All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

26

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Agrima

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Ancestral influences have long occupied second-generation Indian-American saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa's thinking and have strongly influenced his music. That was especially true in the case of his 2008 Indo-Pak Coalition album Apti (Innova Recordings) and now with Agrima. But there is an obvious evolutionary leap in the near decade between releases; a measure of the progression is owed to technology and another to continuously developing instincts around the marriage of Western and non-western music.

Mahanthappa is the Director of Jazz at Princeton University, a winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship and Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and frequently sits atop best-of lists for alto saxophonists. He first came to prominence as an original member of Vijay Iyer's quartet on Panoptic Modes (Pi Recordings, 2010). Mahanthappa has led or co-led more than a dozen recordings and worked as a side man on a similar number of releases. The rest of the Apti trio remains intact. Drummer Dan Weiss toured with saxophonists David Binney and Lee Konitz early in his career and has a long association with Mahantthapa. He studied tabla with Pandit Samir Chatterjee for two decades making him a perfect fit for Mahantthapa's hybrid style. While he played only tabla on Apti, his drum set is expanded on Agrima. Electric guitarist Rez Abbasi is a native of Pakistan but was raised in Los Angeles from an early age. Like Mahanthappa, he looks to the music of South Asia as a significant piece of a unique jazz diaspora. In a similar manner, Abbasi attempts to blur the line between improvisation and composition.

The two opening pieces, "Alap" and "Snap" are seamlessly linked and both are solidly informed by South Asian influences. The latter of the two compositions maintains that motif through much of its nine minutes before finally breaking out in some free playing. "Showcase" is a moderately paced and serpentine with a blues undercurrent that expands into improvised jazz elements as it progresses. The title track is stylistically the most interesting piece as it not only incorporates regional aspects with jazz, rock and electronics, but also has distinctly Celtic sounding passages. The free playing on "Rasikapriya" coexists with a more structured sense of movement, and the ethereal mysticism of "Revati" add to the broad pallet that Mahanthappa composes from.

With Agrima Mahanthappa continues to challenge himself and the listener with the difficult task of bringing the single-note and drone elements of Indian music together with jazz. Abbasi's penchant for blistering rock guitar interludes adds an almost incalculable test to the composing process. The complex methodology works, even more so than on Apti, due to the expanded reach of the better equipped Weiss. His ability move the process along and shift the environment without seismic repercussions, is just one of the wonders of Agrima.

Track Listing: Alap; Snap; Showcase; Agrima; Can-Did; Rasikapriya; Revati; Take-Turns.

Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone, electronics; Rez Abbasi: guitar, electronics; Dan Weiss: tabla, drums.

Title: Agrima | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Apti

Apti

Rudresh Mahanthappa
Apti

Enhanced Performance

Enhanced Performance

Rudresh Mahanthappa
Codebook

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Best of / Year End
Read more articles
Agrima

Agrima

Self Produced
2017

buy
Bird Calls

Bird Calls

ACT Music
2015

buy
Gamak

Gamak

ACT Music
2013

buy
 

Samdhi

ACT Music
2012

buy
Gamak

Gamak

ACT Music
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Lux" CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Guasábara Puerto Rico" CD/LP/Track Review Guasábara Puerto Rico
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 24, 2018
Read "Night Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Night Concert
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 12, 2018
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Moving Day" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "Asteroidea" CD/LP/Track Review Asteroidea
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 4, 2017