Home » Jazz Articles » Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa: Raw Materials

467
Album Review

Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa: Raw Materials

By

Sign in to view read count
Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa: Raw Materials
After being introduced to one another by M-Base saxophonist Steve Coleman a decade ago, pianist Vijay Iyer and alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthapa have shared a long and fruitful career together. Both are founding members in each other's ensembles: Mahanthappa is the principle foil in Iyer's long running quartet, and vice versa in Mahanthappa's own group. Recently they have spent a considerable amount of time playing as a duo dubbed Raw Materials. This self-titled album is their debut recording.

Iyer and Mahanthappa share the spotlight as equals, trading solos and cadenzas while providing each other rhythmic support and harmonic counterpoint, without ever falling into clichéd patterns. With similar genealogical backgrounds, their shared history runs deeper than most duos, enriching their synergistic rapport. Sharing progressive conceptual points of view, Iyer and Mahanthappa straddle opposing ideological worlds, blending mainstream virtuosity with avant-garde expressivity. Strident but not histrionic, they play with exuberance on assertive passages and restraint during introspective moments.

Their shared sensibility engenders the album with a distinctive, formalist identity. Even more telling, twelve of thirteen tracks are culled from a suite, "Sangha: Collaborative Fables," further cementing the album's stylistic focus.

A slight forlornness haunts the suite, albeit with a glimmer of hope deep at its core. Alternately rousing or contemplative, the pair vacillates from pugnacious remonstration to pensive rumination. Mahanthappa's circuitous spiral runs knit with Iyer's percussive arpeggios as the duo weaves an intricate tapestry of ardent pyrotechnics. When not soaring over Iyer's pneumatic comping, Mahanthappa drifts from controlled multiphonics to searing, lyrical intensity with ease. Demonstrating the entire spectrum of his talent, Iyer modulates his attack from resounding sustain and hyper linear keyboard runs to muted chords and pianissimo rumblings during the set's ballads.

Even without the benefit of a rhythm section, Iyer and Mahanthappa's intuitive rapport makes rewarding listening. Stripped to the barest of essentials, Raw Materials proves that sometimes less is more.

Visit Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa on the web.

Track Listing

The Shape of Things; All the Names; Forgotten System; Remembrance; Frontlash; Five Fingers Make a Fist; Inside the Machine; Stronger Than Itself; Come back; Fly Higher; Common Ground; Rataplan; Hope.

Personnel

Vijay Iyer: piano; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone.

Album information

Title: Raw Materials | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Savoy Jazz


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Tone Paintings
Craig Davis
Yes Tomorrow
Paul Dunmall Quintet
Isn't It Romantic
Judy Whitmore
The Pan American Nutcracker Suite
Joe McCarthy's Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.