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Rudresh Mahanthappa: Mother Tongue

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Rudresh Mahanthappa: Mother Tongue The latest album by India-born saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa explores the connection between language and music, ancestry and contemporary American life. Continually asked by Americans, "Do you speak Indian?" or "Do you speak Hindu?", Mahanthappa has answered by basing the recording on the sounds of speech. With a population of one billion people and numerous ethnic groups, India has 22 official languages. The saxophonist had Indian-American friends leave answers to the questions on his voice mail in their language. He then melodically transcribed them. Seven of the tunes are based on these responses.

Fans of the dissonant playing styles of Ornette Coleman and Greg Osby will most appreciate this unique recording. Like the legendary Coleman, Mahanthappa wails on these ten compositions that seldom let up. For jazz fans, the most accessible tunes are the sheets of sound Coltrane-like "The Preserver" and "English," with its slightly funky pulse. Although the seven languages are dissimilar, the saxophonist's sound on most songs is comparable, the difference being the rhythm and tone of each. The languid "Kannada" and "Tamil" offer an oasis of repose in tunes that otherwise blaze with fire.

This is dense, complex, and challenging music. When heard all in one sitting, the senses can easily go into overload mode. Mother Tongue is best appreciated one song at a time. In that sense, the parts are better than the whole.


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

Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa- alto sax; Vijay Iyer- piano; Francois Moutin- bass; Elliot Humberto Kavee- drums

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Pi Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


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Rudresh Mahanthappa Events

Date Event Time Tickets
Sep16Fri Rudresh Mahanthappa
The Side Door Jazz Club
Old Lyme, CT
8:30 pm
Oct13Thu Rudresh Mahanthappa
Outpost Performance Space
Albuquerque, NM
7:30 pm
Oct14Fri Rudresh Mahanthappa
Musical Instrument Museum
Phoenix, AZ
7:30 pm
Oct15Sat Rudresh Mahanthappa
Angel City Jazz Festival - Clausen Hall at Los Angeles City College
Los Angeles, CA
8:00 pm
Oct16Sun Rudresh Mahanthappa
Cafe Stritch
San Jose, CA
8:00 pm
Oct17Mon Rudresh Mahanthappa
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Santa Cruz, CA
7:00 pm
Oct18Tue Rudresh Mahanthappa
Redwood Jazz Alliance - Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA
8:00 pm

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