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...

565

Rudresh Mahanthappa / Kadri Gopalnath: Kinsmen

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Kinsmen is the physical actualization of a long path that started with alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's desire to create a music that is a hybrid (not a fusion) of American jazz and classical Indian Carnatic music. Improvisation is central to both aesthetics with differing emphases, embodied primarily in the playing of Mahanthappa and alto saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath, the "Emperor of the Saxophone" in India.

Both players have worked to extend their playing from its base, either the West or the East, into the other world—Mahanthappa exploring his roots and Gopalnath his restless musical imagination—and have met in the middle. The result is a music that never remains in either world for very long, constantly vacillating rhythmically, harmonically and melodically between its poles.

The album itself is a tightened version of an initial (and phenomenal) concert at the Asia Society in New York City and was recorded about a week afterwards, following a subsequent short tour. While the visuals are obviously lost, what is heard here accurately transmits the excitement and sheer ecstasy that flowed from the stage for two hours.

From the first notes of the opening track "Introspection," the meaning of hybrid is made patently clear as Mahanthappa plays a beautiful and almost pure Carnatic line over guitarist Rez Abassi's drone—West meeting East on its terms. However, this runs directly into "Ganesh," a very, very deep blues built on a funky riff introduced by Mahanthappa. After a number of repetitions increases the tension, the full band explodes, with East now meeting West on its terms.

Violinist A. Kanyakumari and percussionist Poovalur Sriji join Gopalnath, while drummer royal hartigan and bassist Carlo de Rosa support Mahanthappa and Abassi. The ensuing group sound is full of wonderful rhythmic and phrasing collisions as this "Indian blues" proceeds, with Gopalnath's solo on the chord change showing that the blues pentatonic and the Indian scales are not really that far apart at all. Perhaps the most surprising player is Kanyakumari, who tears it up after Abassi's solo, playing Carnatic blues and giving everyone, including Gopalnath, a run for their money.

After this track sets the tone, the album moves through several alaps or solos by Abassi, de Rosa, Gopalnath and Kanyakumari that alternate with longer tracks, each of which deeply investigates a different emotion.

The music is joyful and very cool, while also maintaining ecstatic spirituality as it oscillates between worlds. Mahanthappa and Gopalnath set out to create a music that "ventures well beyond the label of 'Indo-Jazz fusion'" while being "an opening of a new door for Indo-Jazz collaboration," and they have succeeded magnificently.

Kinsmen is an utter delight that can be played over and over as its many levels, complexities and emotions continually surface, merge and mutate.

Track Listing: Introspection; Ganesha; Rez-Alap; Longing; Snake; Carlo-Alap; Kalyani; Kadri-Alap; Kanya-Alap; Convergence (Kinsmen).

Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto sax; Kadri Gopalnath: alto sax; A. Kanyakumari: violin; Rez Abassi: guitar; Poovalur Sriji: mridangam; Carlo de Rosa: bass; royal hartigan: drums.

Title: Kinsmen | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

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 Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Polka (Worldwide Deluxe Edition)" CD/LP/Track Review Polka (Worldwide Deluxe Edition)
by Chris May
Published: August 8, 2018
Read "Light Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Light Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 10, 2018
Read "Decay Of The Angel" CD/LP/Track Review Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "Arise!" CD/LP/Track Review Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Welcome to the Club" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to the Club
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 30, 2018
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018