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Rudresh Mahanthappa Bird Calls
October 21, 2016 @ 8:00 pm
Rudresh Mahanthappa photo by Jimmy Katz
$24 general / $22 members & seniors / $10 students & military
The revered alto saxophonist, among the leading jazz innovators of his generation, tributes Charlie “Bird” Parker in a quintet of today’s top New York artists — Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), Thomson Kneeland (bass), and Dan Weiss (drums) — and San Diego pianist Joshua White. By emulating the bebop master’s dexterity and drive while retaining only fractions of his original tunes, he reconfigures Parker’s melodies and harmonies into scales and harmonies distinctly his own. This music moves fast! (Presented with support from Chamber Music America.)
Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, among the leading jazz innovators of his generation, honors Charlie “Bird” Parker in a quintet of today’s top New York artists. Performing fast-moving original music that has been termed “a whirlwind of activity” (New York Times), Mahanthappa is backed by a strong ensemble: 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition third-place winner Adam O’Farrill, San Diego-based pianist Joshua White, bassist Thomson Kneeland, and one of New York’s hottest drummers, Dan Weiss.
Reimagining Parker’s iconic bebop through an Indian raga, avant-garde lens all his own, Mahanthappa loosely bases each composition of Bird Calls on one of Parker’s songs or solos. The attentive ear will catch the ensemble’s reconfigurations of certain melodies and harmonies – the most explicit being a recognizable seven-note sequence of “Parker’s Mood”– but should far from expect a conventional tribute.
Mahanthappa is a revered confluence of culture, an astonishing soloist and jazz composer who has never limited himself by those descriptors. He has lead seven projects and worked extensively alongside pianist Vijay Iyer and drum legend Jack DeJohnette. Praised past projects have included a marriage of Indian classical music with an electric funk, plugged-in prog lineup. In 2013, the fusion maestro joined microtonalist guitarist David Fiuczynski to craft the bicultural music of Gamak, an album that dwells in the cracks between notes of the western scale, and was admirably compared to both Mahavishnu Orchestra and The Stooges (Los Angeles Times).