Yussef Dayes review – London jazz linchpin delivers a masterful set

Royal Albert Hall, London
One of this generation’s finest, the south London drummer’s homecoming gig shows his uniformity of groove is his greatest strength – and his only weakness

Few drummers hit faster or with more dynamic control than Yussef Dayes. Over the past decade, the south London-based musician has become a guiding light for rhythm sections looking to blend jazz improvisation with the polyrhythms of the African diaspora. As one half of the duo Yussef Kamaal, Dayes was a cornerstone of London’s vibrant young jazz scene, mixing instrumental improvisation with everything from dancefloor breakbeats to Senegalese sabar drumming and Salvadorian candomblé.

With Yussef Kamaal splitting after their 2016 debut album, Black Focus, Dayes has since gone global, collaborating with Afrobeats star Wizkid, R&B singer Kehlani and the late designer Virgil Abloh. This year, he released his debut solo album, Black Classical Music, and he took to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall for a sold-out homecoming party.

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