192

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Samdhi

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Rudresh Mahanthappa: Samdhi About halfway through the aptly named "Killer," it becomes apparent that saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's Samdhi is up to something just a little different. Amid the track's impossible changes and blistering tempo, the saxophonist's alto undergoes acoustic-electric alterations that are processed through a laptop. Not that it was ever needed, but this embracing of technology, and other influences, adds yet another dimension to his repertoire.

Samdhi is the product of Mahanthappa's receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, which allowed him to explore the fusion of electronic music, ancestral Indian music and jazz. It spawned a new group with a number of early dates and the results are striking. While slightly different from previous works, this release is an extension of his cutting edge, multicultural jazz that's been documented in recordings such as Kinsmen (Pi Recordings, 2008) and Apex (Pi Recordings, 2010), with saxophonist Bunky Green.

The release hearkens in some ways to the sounds of 1970s and 1980s—"blending," a label that was frequently used and abused, since jazz in itself is a blending of varied cultures and music . The sound does include elements of progressive rock and electronic instrumentation, but is also a singular identity as alluded to in the release's title. In Sanskrit, samdhi means "that which combines or unites" or "the interval between day and night."

This idea of unification lies at the heart of the project, as heard in David Gilmore 's solo guitar in "Rune," a precursor to the funky, rhythmic explosion in "Breakfastlunchanddinner," a jam that parties hard like Return to Forever. The tune contains not only Gilmore's hypersonic shreds but also the layered rhythms from drummer Damion Reid and Carnatic (South Indian) percussionist Anatha Krishnan, and a groovy Jaco Pastorius-like solo from strongman Richard Rabbit Brown on electric bass.

"Parakram #2" is a sonic journey of undulating loops, pumped beats, and wild synthesized textures. The track's creative programming is exhaustive yet segues nicely into the flowing vibrations of "Ahhh," a tune whose tempo swells and quickens into a sublime groove where all the musicians shine. Another highlight is "Meeting of the Skins," a tour-de-force drumming exchange between Krishnan and Reid, each musician spurring the other to new heights.

From start to finish, the music never abandons its flavor. Stimulating, open-minded, and never pretentious, this is Mahanthappa's most accessible release to date.


Track Listing: Parakram #1; Killer; Richards Game; Playing with Stones; Rune; Breakfastlunchanddinnner; Parakram #2 Ahhh; Meeting Of The Skins; Still-Gas; For My Lady; For All The Ladies.

Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone, laptop; David Gilmore: electric guitar; Rich Brown: electric bass; Damion Reid: drums; "Anand" Anatha Krishnan: mridangam, kanjira.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ACT Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Eleven Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Promises
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Sketches on the Radio" CD/LP/Track Review Sketches on the Radio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Fellow Creatures" CD/LP/Track Review Fellow Creatures
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Steam In The Casa" CD/LP/Track Review Steam In The Casa
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!