London-based jazz fusion kingpin Kamaal Williams (a.k.a. Henry Wu) announces debut album on his own label, Black Focus Records

London-based jazz fusion kingpin Kamaal Williams (a.k.a. Henry Wu) announces debut album on his own label, Black Focus Records
Photo: Salem Wazaki

If you recall the exquisitely talented London-based duo Yussef Kamaal from a couple years back, you’ll likely remember that their exit from the international jazz fusion scene early last year came as, well, quite the unforeseen shockwave.

First, the group made international headlines when percussionist Yussef Dayes’ travel visa was denied for U.S. entry while en route to Austin’s SXSW festival. Then, less than two months later (and less than a week after winning “Breakthrough Act” at the 2017 Jazz FM awards), the group announced an abrupt cold turkey split right in the midst of a string of London gigs.

This was, of course, quite the proverbial bitch slap for the growing swarm of admirers that had been turned on by the duo’s novel (and impeccable) portraiture of “blended neo jazz.”

Fortunately, however, Yussef Kamaal’s very own Kamaal Williams (a.k.a. Henry Wu) has decided to not go so quietly (or quickly) into the night, as he’s announced a release date for his debut album, which is appropriately titled The Return.

The record, due out May 25 on Williams’ personal label, Black Focus, will represent a “natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project […] mining the influence of visionary jazz, but [also] blending all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.”

The album’s title track (which you’ll find conveniently embedded below for your gluttonous, jazz-loving ears) has already been released on Kamaal Williams’ bandcamp page, and it’s a verifiable gem; eight-and-a-half minutes of frictionless rhythms and ornamental synth licks that picks up right where the Yussef project ended. Pre-orders for the initial vinyl pressing are currently available here.

Also, fans will be pleased to hear that Williams will be making “A Return” back to the stage as well, as he’s announced a handful of upcoming European performances, the dates and locations of which you can find…yup, you guessed it: down below. (Isn’t life convenient sometimes?)

The Return tracklisting:

01. Salaam
02. Broken Theme
03. The Return
04. High Roller
05. Situations (Live In Milan)
06. Catch The Loop (Album Version)
07. Rhythm Commission
08. Medina
09. LDN Shuffle feat. Mansur Brown
10. Aisha

Kamaal Williams tour dates:

03.22.18 - London, UK- Village Underground
03.23.18 - Bristol, UK - The Lantern
03.26.18 - Cologne, DE - Reineke Fuchs
03.28.18 - Paris, FR - New Morning
03.29.18 - Antwerp, BE- Het Bos
03.30.18 - March – Amsterdam, NL - Bitterzoet
04.01.18 - Manchester, UK - Albert Hall

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