Born: May 4, 1971 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Guggenheim fellow and 2009 Downbeat International Critics Poll Winner (“Rising Star-Jazz Artist” and “Rising Star-Alto Saxophone”) Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today.
Named Alto Saxophonist of the Year for 2009 by the Jazz Journalist Association, Rudresh has incorporated the culture of his Indian ancestry and has fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision. As a performer, he leads/co-leads seven groups to critical acclaim. His recent release for Pi Recordings Kinsmen featuring Carnatic saxophone legend Kadri Gopalnath (September 25, 2008) was named one of the Top Jazz CDs of 2008 by over 20 news sources including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, Boston Globe, slate.com, JazzTimes, and the Village Voice to name just a few. His previous quartet release for Pi release Codebook (September 26, 2006) was named one of the Top Jazz Albums of 2006 by The Village Voice, Jazztimes, and The Denver Post and received rave reviews from Downbeat, wired.com and Science Magazine. In Europe, Codebook received the esteemed “CHOC DE L'ANNÉE” (album of the year) for 2007 in France’s Jazzman, 4 stars in the UK’s Jazzwise, and received the “Bollino di Marzo” from Italy’s Musica Jazz. As a saxophonist, Mahanthappa has achieved international recognition performing regularly at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. As a composer, Rudresh has received commission grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts to develop new work. Mahanthappa holds a Bachelors of Music Degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music and a Masters of Music degree in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University. He now teaches at The New School University. Rudresh Mahanthappa currently lives in New York where he is clearly regarded as an important and influential voice in the jazz world. Rudresh K. Mahanthappa uses Vandoren reeds exclusively. Mahanthappa is also a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow....
Mahanthappa’s chops are practically unparalleled. . . making music unlike anything else in the city today. This kind of elevation and refinement is not simply a cut above the norm; it arguably redefines the norm. -- allaboutjazz.com
Mahanthappa creates a music that is at once technically brilliant yet musically cogent, harmonically adventurous yet expressively straightforward. Mahanthappa takes listeners into fascinating Eastern Idioms that are otherwise virtually unheard in jazz today. --Chicago Tribune
he has a significant role to play in jazz, not only as a composer, but as an articulator of the form. --allaboutjazz.com
Mahanthappa feels this music like lesser mortals feel 4/4 swing time. The language that is the real subject matter of Mother Tongue is that of acoustic jazz made in real time by real players. It’s spoken everywhere, but seldom with the degree of eloquence you’ll hear on this stunning CD. --Signal to Noise
This alto player has a tone like iron and charges from 0 to 80 in about four seconds. He has been making his name playing tough, rhythmically complicated, challenging music, more and more, by playing with his own group. (highly recommended concert) --The New York Times
Mahanthappa displays a visceral tone and a grab-you-by-the-collar attack that dares the listener to turn away. [A] talent to keep a steady eye on. --The New Yorker
some of the most distinctive sounds heard in jazz during the past few years. . .a gifted player [ with Jason Moran ] Two of the dynamic players to come along in recent years. . .Only a year ago it looked like these two were part of the scheme for where jazz was going; now it looks more like they represent where jazz is. --Gary Giddins
His solos ring with an almost religious fervor --Chicago Reader
fiery alto blowing . . . Mahanthappa comes out smoking at every opportunity. --Cadence
Compelling and fiercely individualistic... The vibrancy of his tone, the unflagging drive of his rhythms, the speed of his bebop-influenced passages, and the mercurial nature of his improvisational ideas establish Mahanthappa as a player with a great deal to say. --The Chicago Tribune
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.