Youssef Kamaal - Black Focus
Yussef Kamaal is a duo based out of London, England and these gents are playing some of the most exciting jazz to bump out my speakers as of late. Utilizing the electrifying influences of their hometown Yussef Dayes and Kamaal William (Henry Wu) crafted Black Focus into a journey that goes beyond its jazz roots and plays into the cosmic influences of the funk and electronic music.
The opening track "Black Focus" takes on the album's namesake and prepares the listener with a melodic introduction to the ensemble. Halfway through the song is where the groove begins to pick up with a steady rhythm of drums and horns. "Strings of Light" switches gears and gives us a taste of the London sound of today. With fast paced breakbeats and lush accents from the synths, Yussef Kamaal makes it apparent that they are of the new school. One of my favorite tracks, "Remembrance", takes on the energy that is reminiscent (haha pun) of one of my favorite songs by The Doors, "Riders On the Storm". It's a cool ride that's suits the grey mood of the season. I dig it.
Just covering those first three tracks tells you that Yussef Kamaal are going to be a group you need to catch live in the months ahead. I have a lot of faith that they will satisfy every time. And, I hear they play some amazing DJ sets as well.