On Saturday, April 21 at 10:00 p.m. in Zankel Hall, jazz saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa leads his quintet in its first performance at Carnegie Hall as they perform the New York premiere of the Samdhi Suite in its complete form. Samdhi Suite is an electro-acoustic work that combines the complex melodic and rhythmic elements of Carnatic (or South Indian) music with jazz in ways previously unheard. For this performance, the alto saxophonistrecently named both a Guggenheim fellow and the 2011 Downbeat International Critics Poll Alto Saxophonist of the Yearperforms alongside guitarist David Gilmore, bassist Rich Brown, drummer Gene Lake, and percussionist Anand Ananthakrishnan. The concert is presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with The Joyce and George Wein Foundation in memory of Joyce Wein.
Following the success of Mahanthappa's 2008 recording Kinsmen, he released Apex, which featured a new co-led ensemble with alto saxophone legend Bunky Green, pianist Jason Moran, bassist François Moutin, and drummer Damion Reid, with special guest Jack DeJohnette. His latest album Samdhi was released on the ACT Music & Vision label in 2011, and is described by Downbeat as a stunning record that blends Mahanthappa's modern jazz heart and vocabulary with the music of his Indian roots."
Mahanthappa also leads a number of acclaimed bands, including the Indo-Pak Coalition featuring guitarist Rez Abbasi and tabla player / drummer Dan Weiss and the Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet featuring Craig Taborn, François Moutin, and Dan Weiss. In both his compositions and his playing, Mahanthappa seeks to explore new musical territory and to, in his own words, ..."address what it means to be Indian-American by creating music that is as hybrid as I am."
Prior to Mahanthappa's performance, starting at 9:00 p.m., ticketholders are invited to enjoy Late Nights at Zankel Hall, a laid-back pre-concert experience. The first 200 ticketholders to arrive will receive a complimentary drink courtesy of Carnegie Hall.
About Rudresh Mahanthappa
Heralded by critics as one of the most original composers in his field, alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's prolific contributions to contemporary jazz have earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions to create new works from the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation's MAP Fund, Chamber Music America, and the American Composers Forum. He was also named Alto Saxophonist of the Year in the 2011 Downbeat International Critics Poll. Mahanthappa's ability to synthesize South Indian musical concepts with a seemingly boundless range of unexpected influences frequently places him among the most important artists in jazz music todaya distinction the Jazz Journalists Association recently echoed by naming him Alto Saxophonist of the Year three consecutive times from 2009-2011.
It is, however, what the New Yorker called his visceral tone and grab-you-by-the-collar attack" that has driven new, international audiences to each of the seven projects Mahanthappa currently leads or co-leads. His critically acclaimed 2010 release, Apex (the Pi label), with alto saxophone legend Bunky Green, featuring Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette, was widely lauded as one of the year's best recordings, as NPR, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, Boston Globe, JazzTimes and other publications hailed the rhythmic dynamism and exuberant ensemble interaction sparked by the group both on stage and on the record. The material he recorded in 2008 with Carnatic sax guru Kadri Gopalnath for their record Kinsmen (the Pi label), project displayed a wholly different conceptexecuted with equally breathtaking chops. Additionally, since the 2008 release of Apti, the tabla and guitar-studded Indo-Pak Coalition has provided a more playful take on Mahanthappa's symbiosis between the music of his ancestors and the jazz he grew up listening to in Colorado. Other projects currently include trios MSG and Mauger and the quintet Dual Identity. Most recently Rudresh has signed a multi-record deal with the major European label ACT Music + Vision.