while still giving you USB-A and HDMI ports, not to mention a Core i7 processor.
Unless you're an Excel addict you can probably safely ignore the glowing numpad - it's a fun gimmick, but most of us will probably forget it's even there, and without tactile feedback it's hardly a proper replacement for the keys. Still, this is a strong enough laptop elsewhere that it doesn't need that gimmick to get by, and there's plenty to recommend it otherwise.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

Nth Time's a Charm

If you groaned at the thought of another "Spider-Man" movie, fear not because you weren't alone. How many times can one character be rebooted or reimagined before it becomes insufferable? Apparently we aren't there yet, because "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Everyone's history with the movies about our favorite neighborhood webslinger differs. Sam Raimi's trilogy has its diehard fans (despite only producing one truly great film) and the Andrew Garfield-led "The Amazing Spider-Man" movies were cut short when they didn't meet expectations (the first one is good!). Last year, Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Homecoming" found Tom Holland in the title role, providing a fun, well-rounded look at the character, which had been missing for a while.

Like Fan Page