Rudresh Mahanthappa: Gamak (2013)
Mahanthappa's thirteenth recording is chock-full of ideas both peculiar and tantalizing, as in "Waiting Is Forbidden" and its elements of punk rock, tight funk and intricate tempo changes. The equally mesmeric "Abhogi" is based on a rare India raga, tinted by Fiuczynski's blues-drizzled slide guitar, Moutin's robust arco, some keen drums trades from Weiss, and Mahanthappa's cutting alto lines. These, as well as the remaining tracks, exude a certain "algorithmic elegance."
The combination of Mahanthappa and Fiuczynski is golden. "Fuze's encyclopedic axe contains everything from acid rock work with his Screaming Headless Torso group to an extensive knowledge of Eastern music and alternate tunings. He's the perfect foil for Mahanthappa's multilingual music and feverish flights, as evidenced on the languid "Are There Clouds In India?," where the two complement each with harmonic and dissonant tension.
Other decisive moments include Moutin's dynamic bass spotlight on "F" and the pensive "Ballad For Troubled Times," where the altoist delivers gorgeous elongated lines. In contrast, the set concludes with the head-banging "Majesty of the Blues," which short circuits just as the groove gets good. Still, it's a fitting conclusion to another excellent and unusual release by the ever-searching and forward-thinking Mahanthappa.
Track Listing: Waiting Is Forbidden; Abhogi; Stay I; We'll Make More; Are There Clouds In India?; Lots of Interest; F; Copernicus - 19; Wrathful Wisdom; Ballad For Troubled Times; Majesty of the Blues.
Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Francois Moutin: bass; Dan Weiss: drums; Dave Fiuczynski: guitar.
Record Label: ACT Music
Style: Modern Jazz