Raised in the 60s by free-spirited artists living like gypsies in picturesque locations like Cheyene Walk, Chelsea or Cornwall, Klay D-C (AKA Klay Dumas-Copas) is a master of creating musical tapestries that are full of flavor and life. His latest solo release, "Ritmo," is a magical musical journey that combines technical prowess with an ear for colorful melodies.
A natural storyteller, the first track, "Mungabunga," introduces us to a soft acoustic piano before blossoming into a wiggy, upbeat number garnished with salsa rhythms. The totally unexpected arrangement dances between the acoustic piano and electric instruments (guitar and bass) in a melodic tease that excites and intoxicates.
The musical stories continue to unfold with the title track, "Ritmo," a musical stew seasoned with piano jazz chords, Latin rhythms and electric pop sensibilities. Other numbers like "Azure" and "Something" else touch upon a romantic side that lingers.
A master composer that is comfortable with a large range of colors on his palette, "Wadyawant?" highlights the artist's ability to shift flawlessly between dark and light. He uses the emotional context of the arrangement to create a piece that continually moves the listener forward. "Coast Road" is a bit more melancholy, while "Bounce" flirts with a jolly self-confidence.
"Some people say they don't like jazz because they don't understand it. Ritmo means 'rhythm' in Spanish and Italian. The album is simply a collection of tunes that express how I felt when I wrote each one. I want the fans to simply feel the music and the rhythms. Anyone that can feel something in our music understands it. That's what music is about to me," said Klay.
More about the artist:
Klay's early childhood was spent in London. His father Ronnie, a struggling artist (hence the name Klay named after his father's favourite painter Paul Klee - well it was the sixties) also played Jug in The Dedicated Men - an art school band who were doing rather well at the time, though sadly not financially. The band were signed to Pye records and toured with The Who amongst others. His mother, Bridgette, was an artist's muse.
After moving about with his family across the UK landscape, he went to study for a short at the Leeds College of Music Jazz Degree Course at the age of 18, where he began writing jazz fusion and focusing on piano technique.
His first break came when his band was asked to produce an album by a small label co-owned by Shakatak's Bill Sharpe and DJ Ralph Tee. This led to the Jazz Steppers album, "Get Up!," which won the 1998 MOBO for Best Jazz Act.
In 1999, Klay joined Roy Ayers as part of his Ubiquity band. During this same year, Klay released his first solo album, "On Reflection," through an independent UK label.
In 2001, he was asked by Sony Jazz UK to put together a Rhythm section for Guitarist Martin Taylor's Sony UK tour to promote Martin's new album, "Nitelife," produced by Kirk Whalum. Later, he concentrated on studio projects and session work with artists such as Jocelyn Brown and Rippingtons sax player Jeff Kashiwa.