I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing Kamaal Williams perform live with a three-piece band in an intimate NYC basement setting, the whole place hooting and hollering like they were watching Monk or Bill Evans in their prime, and I’ve caught one of Henry Wu’s soulfully grooving DJ sets chock full of broken beat classics and deep house specials. Its almost unbelievable that they’re the work of the same man, but its clear that a sincere love for music is what drives Kamaal, and now he’s joined the elite ranks of esteemed selectors such as Carl Craig, Nina Kraviz, Moodymann, MCDE and more with an entry in !K7’s DJ-Kicks series. Although Williams generally reserves his work in the sphere of dance music for his Henry Wu alias, the mix is credited to Kamaal Williams, the London jazzman’s Muslim name which has been stamped on a number of records that have played a key role in the ascent of London's new jazz sound over the past few years, starting with 2016’s superb Yussef Kamaal LP. He navigates his keen selector skills with this jazz clout by weaving a number of jazzy originals into an intensely personal selection of timeless house and hip-hop cuts. This limited 2LP set includes 12 tracks from Williams’ mix in all their full, unmixed glory. There’s three exclusives from Williams himself: a new Kamaal Williams tune entitled “Shinjuku” alongside a live version of last year’s “Snitches Brew,” plus a brand new Henry Wu track (“Wivout U”) ‘longside 2015’s essential deep house snapper “117 Careplan.” There’s also cuts from collaborator Hard House Banton and kindred spirits DJ Harrison, Wbreeza, Ratgrave (Max Graef & Julius Conrad) and Budgie. The set is rounded out with a tune from Steve Spacek’s first solo album (“Hey There,” produced by a yung Thundercat all the way back in 2005) and a frenetic IDM track from broken beat pioneer / Bugz In The Attic co-founder Seiji (“Buggin’ Out”) taken from his early drum & bass years on Reinforced, and lastly, Freeez’s jazz-funk classic “Southern Freeez” - just enough to take me out of the "I'll take one" camp and into "I'll take two innit, cheers m8." Recommended.
- black double vinyl pressing
- gatefold sleeve
- music label: Studio !K7 2019
reviewed by laughable butane bob 10/2019