Paralleling the recent world-music phenomena, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa has become a champion of Indo-Jazz applications. By integrating Indian classical ragas, Mahanthappa fuses a highly progressive jazz base into his undulating and, at times, mesmeric compositions. With touches of jazz-fusion, framed on sprawling improvisational forums, the artist's global approach reaps additional rewarding factors via his signature sound, often designed with scintillating 16th note solo runs. He aligns his technical acumen with a compositional prowess that embeds variability with an assertive line of fire
Mahanthappa's creative force and unbridled vigor comes to the limelight during "Killer." Here, the artist surges forward with a vengeance. Comprised of scathing unison choruses atop demanding time signatures, the saxophonist literally zooms in for the kill, his sweet-toned phrasings offset by a distinct edge, marked by a supersonic yet cohesive form of delivery.
Mahanthappa and electric guitarist David Gilmore alter the coordinates via brisk counterpoint maneuvers. Topped off by yearning lines and a tender bridge section, the band lowers the impact level, and then spirals back into tenth gear with tornadic velocity. While Mahanthappa tosses a curveball into the proceedings by filtering his sax parts through laptop software, "Anand" Anantha Krishnan's mridangam work firmly entrenches a bustling Indian percussive element into the big picture.
Mahanthappa is an artist who defies boundaries, but defines new paradigms for the jazz idiom.
Personnel: Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone, laptop; David Gilmore: electric guitar; Rich Brown: electric bass; Damion Reid: drums; "Anand" Anatha Krishnan: mridangam, kanjira.