All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

192

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Samdhi

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Samdhi | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

Related Video

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 Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Affirmative" CD/LP/Track Review Affirmative
by Jim Olin
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "All You Gotta Do" CD/LP/Track Review All You Gotta Do
by Doug Collette
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Poetry from the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry from the Future
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Still Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Still Motion
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 7, 2017