Black Classical Music
Format: LP, Vinyl
Most of you will by now be well of Yussef Dayes and his contribution to UK Jazz. Blasting onto the scene with the highly regarded albeit short lived Yussef Kamaal, he is know stranger to making an impact on a large scale. Since then he has been seen to work with follow South-Londoner Tom Misch on the chart hitting album ‘What Kinda Music’, as well as a talented crew of musicians all included in his endeavour as an independent artist. This album marks his debut studio album in that capacity and right from the beginning it is clear that this is a musician who does not lack ambition.
Consisting of 19 tracks, this album clearly attempts to compile the plethora of musical genres that influence Dayes, with flecks of reggae, dancehall, electronica, and afro-cuban music all featuring in some form. The first track, “Black Classical Music’ is the albums most formidable, perfectly introducing the album as an all-encompassing entity. The track has a clear nod to the sounds of Norman Connors and Carlos Garnett, while pianist Charlie Stacey hammers home his fiery powerful chords reminiscent of McCoy Tyner.
The rest of the album is a showcase of the breadth that Dayes is capable of achieving not only as a composer but as a player too. Of course most tracks have a driving rhythmical force being them, with Dayes displaying his intricate rolls and ghost notes characteristic of his style, a fine example of this being the third track ‘Rust’. But where there is power there is also delicacy in his playing, particularly on track ‘Marching Band’ as Dayes shows his ability to sit back and let his fellow musicians shine.
As mentioned, there are no stones left unturned in this album, with strong elements of Jazz-funk featuring on the track ‘Jukebox’ and soulful vocal number ‘Woman’s Touch’ courtesy of Jamilah Barry. Perhaps most important collaborator undoubtedly is his young daughter Bahia, who features on ‘The Light’, an indication of the importance of family and roots, but also in his ability as an innovator. Dayes is not afraid to re-interpret the past and present it in a fresh form, an expansive album and no doubt one of the top jazz albums of the year.