8 tracks that have inspired Sarathy Korwar

The London-based percussionist and composer digs deep.

2016 was a great year for Sarathy Korwar – he supported Kamasi Washington on his UK tour, and released his acclaimed debut album, Day To Day, on Ninja Tune in collaboration with The Steve Reid Foundation. The record melded the traditional folk music of the Sidi community in India with jazz and glimmering electronics, and was created with the mentorship of the foundation’s patrons – including Four Tet, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson and Koreless.

Born in the US and raised in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India, Korwar started his musical journey aged 10 playing the tabla and absorbing the American music emanating from his local jazz shop – citing Ahmad Jamal and John Coltrane as early interests. After graduating from SOAS in 2011 with an MMus in Performance – with a focus on the adaptation of Indian classical rhythmic material to non-Indian percussion instruments – Korwar became an active player in London’s jazz scene, before concentrating on what would become his debut album project.

Later this month, Korwar will play at Goat Festival in Goa, India, alongside the likes of Henry Wu, Yussef Kamaal and Dope St Jude. And in the run up, we’re treated to personal favourites by Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals and more.

1. Steve Lehman & Selebeyone – Laamb

One of those records that became extra special because I came across it very unexpectedly. The first jazz record with MCs that has really made a huge impact on me sonically.

2. Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals

The dude’s amazing. What a voice. What a groove.

3. Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

Forever envious of how Brian Blade plays the drums. The most passionate, nuanced and simple drummer ever. Every time I try to play more like him and fail.

4. Shabaka & the Ancestors

Man dem Shabaka with such a great jazz record. My favourite of all his releases thus far. Tumi Mogorosi on drums sounds just like Brian Blade.

5. The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

One of my favourite bands and they bring Joshua Redman in to kill it together.

6. Don Cherry & the Organic Music Theatre

My favourite Don Cherry video online, playing music from what becomes the Organic Music Society. Nana Vasconcelos is on fire!

7. Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters

Seminal album, great band whose influence is still felt so strongly. Love the opening Shakere track on this live performance as well.

8. Cannonball Adderley & the Poll Winners

Cannonball was one of my first jazz heroes, here along with Wes Montgomery he swings and grooves so much – it’s classic.

Sarathy Korwar plays GOAT Festival, 27th, 28th & 29th January at Ashvem Beach, Goa, India. Tickets here.

Featured image: Fabrice Bourgelle

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