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Yussef Kamaal

Yussef Kamaal are shaped by the sound of London. Growing up in the capital, they frame jazz within the bass-saturated, pirate radio broadcasts of the UK capital. The pair, made up of Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu), have had little in the way of formal training. Instead, their musical tastes – and approach to playing – are indebted to Thelonious Monk’s piano as much as the drum programming of Kaidi Tatham.

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Yussef Kamaal are shaped by the sound of London. Growing up in the capital, they frame jazz within the bass-saturated, pirate radio broadcasts of the UK capital. The pair, made up of Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu), have had little in the way of formal training. Instead, their musical tastes – and approach to playing – are indebted to Thelonious Monk’s piano as much as the drum programming of Kaidi Tatham.

Both hail from South East London, crossing paths in 2007 as teenagers playing their first pub gigs around Peckham and Camberwell. Dayes drums for cosmically-inclined, afrobeat outfit United Vibrations, while Williams – on top of drumming and playing keys in different incarnations over the years – has made waves with his solo, synth-draped house 12″s for much-fêted labels like 22a and Rhythm Section.

Born out of a one-off live session to perform Williams’ solo material for Boiler Room, it soon became a project in its own right. From rehearsing for that first show, it was clear to both that there was the possibility to do much more with the unspoken, telepathic grooves that unfolded. “It’s all about the drums and the keys,” Williams says. “That’s where it all originates from: the chords, the rhythm of the chords and the drums.” Coming together as Yussef Kamaal, they played a series of live shows where little more than a chord progression would be planned before taking to the stage.

For the pair, the sound of the capital – with its hum of jungle, grime and broken beat – has shaped a self-taught, UK-tipped approach to playing jazz. Moving in the same circles but never playing together previously, rhythm underpins an innate musical understanding. Drawing influence from all corners of London’s shapeshifting musical make-up, their hotly anticipated debut album is due on Brownswood Recordings November 4th 2016. Titled Black Focus, its sound is distilled – or focused – down to the core interlock between drums and keys.

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  • GIG DATES

    LOCATION

    DATE

  • Ljubljana Jazz Festival 2017 Ljubljana, Slovenia 29 / 06 / 17
  • Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2017 Lewes, UK 30 / 06 / 17
  • Yussef Kamaal at Dancity Festival (July 2, 2017) Foligno, Italy 02 / 07 / 17
  • Yussef Kamaal at Jardin de la Mairie (July 5, 2017) La Roche-sur-Yon, France 05 / 07 / 17
  • Nowa Muzyka Festival 2017 Katowice, Poland 07 / 07 / 17
  • Dour Festival 2017 Dour, Belgium 12 / 07 / 17
  • Dour Festival 2017 Brussels, Belgium 14 / 07 / 17
  • Pori Jazz 2017 Pori, Finland 14 / 07 / 17
  • Soundwave Festival 2017 Tisno, Croatia 27 / 07 / 17
  • Yussef Kamaal at Fat Fat Fat Festival (August 4, 2017) Macerata, Italy 04 / 08 / 17
  • Yussef Kamaal at Locus Festival (August 5, 2017) Locorotondo, Italy 05 / 08 / 17
  • Sunfall Festival 2017 London, UK 12 / 08 / 17
  • Dimensions Festival 2017 Pula, Croatia 31 / 08 / 17
  • LATEST NEWS

    DATE

  • Yussef Kamaal // Watch Brownswood Basement session 29 / 12 / 16 view article »
  • Yussef Kamaal // European tour in November 20 / 09 / 16 view article »
  • Yussef Kamaal // Pre-order Black Focus now 30 / 08 / 16 view article »