Last years’s debut Kamaal Williams album, The Return, showcased the jazz wizardry of keyboardist Henry Wu, recently of dissolved group Yussef Kamaal. That LP operated on the funkiest fringes of the new jazz renaissance, and this new 12-inch takes that approach two steps further.
The A-side cut ‘New Heights (Visions Of Aisha Malik)’, co-produced by Darkhouse Family, is a serene, laidback deep cut dominated by wandering piano clusters and a robust rhythm section, through which unexpected sounds are threaded – little percussion gestures, meditative synth strings – but never in a way that takes a focus away from the core trio sound. It at once sounds faithful to classic jazz but in a manner that nods firmly in the direction of hip-hop.
On the flip, the cheekily-named ‘Snitches Brew’ with guitarist Mansur Brown is a dexterous headlong rush into a psychedelic wilderness, echoing the Miles Davis experiments that yielded the track its title. ‘Snitches Brew’ is dominated by an unfaltering electronic bassline and restless, shuffling drum pattern from Dexter Hercules over which Brown’s liquefied guitar patterns wheel freely. As a counterpoint to the relative calm of ‘New Heights’, it couldn’t be more different – but that’s what makes Wu’s Kamaal Williams so refreshing.
New Heights / Snitches Brew is released today by Black Focus Records
Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.