Black Focus album cover
Black Focus

Yussef Kamaal

Brownswood Recordings

Across ten tracks, two of them sub-one minute audio sketches, keyboardist/producer Kamaal Williams and drummer Yussef Dayes with a crack team of premier players — Kareem Dayes and Tom Driessler on bass and Mansur Brown, Shabaka Hutchings and Yelfris Valdés on guitar, sax and trumpet respectively — set out their vision of jazz. Black Focus is a musical amalgamation: partly an update of 70s jazz-funk fusion, and partly forward-looking, leading-edge contemporary jazz. Dayes’ impeccably played and pristinely produced drums are at the centre, each tiny sweep of his brushes, every ghost note and moment of percussive intricacy clear in the mix, and Williams’ cosmic synth washes and electric piano lift the whole thing beyond terra firma. A deep, dramatic and potent album that’s all just so classy and effortlessly cool.

Harold Heath

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