VINTERJAZZ, JAZZHUS MONTMARTRE, KØBENHAVN, 24. Februar 2019: Yussef Dayes is 25 years old. He have been playing drums since he was a small kid, and today he is considered one of the most innovative young drummers and producers in UK. Born and raised in South East London, the Dayes brothers all grew-up with playing along their dad’s records collection. Kareem, Ahmad and Yussef later were playing shows with their friends in an afrobeat and spiritual jazz group. Until the age of 13 Yussef studied drums with Billy Cobham (Miles Davies’ drummer). Then after some time, in 2015 the jazz-funk duo Yussef Kamaal was born, along with his mate Kamaal Williams.
Sunday the 24th February 2019, Yussef Dayes came at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen to play two concerts in the same day on the same stage. The first concert’s start time was at 17:00 and second at 20:00. Charlie Stacey was on piano, he is 23 years old, while Rocco Palladino on bass, he is 24 years old. Both concerts were sold-out in a few days after the sale started, and this was the first time Yussef ‘s trio is playing in town.
I litterarly sneaked in because of this article, cause I was looking forward to hear Dayes playing from «Black Focus» (Yussef Kamaal first LP on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings) release, back in 2016.
The British Jazz explosion is a matter of last years’ facts, and Yussef is an ambassador of rank to spread this thrilling jazz movement’s sound. These young ladies and guys lit a spotlight on them in the last years and this is not a sudden magic trick, but the result of a long and productive musical path and existential journey: from «Tomorrow’s Warriors» (at London’s Southbank Centre)
whose ethos is to support the development of jazz newbies from early ages, to «Jazz re:freshed»,
a promotion company turned label, which has played a huge part in supporting many new jazz acts from UK. The people involved in this scene set the conditions and developed the movement over many years, building up a vibrant community of artists, audiences and pros who together are transforming the lives of future generations by increasing opportunity, diversity and excellence in and through jazz.
Knowledge, sacrifice and dedication but also discipline and determination to create a solid scene; this happens only through time, study and the pursuit of a lifetime passion. «This is my joy, this is my focus with these lines of mine».
Taking it back to Jazzhus Montmartre stage, the knowledge and confidence the three musicians have with their respective instruments is impressive. Yussef is badly influnenced by grime and hip hop since the age of 5 as he firmly reminds, and Rocco is Pino Palladino’s son (The Who); these are the ones that grew up as «deep-fried into music» kids. Some sofisticated and spiritual music came from the end of the room: the repertoire included obviously 2018’s «Love Is The Message», Yussef’s first solo release and the Jazz-Funk anthem «Strings of Light» from Yussef Kamaal’s «Black Focus».
As during any mesmerizing show, the audience was immediately abducted by the whiplashes that rebounded between upper and lower Yussef’s limbs; some deep funk was going on and the audience felt the whole power, precision and groove overwhelming them.
Crazy fast broken beats, jungle breakbeats and slow jams, thus for almost two hours there was a succession of great vibes and all ran smoothly through the listeners’ ears.
We loved it, only smiley faces got out on Store Regnegade to smoke a cigarette after the concert. No one left the room while the guys were playing, we had smiley faces even inside the club then. So, as I had the chance to write previuosly, as long as «beauty knights» will be born and play amazing music before they are 25, I’m not worried about relief and hope feelings. It’s here and it’s also there, anyone can grab a bite!
Text: Nicola Semprini
Photo: Press Photo