Yussef Kamaal – Black Focus

Shame, shame shame on us for not bringing this monumental piece of work to your attention when it was first released at the start of the month. Yussef Kamaal’s debut offering – ‘Black Focus’ brings something to the UK jazz, funk scene that we have been hankering after for quite some time.

So, who is / are Yussef Kamaal? Pretty simple really – Yussef Dayes (United Vibrations) and Kamaal Williams (a.k.a Henry Wu), accompanied by other fine musicians as the arrangement requires.

Given that both hail from South London and have by all accounts been acquainted since 2007 you may ask why it’s taken so long for them to find their way to this point and sound. Who cares really, it’s here now and you need it.

They first came together in their current form to perform a Boiler Room live session awash with the sweeping synth breaks (no joke – the panning on the synths for this session is something to behold in itself), drumming flair and rugged yet funky bass that punctuates their debut offering. Boy are we glad that things developed from there.

The frenetic pace of Dayes’s drumming coupled with the depth and detail of the bass lines that drive the melodies on tracks like ‘Strings of Light’ and ‘Lowrider’ hit you straight down the middle and can easily lead you astray. Allow yourself to sink deeper into the mix of sounds and textures that Williams deftly crafts across a range of instruments behind and around this in order to fully appreciate what the Yussef Kamaal sound truly is. From delicate almost wind chime like keys to expansive guitars that attack you in waves from the left and the right. One moment it’s fairground style organs the next you’re floating on a lusciously rich plane of strings. It’s all there for the taking.

There’s still a chance to see them on tour this year on the continent and at Gilles Peterson’s Christmas bash. Don’t miss your chance to appreciate this music in its truest form.

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