Piotr Orlov

The Return, keyboardist and producer Kamaal Williams' debut full-length as a bandleader, presents ideas about London's renewed flirtation with jazz and improvisation that are both illuminating and misleading. Yet this collection of instrumental miniatures also underlines what continues to make the city's music exciting, presenting another chapter in its decades-long rhythm-culture continuum, an inter-generational mix that pushes things forward.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


Finding an acceptable line between influence and appropriation has dogged musicians for generations, and Dexter Story addresses the issue in surprising and joyous ways on Wondem, his second album as a bandleader.

Even in the world of outré electronics, the experimental-music swings of Chicagoan Jamal Moss are radical. If you have the hips, stomach and brain for a steady stream of sonic surprises, he's your man in lo-fi techno. Among the many technologically astute and historically Afrocentric monikers Moss hides behind, Hieroglyphic Being has come to be his best known­ — if only because the labels through which Moss releases HB records (beside his self-run Mathematics Recordings) have the widest distribution.