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Jazz Articles


Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls at The Wexner Center for The Arts

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Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa brought his quintet to the Wexner Center at The Ohio State University February 27, 2016, to play his book of original compositions precipitated by the music of Charlie Parker. The audience to this sold out show was left with the proverbial question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did they come to hear the music of alto saxophonist and originator of bebop, Charlie “Yardbird" Parker's music? Or, were they in the audience ...


Hrayr Attarian's Best Releases of 2015

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The year 2015 was truly an exciting one for jazz as it saw many superb releases. If I had, however, the proverbial gun to the head to just choose just one it would be Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls (ACT, 2015). Nevertheless, the cream of the crop of the year is listed below in five triads. The three best small combo albums are listed on the first row. The three best solo efforts on the second row The three best large ...


Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls

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On Bird Calls, alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa takes on the music of Charlie Parker in a personal and profound way, accompanied by his whip-smart, uber-hip and youthful backing band. Let's face it, folks; this is the sort of thing a jazz fan's daydreams are made of. The result doesn't disappoint; Bird Calls is a masterpiece, and will certainly grace many a critic's year end “Top 10" list. It's evident that Mahanthappa thought this album through from ...


Rudresh Mahanthappa: Dancing on the Edges of Time

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Saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa is constantly making waves in the music world, expanding the technique of his instrument and integrating jazz and world music, especially that of his parents' native land, India. Brilliantly innovative, he often surprises with his improvisations and the way he transforms the music into something new and stimulating. India's great poet, Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time..." With his rhythmic propulsion and inexhaustible energy, Mahanthappa is always on ...


Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls

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Charlie Parker has been deified, his methods have been codified, and his recordings have been analyzed ad infinitum. Six decades have passed since he left this realm, yet he remains the lodestar for a significant portion of the jazz community, from the aspiring to the elite, and his influence hasn't waned one bit. Given all of that, it's astonishing to realize that so few players have taken chances by looking beyond the songs, the music theory, the recordings, and the ...


Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls

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In this innovative album, Rudresh Mahanthappa is to “Yardbird" Charlie Parker what Albert Einstein was to Isaac Newton. He revises Parker's legacy to his own advanced understanding, yet preserves the essential truth of Parker's contribution to jazz. One genius says “hello" to another and then goes his own way. The result is an exciting “leaning in" to Bird's bebop while retaining Mahanhtappa's unique synthesis of the jazz idiom with the music of India and other parts of the world. This ...


Rudresh Mahanthappa: Integrity

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[ Editor's Note: The following interview is reprinted from George Colligan's blog, Jazztruth] I had only met Rudresh Mahanthappa once briefly; we played with different bands at a gig at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. I was subbing with Miguel Zenon [while] he was performing with Vijay Iyer's quartet. I always found his playing to be super intense, which made me think that he might be a super intense personality. When we met years later at ...


Rudresh Mahanthappa: Buffalo, NY, January 27, 2013

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Rudresh MahanthappaAlbright Knox Art GalleryBuffalo, NYJanuary, 27 2013It is no secret that modern jazz musicians often draw upon multiple cultures when creating their art.In saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's case, he begins by meshing traditional music from India along with influences ranging from the Middle East to the East Village, from blues, progressive rock to funk and just about anything else you might care to name.The results are stunning in their sonic diversity, ...

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