Sarathy Korwar: Kalak review – deft musical storytelling

(The Leaf Label)
The Indo jazz drummer and bandleader muses on questions of time and identity on this warm, thoughtful outing

On his last album, 2019’s More Arriving, the US-born, Indian-raised drummer and producer Sarathy Korwar proved himself highly adept at thoughtful, engaging musical storytelling. Kalak is the London-based artist’s fourth full-length record as bandleader, and finds him less searing, more meditative than on its predecessor – but still every bit as vital.

Examining the double meaning of the Hindi and Urdu word “kal” (which is both “yesterday” and “tomorrow”), Kalak unfurls with questions such as: who gets to be remembered; how to do more than simply survive in the present; how to dream about the future? In a lesser artist’s hands the concept could border on didactic or cloying (and certainly, the spoken word elements on opener A Recipe to Cure Historical Amnesia feel skippable on repeat listens), but Korwar’s compositions here are irresistible.

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