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Wednesday March 28, 2018

From WBUR 90.9

Jazz Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition Brings South Asian Grunge To ICA
By: Claire Dickson

“I wanted to evoke a rock energy and feel with an almost grungy sound, but still have South Asian stuff in there.”

It might come as a surprise that jazz saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa — a Princeton professor of music and Guggenheim fellow known for his work with pianist Vijay Iyer and a Charlie Parker tribute album called “Bird Calls” — is using words like “grungy” to describe his most recent project. But then again, describing someone like Mahanthappa as a jazz musician turning to rock music feels reductive.

His discovery of the musical angle on his new album is more complicated. Although there is no question that Mahanthappa is firmly established in the jazz community (he has been No. 1 in DownBeat’s polls for alto saxophonists several times), he describes his music as growing from straight ahead jazz but subsequently a manifestation of his “figuring out who I am and how I fit into the American landscape.”

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