Album Review | Aman Jagwani Brings Us To This Place

The accessibility of modern production software, educational resources, and advances in tech have made remote collaborations more and more the norm—especially in the era of COVID-19. All over the world, people are teaming up to contribute to a greater whole and produce something that logistically wouldn’t have been possible without enhanced digital connections and opportunities.

That said, not everything can be easily done online, particularly when working with off-kilter jazz structures and harmonies tied up with unusual tempos and out-there melodies. As such, it’s a small miracle that Aman Jagwani has managed to pull off his vision so well on This Place.

The Berklee-educated Jagwani melds electronica, jazz, and R&B into his soulful compositions. A drummer by training, his pieces are, unsurprisingly, rhythmically complex and captivating, and there is a notable fusion between the power of live performance on acoustic drums and the more abstract and expanding world of synthesis and pre-programmed textures.

Aman Jagwani is from Goa, India, and he was prompted by the lockdown to reach out to various soloists to add their spice to this record remotely. The personnel include trumpeter Jason Palmer, pianist Ron Cha, flugelhorn player Milena Casado and, of course, vocalist Anubha Kaul.

This Place opens with a syncopated beat covered by softened hues from the tastefully applied flugelhorn lines. As the bass hops on, abstract and dreamy tones drift through the ears, and the lush and evocative vocals by Kaul capture that essence that only few artists, such as Sade, can. Jagwani’s drumming performance illustrates not only his technical proficiency, but also a genuine ear for how and when to apply himself rather than smother the track by showing off.

‘Palm Tree’ features dancing, euphoric keys with a swinging bass line and a duet vocal performance, while ‘Rain on my Shelter’ (an original by Kaul) makes the most of her sultry vocal delivery as a vehicle to express her dismay with the pace of the modern world. The real winner, however, is the magnificent ‘Glow’—frenzied drumming, gorgeous pads, ethereal vocals, and abstract synths make for a harmonically obscure and hypnotic musical journey, and a mid-track bass run takes the piece on a home run to its climactic ending.

This Place delivers jazz expertise and an innovative approach packed with complex rhythms and irresistible vocals. At only 22 years of age, Aman Jagwani is a talent beyond his years. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

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