Listen: Aman Jagwani’s Introspective Debut LP ‘Essentially Entangled’
The Mumbai drummer/composer shines on the seven-track record
While Mumbai-bred drummer/composer Aman Jagwani may not have come from a musical background, his mother however did gift him a keyboard as a seven-year-old which went on to change his life. He says, “After some lessons, I began exploring on my own with the keyboard, the guitar and some percussion instruments.” By the time he was 12, Jagwani began learning drums from Mumbai-based Benjamin Sequeira after which he joined city-based True School of Music for a year and since 2016 has been studying Drum-Set Performance as well as Electronic Production and Design at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
It was at Berklee where Jagwani began developing ideas for his reflective seven-track debut album, Essentially Entangled, released earlier this month. He says, “After meeting, watching, learning from and collaborating with some extremely talented and virtuosic artists, I was heavily inspired to manifest my musicality beyond the drums.” As soon as Jagwani had all the songs ready, he put a band together at Berklee to “rehearse, refine and record the album.”
The jazz-leaning Essentially Entangled opens with a syncopated drum and bass funk/jazz number titled “Mark One” an ode to American drummer Mark Guiliana. The push and pull effect on “Hyphen” according to Jagwani “conveys how sometimes we enjoy an experience and want to get deeper into it but external circumstances prevent it.” The song features vocals by Berklee voice professor Steven Santoro and a sublime sax solo by Nick Bredal.
The record then slows down with a calming 90 seconds of “Second Word (Interlude)” before the rhythmic “Bridges.” “It [“Bridges”] is about flowing smoothly and discovering [or] building bridges through one’s obstacles through introspection, self-awareness and self-discovery,” says Jagwani. The emotional “Deepak” was written by the musician as a tribute to his late grandfather. “There are two contrasting sections in this piece, one is like a straight eighth smooth-flowing ballad and the other is a vintage-sounding staggered, delay-beat, bluesy hip-hop section reflecting [late American rapper/producer] J-Dilla’s grooves. This was to represent the range of my grandfather’s multi-faceted personality,” Jagwani explains.
According to the drummer, the penultimate melodic track “Window” “is about perspective and the way we choose to see the world resulting in different feelings, experiences and outcomes.” The record closer, the jumpy piano and drum track “Redux,” features pianist Ron Cha and Jagwani improvising for majority of the song. “We did not plan anything about this except the metric modulation at the end. This was actually recorded during the same take as ‘Window.’ Ron just started improvising and I joined him. It is like an outro for the album and also a representation of Ron and my friendship,” says Jagwani.
Essentially Entangled was recorded at The Edge Studios in Quincy, Massachusetts in the U.S. by Keith Assack and mixed by Aleksi Godard and Isaiah Weatherspoon. The LP was mastered by Adam Loeffler and self-produced by Jagwani with help from Cha and New Delhi-bred guitarist Pritesh Walia.
Having already played an album launch show in Boston at Berklee’s recital hall, the musician is now gearing up for his upcoming show at Mumbai’s Levi’s Lounge on May 25th. Jagwani is also lining up more shows in Boston and New York as well as an Europe tour in October. The musician has also begun working on new material that he says will “combine elements of jazz with electronics along with engaging grooves and vocals inspired by break beat, hip-hop, neo-soul etc.”
Click here to RSVP for Jagwani’s Levi’s Lounge gig in Mumbai on May 25th and stream ‘Essentially Entangled’ on Spotify below: