Korwar’s debut, Day By Day, was one of the surprise breakout albums of 2016; a wily blend of imaginative programming and incisive playing that saw the drummer-composer-producer investigate the little known Sidi culture of India. The complexities of his own identity and, more to the point, the clichés thrust upon him, surfaced in the way the album was received by some. The forthright title of this second recording addresses such issues head on. As an individual who can claim India, Britain and America as part of his heritage, Korwar knows that notions of east and west, and their respective musical histories, are anything but rigidly delineated.
Korwar’s progressive stance is underlined by both the instrumentation, featuring a larger ensemble than that used on Day By Day (santoor, sitar, saxophone, vocals, bass, guitar, drums and tablas) and the choice of material, including original pieces and reprises of several great border-crossers – Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and John McLaughlin. The predominantly lengthy pieces build on the historical vocabulary of indo-jazz without reducing it to standardized tropes. Korwar’s ability to drive the rhythm section while catering to the metric and timbral finesse of the work is deeply engaging.
Sarathy Korwar, My East Is Your West [Gearbox]