All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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 Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Audacity" CD/LP/Track Review Audacity
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "Moksha" CD/LP/Track Review Moksha
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 28, 2018
Read "The Last Night At The Old Place" CD/LP/Track Review The Last Night At The Old Place
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 31, 2018
Read "Seldom In The Wells" CD/LP/Track Review Seldom In The Wells
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 10, 2018
Read "Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)" CD/LP/Track Review Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "First Things First" CD/LP/Track Review First Things First
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 4, 2018