There is always the hardcore jazz crowd that enjoys new sounds, abstraction and experimentation. Then there are those that enjoy harmonies and melodies and ‘tunes’ they can follow.
Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, loves to experiment, improvise and nurture new approaches. He’s the live showmen with the right mentality for propelling jazz into a new and fresh realm.
This was Avant-Garde jazz of calibre with layer upon layer of complexity, cleverly portraying the skill set of his band and his musicality. The grammar of adding his touch to what was offered to the audience was not easy to grasp. It’s not for those expecting some kind of indian fusion music. This is phrasing that’s individual, conceptual and full of depth in the modern landscape of jazz music.
To link the connection that Mahanthappa has with his music to the classical indian modals, especially on the opening piece, Killer, was important for the audience. Missing the Mridangam playing of Anantha Krishnan, elevating the piece to this connection, left them a bit lost from the whole performance. It’s an important aspect of the showcase album, Samdhi, it was ultimately promoting. A layer which would have allowed the audience to at least comprehend a level which Mahanthappa is known for, bringing the explosive East-West jazz connection together. Enveloping this into something which is accessible to most audiences is difficult, especially when expectations are met with something different.
A favorite off the album, Breakfastlunchanddinner, was a striking conversation between sax, David Gilmore’s guitar and Gene Lake’s drums. Funky exchanges that delivered a driven composition punctuated with bluesy responses. ‘Richard’s Game’ also struck a chord with the audience as finger work from bass guitarist Rich Brown weaved it’s magic.
Ultimately, the storming and intense staccato sax of Rudresh Mahanthappa, the use of electronic overlays and a crunching band delivered multi phonic sound of cutting edge jazz. A pioneering performance from one the most contemporary musicians in jazz to date.
We got a chance prior to the performance to sit down and chat with Rudresh about his music. You can see the full interview in our new section ‘Take The Stand’ launching this week.
Full Line Up
- Rudresh Mahanthappa -Saxophone
- David Gilmore – Electric Guitar
- Gene Lake – Drums
- Rich Brown – Bass Guitar
Samdhi is available on iTunes.