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Matthew Ruddick

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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Friday, 22 March 2024 20:54

Yakul - At Pizza Express Live In London

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Future Soul with Yakul and Camilla George.

The Pizza Express Live label PX Records is producing some amazing musical delights in the few months it’s been operating. And the joy of some of these albums - like the Yakul collection, which is out now - is that they bring a real flavour of the delights of hearing a band doing their thing in an intimate jazz club like the Dean Street basement. 

Yakul is James Berkeley (vocals, keys), Scarlett Fae (backing vocals), Leo Upton (guitar), Tam Caldwell-Nicols (bass) and Sam Hughes (drums). They’re joined for a special guest appearance by MOBO-nominated Camilla George on sax. 

The first single Dark Red establishes a groove before the vocals nail the lyrics from the title track of Steve Lacy’s 2016 album. It’s a confident cover that’s more gentle than the original with just that soul feel Yakul aims for.

Watch the video of Dark Red here:

Alongside these 12 tracks are intros from the band themselves, with an engaging and personal perspective of the selection of original compositions and covers in what they describe as ‘Future Soul’.

The fine vocals of Berkeley with Fae’s backing vocals intertwining, especially in Chamber of Reflection, define the jazz and soul roots Yakul encompass. It’ll be interesting to hear them perform live at a festival near me soon.

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