Consistently heralded by critics as one of the most original composers in his field, altoist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s prolific contributions to contemporary jazz have earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions to create new work from the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum, and a win in the 2011 Downbeat international Critics Poll. His rare ability to synthesize South Indian music concepts with a seemingly boundless range of unexpected influences frequently characterizes him as one of the most important artists in the music today — a distinction the Jazz Journalists Association recently echoed by naming him Alto Saxophonist of the Year three consecutive times from 2009-2011.
But accolades aside, it’s what the New Yorker has called Rudresh’s “visceral tone and grab-you-by-the-collar attack” that’s driven new, international audiences to each of the seven projects he currently leads or co-leads. His critically acclaimed 2010 release, Apex (Pi), with alto saxophone legend Bunky Green, featuring Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette, was widely lauded as one of the year’s best recordings, as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the Boston Globe, JazzTimes and other publications hailed the rhythmic dynamism and exuberant ensemble interaction sparked by the group both on stage and on the record. The material Rudresh recorded in 2008 with Carnatic sax guru Kadri Gopalnath for their Kinsmen, (Pi) project displayed a wholly different concept — executed with equally breath-taking chops. And since the 2009 release of Apti, the tabla and guitar-studded Indo-Pak Coalition has provided a more playful take on Mahanthappa’s symbiosis between the music of his ancestors and the jazz he grew up listening to in Colorado.
Though the formats vary widely, Rudresh’s purpose shines through them all. In both his composition and his playing, he seeks to explore new musical territory and, in Rudresh’s words, “to address what it is to be Indian-American by digesting Indian music on my own terms.” By meticulously searching for a new swath of musical possibilities, Rudresh casts a wide net, incorporating inspiration from the gamut of his experience — from his days as an undergrad at Berklee to his studies in DePaul University’s Jazz Composition Masters program to his professional work with artists in North America, Europe, India, and beyond.
DownBeat Critics Poll
Pi Recordings, Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang have been voted voted #4 Label and #3 Rising Star Producers in DownBeat’s 60th Annual Critics Poll.
Congratulations also goes out to Vijay Iyer for his record setting five #1 category showings; Artist, Album, Group, Piano and Rising Star Composer and to Rudresh Mahanthappa for his #1 Alto of the year showing.
DownBeat’s Critics Poll
DownBeat’s Critics Poll Winners have been released and there is much to celebrate. We are very pleased to congratulate Rudresh Mahanthappa for being voted top Alto Saxophonist. Apex is in the top 5 Jazz Albums of the Year at #4. Other categories where Pi Recordings’ artists were recognized by the critics:
Jazz Artist -
Vijay Iyer, Henry Threadgill & Rudresh Mahanthappa Piano -
Vijay Iyer Rising Star Jazz Artist -
Rudresh Mahanthappa & Vijay Iyer Composer -
Henry Threadgill & Vijay Iyer Rising Star Piano -
Vijay Iyer Alto Saxophone -
Henry Threadgill , Bunky Green & Steve Coleman Jazz Group -
Henry Threadgill Zooid Flute -
Henry Threadgill Guitar -
Marc Ribot Rising Star Guitar -
Liberty Ellman Rising Star Composer -
Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman & Rudresh Mahanthappa Record Label -
We are pleased to announce that we have added 4 items to our store for the holiday season:
Check out the recent Bunky Green interview with Patrick Jarenwattananon @ NPR:
Part I & Part II
Shaun Brady of JazzTimes writes a review on
Apex. Read the review HERE
Ben Ratliff of
The New York Times wrote a fantastic review of Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex premier show at the Jazz Standard in NYC. The band is in the studio today and tomorrow recording for Pi Recordings. Look for the release, featuring Jason Moran and Jack DeJohnette, in the fall.
Pi Recordings is proud to announce our presence in Downbeat Magazine’s 74th Annual Readers Poll.
Some highlights from the poll:
Rudresh Mahanthappa was voted into the Alto Saxophone category and was also acknowledged for his release
Kinsman for Album of the Year.
Multi-Instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell was voted in this year’s poll for the Soprano Saxophone category.
Last, but not least:
Pi Recordings was voted into the Record Label of the Year category!
Thank you to all the Downbeat readers who voted, and thank you to all of our devoted Pi fans who let their voices be heard!
Pi Recordings is very pleased to announce that at last night’s
Jazz Journalists Association awards presentation, Rudresh Mahanthappa was named Alto Saxophonist of the Year. This is the first time that Rudresh has been given this honor, but we think, probably not the last. We would like to congratulate Rudresh and thank all of the journalists who voted for him.
We are so pleased to let everyone know that the new issue of the
New Yorker features an article by on Gary Giddins Rudresh Mahanthappa’s two new recordings Kinsmen and Apti. Without question Giddins is one of the top voices writing about music today and this article is one of the best that we have read on Rudresh, his music and in particular his collaboration with Kadri Gopalnath. Giddins writes: “Kinsmen is a momentous achievement that will be around for a long time to come.” Please read it and enjoy.
All Things Considered has just run a profile of Rudresh by Howard Mandel. The piece discusses Kinsmen and interviews Rudresh and Rez Abbasi. It also covers the South Asian presence in jazz and its development over the years. It can be heard HERE.
Further, Will Hermes of
Rolling Stone has listed Kinsmen in his Top Albums and Singles of 20008 along with Fleet Foxes, TV on the Radio, Santogold and Vampire Weekend.
Kinsmen continues to show up on year end lists. This week alone it has appeared on Ben Ratliff’s New York Times 2008 Top 10 at #4, NPR’s Take 5 Top 5 Jazz CDs of 2008 at #2 and Slate.com Top 10 Jazz albums of 2008 at #4.
Earlier mentions this season include
Pop Matters, All Music Guide, The Boston Globe and The Boston Phoenix.
Jazz Times writer Mike Shanley attended the premier of Rudresh’s Guggenheim supported new work
Samdhi: Diasporic Connection in Pittsburgh. Jazz Times has posted a review of it recently. The review and interview with Rudresh that preceded the performance give a nice preview of what looks to be a major new work from Rudresh. Shanley says of the music “… new music of this caliber hasnt been attempted before. Granted, Kinsmen, Mahanthappas latest album, set the course. But while that album featured him sharing space with Indian saxophonist Kadri Golpalnath, the Pittsburgh performance put all the emphasis on Mahanthappa the bandleader and composer.” Providing a sneak peak to those who were not able to attend the performance he describes a section of the music as follows “…Mahanthappa began a duet with his laptop, blowing notes that immediately played back at him, creating a harmony that gradually became dissonant and grew in sound until eventually the laptop sounded like a chorus of Indian vocalists singing over a programmed beat. “
We look forward to hearing more about Samdhi soon.
A great review of Rudresh’s
Kinsmen was published in today. Written by Ben Ratliff, the review opens with the high praise of “Theres no groove Ive heard quite like the one on Ganesha…, moves on to call the music “… really something…” and describes Rudresh as ” (having) internalized Charlie Parkers ballad tone, and some of his hustling phrasing and his harmonic ideas from post-Coltrane saxophonists like Michael Brecker and Steve Coleman.” It’s always nice to be appreciated by your home town paper. It’s a little special when it’s the New York Times. The New York Times
The Year End Lists are in and we would like to thank the following critics for their support of our releases this year;
Alex Dutilh for including Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell’s Streaming and Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Codebook in his year end list and Stuart Broomer and Philip DiPietro for including Steve Lehman’s On Meaning in their year end lists.
Additionally, we would like to thank those critics whose votes helped Muhal Richard Abrams
Vision Towards Essence to be included on the Village Voice 2007 Jazz Poll and those whose votes helped Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers to be recognized among the Best Debut Albums of 2007.
The end of the year is fun for any number of reasons, but it is especially fun for us as it gives us a moment to find out who really enjoyed our output for the year.
At the top of our list this year has to be Derk Richardson. His declaration that Muhal Richard Abrams
Vision Towards Essence is the Solo Piano release of the year, in the , is no small step towards making this our best year yet. San Francisco Gate
Not to be outdone though, Siddhartha Mitter listed Amir ElSaffar’s
Two Rivers in his 2007 best of list in The alongside M.I.A. and Bettye LaVette. Not bad. Boston Globe
We never get tired of support from the
New York Times, especially when it is as positive as Nate Chinen’s review of Steve Lehman’s On Meaning. From the most recent Critic’s Choice column Nate describes the results of the recording date as “The layered complexity of his music attests to some careful calibration, but the playing reflects something else: a spirit of lunging abandon constrained by collective purpose.” Regarding other label favorites, “The album’s chief relationship is between Mr. Lehman and Tyshawn Sorey, an impulsive yet exacting drummer; together they make up two-thirds of Fieldwork, a separate group that has made a science of rhythmic convolution.” Further wets our appetite for 2008, as Fieldwork goes into the studio this Friday to start work on their third recording.
the pages of , Chris Kelsey’s review of Amir ElSaffar’s Jazz Times Two Rivers appropriately sums up Amir and the recording with these lines, “ElSaffar’s band (Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto sax; Nasheet Waits, drums; Carlo DeRosa, bass; Tareq Abboushi, buzuq and percussion; Zaafer Tawil, oud, violin, dumbek) has nary a weak link… There’s not the faintest hint of dabbling here; ElSaffar knows from whence he came, in every respect.”