Kamaal Williams (a.k.a. Henry Wu) is back with The Return, a vast ten-track recording of ‘70s-inspired funk-fusion, electronic bounce, straight-ahead jazz, and atmospheric keyboard solos. With its wide-ranging sonic approach, The Return somewhat resembles Yussef Kamaal's Black Focus, that preceded in spirit this record; both are groove-oriented opuses that split the difference between old and new sounds.
Kamaal greets us with "Salaam", the first track. He comes up with his signature jazzy-fuzzy piano chords with fluid rhythms. A song like “Medina” feels perfect for rainy-day reflection. Conversely, “LDN Shuffle” is a raucous jam with a big bounce. The signature Wu Funk can be heard on "Broken Theme", and "High Roller". The Return is a multifaceted release that is hard to classify or to frame inside a genre. It is the natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets, although largely inspired in Northern African culture and aesthetic appeal.
The album leans towards the essence of the London Underground, and for all the musicians involved it is a magnificent summary of their musical upbringing. Born and bred, this is the true sound of London.
The Return is the debut album released on Henry Wu's new label Black Focus Records.