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KAMAAL WILLIAMS

Wu Hen is the sophomore album from Peckham visionary Kamaal Williams -- an invitation to elevate to a higher state. Cinematic strings from Miguel-Atwood Ferguson and virtuoso saxophone from Quinn Mason are textural additions that make for a deeper, multi-layered experience than previous releases.

Bringing groove back to the forefront, Wu Hen oscillates between celestial jazz, funk, rap and r&b reinforced with the rugged beat-heavy attitude of grime, jungle, house and garage – a self-styled fusion Kamaal describes as Wu Funk.

New players on this record include LA’s Greg Paul on drums (of Kalayst Collective), Rick Leon James on bass, Quinn Mason on saxophone alongside a vocal feature from Kaytranada collaborator Lauren Faith. Multi-talented renaissance musician Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (who has worked with Ray Charles, Flying Lotus, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and Seu Jorge) contributes signature strings, which add vivid colour and rich depth, evoking vintage David Axelrod.

Kamaal rose to prominence with the hugely acclaimed Yussef Kamaal alongside drummer Yussef Dayes and a catalogue of 12”s for imprints such as MCDE, Eglo, and Rhythm Section as Henry Wu that became essential DJ tools. In 2018 he launched Black Focus Records with the Kamaal Williams debut The Return, which charted in the UK and saw sold out shows and festival appearances across Europe, North America and Asia.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Frankly exceptional stuff here from Kamaal Williams on his sophomore album, 'Wu Hen'. I'm gonna drop that F-bomb (fusion...) but don't get it twisted, Henry blends jazz, soul, funk and r&b with the bottom end and rugged beat of grime, jungle, house and garage to create a little thing he likes to call 'Wu Funk'.

TRACK LISTING

Vinyl Tracklisting:
A1 - Street Dreams (Feat. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson*)
A2 – One More Time / 1989* A3 – Toulouse* / Pigalle
B1 – Big Rick / Save Me  
B2 – Mr.Wu
B3 – Hold On (Feat. Lauren Faith)
B4 – Early Prayer

CD Tracklisting:
1 - Street Dreams (Feat. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson*)
2 – One More Time
3 – 1989*
4 – Toulouse*
5 – Pigalle
6 – Big Rick
7 – Save Me 
8 – Mr.Wu
9 – Hold On (Feat. Lauren Faith)
10 – Early Prayer

Kamaal Williams

New Heights / Snitches Brew

    Following a stellar 2018 for Black Focus, Henry Wu’s new imprint that set the levels with acclaimed debut LPs from Kamaal Williams and Mansur Brown, worldwide tours and international collaborations, Kamaal Williams returns with a 12” of fresh cuts.

    Two new pathways to unknown worlds filtering the Kamaal Williams sound through hypnotic hip-hop on the Darkhouse Family (Don Leisure & Earl Jeffers) co-produced 'New Heights', and melted wah wah psychedelia on 'Snitches Brew', which features Mansur Brown on guitar.

    To echo Kamaal’s friend and collaborator Yelfris Valdés, ‘This aint jazz no more...’

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Paving the way for innovative jazz-hybrid-hip hop is Kamaal Williams along with Mansur Brown on guitar, these two tracks are in a league of their own (I think Snitches Brew is my favourite name for a song ever!)

    TRACK LISTING

    A1 New Heights
    AA1 Snitches Brew

    Whether re-defining experimental fusion sounds with the hugley acclaimed Yussef Kamaal, or his catalogue of 12”s for imprints such as MCDE, Eglo, and Rhythm Section as Henry Wu, South London’s Kamaal Williams has been a key figure in his thriving international scene for the past few years. "The Return" is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.

    At times the keyboard work evokes the classic 70s fusion work of Lonnie Liston Smith or Roy Ayers, but underpinned by rhythms more reminiscent of blunted hip-hop and arrangements subliminally laced with the cut-ups of pirate radio. Progressive, funky, cosmic, exploratory and effortlessly musical, this is the sound of a musician honing their craft into thrilling new shapes.

    In the US the like of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat have made great strides in opening a whole new dialogue between jazz and hip-hop, drawing in a young, highly engaged new audience in the process. Kamaal Williams mine a similar seam on the other side of the Atlantic alongside other exciting London talents such as Ezra Collective, Ruby Rushton and Shabaka Hutchings.

    The Return is exactly that: a return and refinement to the sound Yussef Kamaal were progenitors of, and first set the scene for one of the most exciting musical movements London has had in years.

    Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Slow', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'London Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on Broken Theme, and High Roller.

    "The Return" will be the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Brilliantly funked-up jazz grooves, rolling bass licks and flickering percussion make this not only a fitting follow-up to Williams' collaboration LP from last year, but a significant progression. Simply stunning, and every bit the summer jazz stormer.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Salaam
    2. Broken Theme
    3. The Return
    4. High Roller
    5. Situations (Live In Milan)
    6. Catch The Loop
    7. Rhythm Commission
    8. Medina
    9. LDN Shuffle Ft. Mansur Brown
    10. Aisha


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