Stepping out into his own as a solo artist, London-based drummer Yussef Dayes (formerly of celebrated jazz-funk duo Yussef Kamaal) begins a new chapter at this stage in his musical journey with two new releases, “Love Is The Message” and “Blacked Out.” Both of which are in collaboration with Alfa Mist. They represent not only a new beginning but what comes out of being able to live your own vision as a musician.
“Love Is The Message,” the first out of the two releases, was the product of a jam session with producer and composer Alfa Mist. After being made in one take, Yussef quickly saw how Alfa’s approach to composing worked in unison. The drums combined with Alfa’s strings and synths connects the pathway of a sound that began in West Africa but found its way to Brazil and London. “Being in Brazil with the colours, people and life then coming back to London in the winter, I was just trying to keep that energy going,” he says. The song also sees some scorching riffs from rising guitarist Mansur Brown. Mansur’s guitar work can be heard in the closing minutes of song adding some needed firepower to an already transcendent tune.
Drawing heavy inspirations from a recent trip to São Paulo and Salvador in Brazil, Yussef Dayes’ solo releases are a timely and welcome addition to the mix of jazz coming out of London. “It was inspiring to be out in Brazil, sitting in treehouses and playing drums. Music and spirituality are linked and have a strong bond, it has a healing power,” Yussef says of his trip. Seeing his own music as a channel for expressive talking, even when it’s just through drums, Yussef has always sought to channel that same energy.
One of the UK’s most accomplished young drummers, Yussef Dayes first came to notoriety alongside his brothers Ahmad & Kareem in the Afrobeat-influenced jazz group United Vibrations. As one half of Yussef Kamaal, Yussef’s rhythmic work was put on full display and the Black Focus album ended up becoming one of the most heralded jazz records to emerge from the new London scene. While the band in its original form might be changing, the electric presence of Yussef Dayes remains. Yussef’s work with YK and United Vibrations has elevated the drums for a younger generation of jazz fans, showing their true potential and power. “Love Is The Message” is the first of more powerful new work from the London drummer and cements him as a solo artist to keep an eye on over the coming months.