Klay Dumas-Copas (aka Klay D-C) first came to prominence in 1998 when he composed and produced the album ‘Get Up’ by the Jazz Steppers. In that same year the band went on to win a MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) award for ‘best jazz act’ while Dumas-Copas joined Roy Ayers as part of his Ubiquity band and independently released his own solo debut, ‘On Reflection’. His latest CD, ‘Ritmo’, for which he writes, produces and plays keyboards throughout, was recorded in London during 2009. In fact D-C has been part of the UK jazz fusion scene since his early days at Leeds College of Music and for ‘Ritmo’ he calls upon some of the mainstays of the genre to lend a hand. Bass player Dean Mark who has worked with Roy Ayers and Craig David shares bass duties with Orefo Orakweu who has featured with both Nelson Rangell and the Sugarbabes. David Simpson of Down To The Bone and the Brand New Heavies divides appearances on guitar with Jason Short and another Roy Ayers sideman Tony Smith while Andrew Milnes chips in with a smattering of sax. Together they come up with an exciting body of work that is well worth a closer look.
‘Ritmo’, translated from the Spanish and Italian, simply means 'rhythm' so it should be no surprise that the collection fizzes with colorful arrangements and intoxicating grooves. In this respect there is none more so than the mid tempo retro tinged ‘The Muse’ which proves to be a real collector’s item and, as the energy intensifies, the sunshine filled ‘Bounce’ shows off the penchant D-C has for zesty Latin beats. Although ‘Mungabunga’ is heralded in by soft acoustic piano it quickly cuts loose into another jazzy, Latin flavored extravaganza while elsewhere the high octane ‘Future Proof’ is notable for a driving brass enriched conclusion and D-C’s agreeably intricate keys.
Equally rhythmic, but slightly more restrained, the title track delivers exactly what the name suggests it might and whereas ‘Thoughts of You’ blends straight ahead sensibilities with contemporary grooves, the pulsating and cleverly produced ‘Wadyawant?’ shifts effortlessly between Mardis Gras inspired energy and a more reflective vibe. When D-C eases down the tempo a little further the result is the entirely ‘in the pocket’ ‘Somethin’ Else’ and another song that complements his tight playing is the magically turned down ‘Azure’. Keeping things mellow, the enchanting and attractively cinematic ‘Coast Road’ leads both logically and musically to the relaxed yet rhythmic ‘Dune Tune’ where the drums of Mark Saunders and percussion from Bob Morales provide percussive delights that live in the memory.
As a musical reference point comparisons with Philippe Saisse should not be ignored and although of late D-C has been involved in studio projects with the likes of guitarist Martin Taylor, soul diva Jocelyn Brown and sax-man Jeff Kashiwa, it is with ‘Ritmo’ that he now has a genuine shot at launching his career in the USA.
For more go to www.klaydc.com