Kamaal Williams second album 'Wu Hen' released 24 July is an album I have been in love with for a little over a week now. If you're a fan of R&B, jazz, funk, grime and soul then 'Wu Hen' is the perfect album for you – a self-styled fusion Kamaal describes as Wu Funk.
Kamaal Williams is an artist that defies categorisation. He's as comfortable playing a DJ set as he is in a jazz club and 'Wu Hen' draws on all elements of his interest in what is almost a genre defying record.
The incredibly vivid strings from Miguel-Atwood Ferguson along with the virtuoso saxophone from Quinn Mason add textural layers that make for a deep, multi-layered experience. If this was food it would be Michelin Star!
This is definitely an album for fans of jazz and funk primarily, but tracks such as the sultry brilliant Hold on featuring Lauren Faith (see below), One More Time which draws heavily on the influences of Grime and Early Prayer make this an album that is far more accessible than other albums that would ordinarily be classified as jazz albums.
*Taken from his website
The album’s title is also the nickname Henry’s grandma gave him as a child. The Taiwanese side of his family are originally from the Wu Dynasty, and the name Wu translates as ‘Gateway to Heaven'. On Wu Hen a path is traced from his lineage all the way to his current spiritual mission, which is also reflected in the cloudlike cover art by artist Othelo Gervacio.
THIS IS A REVOLUTION OF THE MIND. A spiritual rebellion: To reach new heights requires separating ourselves from the material world and finding power in what’s intangible. That’s what music and art is for – whether it’s a primitive emotion or something deep, you feel it. And there’s a subliminal element that resonates throughout my work. If you’re painting, it’s what you’re feeling as you’re painting. And the person looking at that artwork or listening to that music, they can feel it too, because it’s sincere
For me first and foremost this is a record to let your inhibitions go to. Forget everything you know about music, but your ear cans on and close your eyes. It's a record to allow yourself to become lost in and enjoy it for what it is. Pure, unadulterated, stunningly produced music.
With 'Wu Hen' Williams has created the 'Apogee of cool'.
10/10 - Magnificent !
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