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...

428

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Mother Tongue

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Rudresh Mahanthappa has, slowly but surely, been carving a niche for himself. It started in 1996 with the release of his album Yatra. From there he went on to record with Pierre Lognay, Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd. In 2002 came the first defining moment as leader with the release of Black Water on Red Giant Records. He now stamps that with another album and shows that he has a significant role to play in jazz, not only as a composer but as an articulator of the form.

In the liner notes Mahanthappa says that he was asked if he spoke Indian or Hindu. While India has 22 official languages, neither of the two above are languages. (To put it in perspective, Hindu is to Hinduism what Christian is to Christianity.) In the spirit of revelation he created "compositions that are directly based on melodic transcriptions of Indian-Americans responding to such questions in their native Indian tongues."

If there is one particular attribute that could be singled out about Mahanthappa as a player, it is his control. He can sustain a flurry of notes that bite and chew, without toppling into excess. He sees the light and heads toward it and, when in the open, unravels his imagination, without getting burned or blinded. That is a sign of his maturity, one that will leave an indelible mark. Mahanthappa characterizes this right on as "The Preserver," the music keening and edgy, serrated lines that tumble forth and straighten out, and set the terrain for Iyer who extends the harmonic parameter and creates a spell of his own, a trait evident on the other tunes as well.

Indian motifs are paramount to Mahanthappa's cause and they come in and coax the composition to another level, one that captures and captivates with the depth of its evolution. One can feel the pulse in any of the other tracks even on "English," washed with an oscillating bed that moves into bop with Kavee pushing a taut rhythm and Iyer bathing it in bright colors. The shape is in constant shift, yet the body does not lose its sinew. "Kannada" brings in a translucent beauty, like the South Indian language it is, flowing and pleasing to the ear. And to go for one more, Moutin sets the beat for the heady landscape of "Konkani" (the language of Goa and Mangalore), where Mahanthappa uses a reedier tone and shugs the rhythm into a quicker tempo, his call and response segment with Iyer the highlight.

There is a nice surprise tucked in at the end. After that one waits for the next one.

Visit Rudresh Mahanthappa on the web at www.rudreshm.com .


Track Listing: The Preserver; English; Kannada; Gujarati; Telugu; Circus; Konkani; Tamil; Malayalam; Change of Perspective

Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa--alto saxophone; Vijay Iyer--piano; Fran

Title: Mother Tongue | Year Released: 2004 | 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 Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "New Road: Iowa Memoirs" CD/LP/Track Review New Road: Iowa Memoirs
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Seven Secrets" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Secrets
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 8, 2018
Read "Platinum on Tap" CD/LP/Track Review Platinum on Tap
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Good Merlin" CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: March 27, 2018