Although Pillay was a great arranger, Deeper in Black also showcases the exquisite original composition and album opener “Blues for Yusuf” with its shimmering keys, funky bass and searing sax. Issued in an all-black sleeve, there was a veiled revolutionary spirit behind the album’s hip modern sound that drew it into alliance with the work of contemporaries Movement in the City, who also sought to bring South African jazz into the 1980s along with a subtle edge of social realism. Pillay performed and recorded under the stage name Lionel Martin in the 1980s before fading into obscurity in 1990s owing to mental health challenges and passing away in 2003. While the details of his personal life are vague, his contribution to South African jazz is vividly documented on Deeper in Black with enduring vitality. Pillay’s discography on the As-Shams label is rounded out by Shrimp Boats, which features unreleased material from the Deeper in Black session, and his collaborative album Plum and Cherry with saxophonist Basil Mannenberg Coetzee.