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New wave jazz pundit Kamaal Williams heads to Japan

Catch his shows in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya this week

  • Amira Waworuntu
  • 4 March 2024
New wave jazz pundit Kamaal Williams heads to Japan

With a mission to invigorate Japan's underground music scene while fostering global connections between artists and listeners, Tokyo-based independent music platform Tsubaki FM is inviting over Kamaal Williams to the land of the rising sun.

Real name Henry Wu, Kamaal has gained widespread acclaim for his distinct blend of jazz and dance, resonating with lovers of beats and melodies globally. His debut album ‘The Return’ (2018) and follow-up ‘Wu Hen’ (2020) solidified his position as a trailblazer in the UK scene, ushering in a fresh jazz wave.

This week (and this week only), he brings that sonic ingenuity to Japan.

With a total of four stops — two in Tokyo and one in Kyoto and Nagoya each — the British musician known for his fusion of jazz, funk, hip hop and electronic elements will simultaneously be releasing his latest album, ‘Stings’.

‘Stings’ is said to have come together during the pandemic, seeing Kamaal delve into themes of solitude, introspection, and spirituality through intricate layers of sound.

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Drawing inspiration from Debussy, hip-hop, and the ethereal beats of Ryuichi Sakamoto, it offers a transformative musical journey. Notably, the album includes a bold jazz rendition of Pal Joey’s ‘Soho – Hot Music’, which is considered a revered piece in the dance music scene of Japan.

As with his previous releases, expect nothing less of intricate rhythms, soulful melodies, and immersive atmospheres that showcase his versatility as both a composer and performer — the latter of which you'll have to truly experience live.

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Along with his band, Kamaal will present four diverse shows at each venue in Japan, including a solo piano set inspired by 'Stings'. Dates and details below.

Kamaal Williams Japan Tour 2024
March 6 – Piano solo show at BAROOM Tokyo
March 7 – Band show at WWWX Tokyo
March 8 – Band show at METRO Kyoto
March 9 – Band show at 24PILLARS Nagoya

Tickets to all Kamaal Williams’ shows in Japan available here.

Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.

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