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Kamaal Williams : The Return

Across all tracks, the three remain completely in sync while leaving room for playful improvisational adventures.

This is a return to form for London-based keyboardist Kamaal Williams after the dissolution of the project Yussef Kamaal with drummer Yussef Dayes. The duo’s only album Black Focus blended ‘70s jazz-funk with a contemporary hip hop flair.

Even with Dayes gone, Williams continues his cosmic journey forward with rubbery bass lines provided by Pete Martin and tight drumming from Joshua McKenzie AKA MckNasty. Across all ten tracks, the three remain completely in sync while leaving room for playful improvisational adventures.

From the moment Williams’ fingers touch the keys, each member finds their place to join in. It all begins with heavenly opener ‘Salaam’. The bubbling piano chords rise to the surface and not far behind is Martin’s snapping bass and MckNasty’s larger than life drums. ‘High Roller’ is ready to be sampled with its ‘Funky Drummer’ beat and silky orchestral section. ‘Catch The Loop’ plays to Williams’ experimental strengths, while ‘Medina’ is another blissful slide into jazz’s timeless cool period mined from the late ‘40s and early ‘50s.

So effortlessly does Kamaal Williams snap back into place. So many moments on this album are career highlights for the keyboardist. But just as large as the universe is, Williams hasn’t stopped exploring this vast jazz landscape.

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