Infinite Reflections

Every couple of decades, a movement re-emerges, imbued with the modern sensibilities of a new generation. For the London-based musicians of Uniri, the influence of J Dilla’s seminal 2006 album Donuts is palpable. A touchstone for young musicians who grew up on instrumental and abstract hip-hop, Donuts inspired a generation, a magnum opus that showcased J Dilla’s hard-hitting beats and slightly off-kilter sense of rhythm. With their debut album Infinite Reflections, Uniri take this inspiration a step further, abandoning traditional jazz band structures and the confines of bedroom production for a collective, groove-centric approach imbued with Dilla’s legacy.

Uniri, translating to “one unified dream,” encapsulates the ethos of the project conceived by drummer Tim Doyle aka Chiminyo, the band’s founder and driving force. Known for his work with Cykada and Maisha, Chiminyo brought together jazz talents Amané Tsuganami, Al Macsween, and Luke Wynter. Despite being their first album, the members of Uniri are anything but rookies and their spontaneous sessions resulted in a psychedelic, rhythm-heavy collection that balances cosmic synths with the essence of hip-hop beats and jazz composition.

The result is a sound that resonates with the likes of Flying Lotus, Samiyam, Dorian Concept, Ras G, and Nosaj Thing, artists who helped shape the California “new beats” scene. Uniri’s approach also reflects a broader trend in contemporary jazz, where the genre’s boundaries are constantly expanding. The UK jazz scene, particularly in London, has become a fertile ground for such innovation, with groups who are redefining jazz by moving away from solo improvisation in favor of collaborative composition and incorporating diverse influences from the beat scene. 

Infinite Reflections is a testament to this evolution—a bold and cohesive project that marks a significant addition to the ever-changing landscape of modern jazz. The harmony between Chiminyo, Tsuganami, Macsween, and Wynter is evident throughout, resulting in a work that feels both meticulously crafted and wonderfully spontaneous. 

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London quartet Uniri abandon traditional jazz band structures for a groove-centric approach imbued with J Dilla’s legacy.