Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Gamak (ACT, 2013)

Alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mathanappa has been at the forefront of modern jazz for several years, winning many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work as a leader and a sideman. On this album, he is supported by David Fiuczynski on guitar, Francois Moutin on bass and Dan Weiss on drums. A gamak is part of a performance of Indian classical music, something which gives each movement a unique sound. The influence of this idea is pervasive on this album, particularly on songs like “Waiting is Forbidden” which features choppy and powerful saxophone building tension against exciting sparks of guitar. “Abhogi,” which is a raga in Indian music, has been adapted to develop jazz with a distinctly East Asian flavor. Fiuczynski is particularly interesting here, with his twanging, brittle style of guitar playing offering up more avenues for exploration. The music on this album is continuously fresh and exciting, reveling in the sheer ebullience the group brings to playing jazz and creating music that keeps listeners wondering what's next. Rudresh Mahanthappa and his group present a modern and fusion-like a synthesis of world music, jazz and funk elements. It makes for complex music, but compelling listening. Gamak -

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