Yussef Kamaal’s Black Focus was a major standout in 2016, a torchbearer for the new wave of jazz coming out of London. The nu-fusion project of drummer Yussef Dayes and ivory tickler Kamaal Williams came to a screeching halt shortly after the release of Black Focus, citing creative differences between the two, but Williams is back with a new squad of young London musicians for its follow-up, swiping the name Black Focus for the his new imprint and even commandeering the sleeve design for this highly-ambitious record he had the stones to call The Return. But Williams comes in peace, and anyone who loved Black Focus will fall in love with The Return from the opening chords of “Salaam.” The fact is, Williams has been doing his thing for a minute now, and you may recognize characteristics from his killer broken beat and deep house records under the name Henry Wu on the highly-danceable jazz-funk choonage of “Rhythm Commission” and “High Roller.” Glossy centerpiece “Catch The Loop” flexes the trio’s improv muscle in a high-energy session tightly shapeshifting in and out of a dozen different combinations of tempo, time signature, genre and key for the first half before settling into one of the most potent jazz-funk grooves this side of Head Hunters. Other highlights include the lo-fi balladry of “Situations - Live In Milan,” dad-friendly fusion “LDN Shuffle,” smoky basement groover “Medina” and beatless future-jazz euphoria of album closer “Aisha.” 180g black vinyl pressing with printed insert, recommended.
- 180g vinyl pressing
- printed insert
- digital download included
- limited edition
- music label: Black Focus Records 2018
reviewed by nick nightingale 06/2018
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