Steve Lehman / Rudresh Mahanthappa: Dual Identity (2010)
The compositions are evenly divided among the saxophonists repertoire with fresh reworkings of Lehman's "Post-Modern Pharaohs" from Artificial Light (Fresh Sound, 2004) and "Circus" from Mahanthappa's Mother Tongue (Pi Recordings, 2004). From the former composition's complexity to the latter's intricate shifts in balladry and Indian modes, what is expected from these fierce horn leaders is delivered in spades: labyrinthine runs, sharp patterns and a cerebral quality within heavy grooves. The two horns are animals of the same skin; complimenting one another, not only in tone, but also in playing style, exhibited in the exhausting horn trades in "Rudreshm" as their voices intertwine like vipers in a pit.
But the success lies in the exceptional band effort from all participants. Ellmanalso a key member of Henry Threadgill's eclectic Zooid ensembleis superb where his unique phrasing and staccato soloing on "Circus" is quite memorable. Reid and Brewer do more than just hold the rhythmic lineexacting beats and vivid spots with an elaborate three and a half minute opening drum solo in "Extensions Of Extensions Of" and authoritative bass maneuvers in "1010"they obliterate it.
The question was asked in an interview prior to the release whether identity was important to each of the leaders in this music. Since 2004, yet in different forms, Lehman and Mahanthappa have been collaborating, developing, experimenting and evolving their identities into this quintet project. Things take time. But it was emphatically worth it.
Visit Steve Lehman and Rudresh Mahanthappa on the web.
Track Listing: The General; Foster Brothers; SMS; Post-Modern Pharaohs; Extensions Of Extensions Of; Katchu; Circus; Resonance Ballad; Rudreshm; 1010; Dual Identities.
Personnel: Damion Reid: drums; Liberty Ellman: guitar; Matt Brewer: bass; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Steve Lehman: alto saxophone.
Record Label: Clean Feed Records