By Alpesh Patel
After some premium west end Sushi, I found myself in weatherspoons in Tottenham Court Road drinking a pint of their finest lime and soda waiting to see Yussef Kamal Band, a Peckham dwelling British Jazz group.
Until recently, Jazz had a certain stigma which saw itself as a goatee owning, beret wearing music snobs. Artists like Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus and Robert Glasper have brought forward a new Jazz movement, which has even been picked up on by the likes of Kendrick Lamar. The movement incorporates modern influences, taken from hip hop, world and even dance music. This movement has been largely US led until now…
Their latest album is something to behold; funky basslines, rhythmic technical drumming and celestial keys. The band, which changes per performance based on who can play, is primarily made up of Yussef Dayes & Kamaal Williams. Yussef Dayes on drums, fabled for his free jazz drumming and Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu) a multi-instrumentalist in his own right. I quickly became interested in seeing them live, and, after some googling/scratching backs, I managed to score some tickets to see them at 100 club through work.
Yussef Kamal opened with ‘String of Light’, one of my favourite tracks on the album. Watching the band, you were instantly able to tell how closely the members were. Yussef Dayes leading the band feeding in complex triplet and quad drum patterns into the album classics. Kamaal Williams able to feed of these complex beats with chord arrangements and synth patterns with relative ease. I should also mention the funky bass licks, beautiful guitar solos & live sax, these elements added together made for a beautiful experience, even for a complete Jazz novice.
After the band finished playing the camaraderie and friendship between the musicians was strong, taking the time to thank each player before leaving. After this experience, I can honestly say the future of British Jazz is looking bright.