25th September | Exchange

In June of this year, I had the thoroughly wholesome experience of watching (and reviewing) Alfa Mist’s set at Thekla. In this review, I touched on how exciting a time this is for contemporary jazz in the UK, and how most of this excitement is being generated seemingly by no one over the age of thirty. Not that this is a great thing in itself, but what really is heartening is how broad an audience this London-led brand of musicianship is galvanising. 

One man providing some serious rhythmic backbone to this movement is the drummer, Yussef Dayes, one half of the far-too-short-lived jazz fusion duo, Yussef Kamaal; the other half being Kamaal Williams – a Herbie Hancock for the 21st century. Since their split, Williams has released a solo LP, The Return, a tasteful expansion on Yussef Kamaal’s sound from their standalone release Black Focus. However, whilst Dayes has been less prolific in terms of releases, one gets the feeling that something’s being kept in the slow-cooker, and that something will be all the more delicious for it. 

We’ve had two hints at what might be bubbling away, both in the form of collaborations with Alfa Mist, called Love is the Message and Blacked Out, respectively. Both are breathtakingly beautiful and expansive instrumental pieces that suggest a musical connection between the pair that seems far more than just circumstantial, and hopefully, we can expect a full-length work from them in the future. 

In the meantime, Dayes is on tour, bringing his unique, fiery brand of stick-wizardry to the Exchange on September 25th. It seems he is trying to keep the exact nature of these shows a secret, but if you’ve been keeping up with his work, you’ll no doubt be just as excited as I am to find out what it is. 

See Yussef Dayes and Alfa Mist perform ‘Love Is The Message’ here: