“Yeah…”, he said.
That’s a pretty close approximation to one of my first conversations with Karsh Kale: drummer, tabla master, producer, composer, and — at the time — my new neighbor who was introducing me to his cat. Karsh has since decamped to what I hope for his sake is a less shady building, but I still see him in the ‘hood from time to time. A few months ago, I bumped into him on the street and asked him what he was up to.
“I’m actually working on a thing for Celebrate Brooklyn — it’s a new score for Enter the Dragon and we’re going to play it along with the movie”, Karsh said.
“Bruce Lee?”, I said.
Bruce Lee is kind of a common touchstone for artists of all kinds: His book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, is ostensibly a martial arts manual but, to many, it is also a work of “Artistic Philosophy”. Lee’s struggles and reflections upon the act of “expressing one’s self honestly” have resonated with creative artists since it was first published in 1975. And as I got to know Karsh a little bit, I could see that influence expressed in his own work.
I saw the performance a few weeks later and I really enjoyed it! Karsh had to come up with something that was different enough from Lalo Schifrin’s original score to be interesting to music lovers, yet visceral enough to be rewarding to Kung Fu movie fans — and I think he succeeded on both counts.
Here’s some video of Karsh and his collaborators Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj (a.k.a., the Midival Punditz) working it out:
If this ever gets a commercial release, I think you’ve got some guaranteed sales to everyone who saw this performed that night! (Are you listening Warner Brothers?).