By Dave Cantor | Published January 2021
Drummer Yussef Dayes so effortlessly fuses the ideas of jazz, its various tributaries and the sounds of electronica, it’s hard to properly place his recordings in time.
“Jamaican Links,” which really amounts to an interstitial 100 seconds on Dayes’ live trio album, Welcome To The Hills, emerges from the lead-off track’s dizzying, Herbie-influenced fusion, and pretty quickly summons dub, acid-jazz and funk. “Palladino Sauce”—where Pino’s progeny, bassist Rocco Palladino, takes a namesake track on a similar trek—finds keyboardist Charlie Stacey accessing the sounds of space, while his bandmates burrow deep into the pocket. Only “Gully Side” and “For My Ladies” ease back on the tempo, using a soul-music influence as a brief respite from Dayes’ displays of funky endurance. Thing is, though, the bandleader seems as comfortable—and moreover, effective—working through any of these kaleidoscopic modes.
There’s not really a highlight on Welcome To The Hills—just a sequence of astounding rhythms, deft and expansive musical references (there’s even a much expanded take of bassist Stanley Clarke’s “Yesterday Princess”) and the adulation of the crowd pushing the ensemble forward. If it weren’t remarkable for its breadth, Welcome To The Hills still would be notable for Dayes annoucing the intentions of his chameleonic trio.