Prolific alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa recently was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Jazz Journalists Association has recognized his extraordinary sax talent for three years running. While at Berklee College of Music, Mahanthappa first heard the alto used in Carnatic music—the sub-genre associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. His rare ability to synthesize South Indian concepts with a seemingly boundless range of influences characterizes him as one of the most important artists in jazz today.
On this very special evening, we present his work in two contexts with two distinct sets and ensemble configurations. With Gamak (a modification of his quartet featuring David “Fuze” Fiuczynski on guitar) Rudresh explains, “I’m working with quarter-tones and melodic ornamentation in ways that I have not before, especially with regard to composition.” And with the tabla and guitarstudded Indo-Pak Coalition, he presents a playful take on the symbiosis between the music of his ancestors and the jazz to which he grew up listening.