Rudresh Mahanthappa – Abhogi

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From the Rudresh Mahanthappa album “Gamak” (ACT, 2013)

” Gamak, Mahanthappa’s thirteenth album as leader or co-leader, marks the debut of a new band that is both a reprise and a reinvention. The album reunites the saxophonist with bassist François Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss, the rhythm section from his long-running quartet, which was last recorded for the 2006 album, Codebook. But the group takes on a radically different sound with the addition of David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, a master of microtonal guitar whose eclectic virtuosity offered Mahanthappa a vast new territory to explore.”

Born in Trieste and raised in the States, alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa went back to his cultural origins by a roundabout route, inspired by famous sax innovator Kadri Gopalnath at Berklee College to begin a now much-praised mission to fuse western jazz and dance grooves with Indian Carnatic traditions. Gamak is one of Mahanthappa’s most exciting sessions, joining garrulous Indian themes (often unison melodies for the sax and vibrant new guitar recruit David Fiuczyski, a pairing forged in a Jack DeJohnette group) to Ornette Colemanesque laments that run on hip-hop grooves or crunching prog-rock riffs. There are also visits to a Lee Konitz-like jazz-sax balladry, and the occasional hint of the blues. Tautly mathematical, interlocking-pattern music alternates with a gentler lyricism on the opening Waiting Is Forbidden, and Fiuczyski sounds like everything from a Chinese violinist to a slide guitarist and occasionally even the UK’s Billy Jenkins; We’ll Make More sounds like a Tim Berne band, and on the outstanding Lots of Interest, the album’s vivid balance of postbop fluency, incandescent ensemble intensity and fierce guitar improv is most successfully struck. It’s an accomplished, imaginative and confident contemporary world-jazz set (TheGardian)


Rudresh Mahanthappa – alto saxophone
David Fiuczynski – electric guitar
François Moutin – acoustic bass
Dan Weiss – drums