Kamaal Williams aka Henry Wu released The Return last year, the first album under his own name and one of our Picks of 2019. The record was followed up in December with a 12-inch release, ‘New Heights (Visions of Aisha Malik) / Snitches Brew’, and its first track has now been paired up with an accompanying film. Williams had this to say about it:
“2019 is all about making movies; Bruce Lee was a huge inspiration growing up because he was the first Chinese guy on the big screen. I feel like music and martial arts have the same flow of energy and are respective art forms. So why not bring Wu Funk and Kung Fu together?”
The film was directed by Greg Barnes and stars Chris Tang and Jayson Wynters. Here it is.
Kamaal Williams, who’s been making a serious mark on the UK jazz scene in recent years, is releasing The Return, the first album under his own name. With the record’s release just around the corner, first single ‘Salaam’ is now being offered with an accompanying video filmed in Marrakech by Greg Barnes, who had this to say about it:
“After working together on ‘Catch The Loop’, Kamaal and I knew we wanted it to be a part of a larger whole, and that the tracks on the album would become chapters, or scenes, from a bigger picture – that the upcoming album, ’The Return’, was in essence, the soundtrack to an unmade, and epic film.
It was almost without conversation that we decided Morocco should set the scene for ‘Salaam’, a place of real connection and meaning to Kamaal and his music. The rest, with the help of the people of Marrakech, fell into place very naturally.”
Kamaal also offered some words about it:
“Marrakech is a special place for me, both spiritually and creatively. Every time I go, I feel alive again and it’s a huge inspiration for my work. There is no art scene in Morocco without Hassan Hajjaj, so I couldn’t make this film without his blessing. He introduced me to Amine Bendriouich who introduced me to Yazid and we made the film in two days. Working with local people in the medina and sharing our story with the community made this experience real. Greg Barnes captured the essence of my relationship with the city as well as the colours and the energy of everything in it. The series will continue. A special thanks goes out to Yazid, Hassan Hajjaj, Amine Bendriouich, Ahlam Triki, Mouhcine Zoutina, Abdul Razzaq and the umma of Marrakech”
Watch the video for ‘Salaam’ below and grab The Return when it’s out on May 25th through Black Focus Records.
South London’s multi-talented Kamaal Williams aka Henry Wu is one of the UK’s finest jazz musicians to emerge in recent years, garnering wide acclaim with his now disbanded duo Yussef Kamaal and a 2016 debut album. May 25th will see him release his first record under his own name, The Return, through his own label Black Focus Records. “The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project”, describes the press release, “mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.”
Williams enlisted bassist Pete Martin and drummer MckNasty to help him bring the album to life, with Richard Samuels on engineering duties.
The Return‘s opening track ‘Salaam’ is streaming now and it serves as a fantatic taste of what he’ll be throwing at us.