Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Glare of the Tiger" CD/LP/Track Review Glare of the Tiger
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline Oliveros" CD/LP/Track Review The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Ara" CD/LP/Track Review Ara
by Don Phipps
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "A Thing Called Joe" CD/LP/Track Review A Thing Called Joe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "Gnosis" CD/LP/Track Review Gnosis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 27, 2017