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Sarathy Korwar And Upaj Collective
My East Is Your West

Gearbox Records

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$75.00 SGD
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$75.00 SGD


Jazz musicians have been borrowing from Indian music for more than half a century. Sometimes it was just the textures – the drones of the tanpura, the exotic patter of tablas, the zing of a sitar. Sometimes it was deeper – John Coltrane incorporating Hindustani ragas into modal jazz, or Trilok Gurtu mixing konnakol vocal percussion with scat singing.

It’s a history explored by US-born, India-raised, London-based percussionist Sarathy Korwar on his latest album. Recorded live at the Church of Sound in Clapton, London, earlier this year, it revisits many of the fusions of the last half century – there are pieces by Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry, Joe Henderson, John McLaughlin, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Goan guitarist Amancio D’Silva and even Ravi Shankar.

Korwar’s lineup – mixing a jazz quintet and five Indian musicians – echoes the “double quintet” adopted by Jamaican saxophonist Joe Harriott and Anglo-Indian violinist John Mayer on their mid-60s Indo Jazz Fusions albums. But, where Mayer and Harriott engaged in a jerky, slightly awkward sound-clash, Korwar’s fusion is seamless.

The classical Indian musicians here – such as flautist Aravindhan Baheerathan and percussionist BC Manjunath – have one foot in the world of jazz improvisation, while the jazz players clearly understand Indian music: Jesse Bannister, for instance, replicates on a tenor sax the slurred notes and trills we associate with a sitar. “Upaj” is the Hindi word for impromptu and these are lengthy improvisations: a remarkable 15-minute take on Joe Henderson’s Earth starts with a gorgeous, sighing vocal improvisation from Aditya Prakash and peaks with a garrulous baritone sax wigout over a sludge funk beat. The languor is part of the appeal. – The Guardian

Label: Gearbox Records – GB1549OBI

Format: 3 x Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM, Album

Country: Japan

Released: 10 Mar 2021

Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, & Country

Style: Contemporary Jazz