2017 FORT ADAMS LINEUP
FRIDAY AUGUST 3, 2018
Rudresh Mahanthappa Indo-Pak Coalition
Hailed by Pitchfork as “jaw-dropping, one of the finest saxophonists going,” alto saxophonist,
composer and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz
of the 21st century. He has over a dozen albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Bird Calls,
which topped many critics’ best-of-year lists for 2015 and was hailed by PopMatters as “complex,
rhythmically vital, free in spirit while still criss-crossed with mutating structures.” Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for six of seven years running in Downbeat Magazine’s
International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2017), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz
Journalists’ Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the
2016 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Poll and was named the Village Voice’s “Best Jazz Artist” in 2015.
He has also received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award,
among other honors, and is currently the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz at Princeton
With an astonishing facility and power on the horn, and an inspired array of ensembles he’s led or
played in since his emergence in the late ’90s-early ’00s, Mahanthappa continues to create music
alive with rhythmic urgency, steeped in the lineage of jazz saxophone and responsive to traditions
and practices of the wider musical world.
Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado
and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at
North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to
settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring
pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother
Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa’s inventive methodologies and deeply
personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.
Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents’ native southern India,
Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for
Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (with
Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima
followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio’s sonic ambitions.
Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O’Farrill’s
Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity
with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart
Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar-driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David
Gilmore and Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance
to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also
commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, “I Will Not Apologize
for My Tone Tonight,” which can be heard on the quartet’s 2015 double-disc release Heritage/
Evolution, Volume 1.