It’s a well-known cliché: two heads are better than one. Two years after his debut album, the 24-year-old London multi-instrumentalist Tom Misch (who has a distinctly Jamiroquai-esque sound) has partnered up with 27-year-old drummer/producer Yussef Dayes (the brain behind United Vibrations and one half of the electro-jazz duo Yussef Kamaal) for this irresistible album What Kinda Music. Up until now, Misch has cooked up a gourmet mix of smooth jazz syrup, funky foam, droplets of soul, hip-hop spices and a pinch of velvety pop, inviting along a star-studded line-up including De La Soul, GoldLink, Loyle Carner and Poppy Ajudha while sampling from the likes of Roy Hargrove, The Crusaders, Stevie Wonder and Patrick Watson.
All these flavours and sounds form the foundation of this 2020 vintage record, making the rhythmic side even more solid. Yussef Dayes jazzes up his interventions and makes his improvisations even more sophisticated. Both artists bring their own contribution to this truly collaborative work and the record strikes a perfect balance of voice and instrumentals. Both artists grew up in Peckham in South London and Tom Misch even saw Dayes play drums in the school talent show when he was 9! “Yussef comes from a more experimental background, and he has a lot of loose, crazy ideas. I know how to write a catchy melody, but with interesting chords and I have a good understanding of popular song forms, so I think I streamlined those ideas and made them accessible }.”
It’s this perfect symbiosis between accessibility and refined genre fluidity that makes What Kinda Music sound like a laidback trip - the perfect record for electro-jazz geeks.
Plus, there’s another reason for Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes to bulge their chests with pride: their album has been released on the prestigious label Blue Note, confirming that they embody a certain contemporary jazz sound. “Everything feels so divided these days, it would be nice for people to hear the record and hear two very different musicians coming together and realize it doesn’t have to be that way.”
As for the featuring artists, the duo invited along Freddie Gibbs (who raps on Nightrider), Rocca Palladino (son of the illustrious bassist Pino Palladino who often practices with Alfa Mist) and the saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi. An immediate Qobuzissime, this record is the umpteenth bit of proof that the London jazz scene is alive and kicking… and now showing its funky side!
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