Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen

Coming to prominence in 2016 as one half of jazz duo Yussef Kamaal, producer and pianist Kamaal Williams spearheaded the London-based revival of the genre with his dancefloor-focused take on jazz. Yet with only one record released before the pair’s split in 2017, Williams has since struggled to establish his solo sound without the powerhouse drumming of his former partner Yussef Dayes.

Williams’ solo debut, 2018’s The Return, was laden with funk and west coast references, calling upon the sun-dappled soul of Roy Ayers as much as London broken beat in its jittering 11 tracks. It was a promising, if tentative, first offering, one that lacked the confidence to establish itself beyond the incisive legacy of Yussef Kamaal’s album Black Focus. Wu Hen, Williams’ second full-length, continues in this vein as a pleasing, if unremarkable, listen.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 24/07/20]