REVIEW PAGE 9:
INDO-JAZZ

Prasant Radhakrishnan (2x)
Rudresh Mahanthappa (2x) (also with Indo-Pak Coalition)
T.K.Ramamoorthy
Debashish Bhattacharya (different page)

EM rec.    T.K.Ramamoorthy : "Jazz" (IND,1969,re.2011)****°
-'Fabulous Notes And Beats Of The Indian Carnatic'-

There are not really many Indian jazz albums. This is an Indo-Jazz album with a Carnatic raga starting point mixed with classic jazz. The composer, born in a musical family, has participated before in composing some South Indian film music scores, most noticeably the Tamil films 'Panam' and 'Moonrezhuthu”. The first track, “Gowla” sounds more jazz than Indian, with solos on trumpet with piano improvisation, while the rhythms on piano and drums follow both jazz and Carnatic raga mode. On “Ranjani” the rhythms are often more exotic, we hear also sax solos, rolling jazz drumming. “Begada”  has Indian flute solos, lots of rhythm changes, jazz piano mixed with Carnatic rhythms. “Mohana” mixes Latin and Carnatic rhythms perfectly, with some clarinet solo and jazz piano rhythm. “Udaya Ravi Chandrika” has a beautiful Indian flute improvisation. “Natta” has duets with piano improvisation, Nathaswaram (Indian clarinet) solos, India & jazz drum solos, improvisations holding the middle between both styles. “Byag” sounds more Indian again with solos on different Indian violin instruments like gotuvadyam, thar shenai, bul bul tara, and percussive instruments like ghatam, chandai, sudha madhalam and drums. These are improvisations with jazz flavours,but more in an Indian way. “Sahana” features veena, mridangam and ghatam, piano jazz rhythms. The last two tracks have electric guitar too, again mixing the different worlds of possibilities still in an Indian way. It is an album that will ak several listens because there is a lot of musical vision behind it to be discovered. It is especially the rhythm piano and rolling drums which delivered the jazz associations, elsewhere combinations, crossovers were shown as possible.

Audio on http://www.reggaerecord.com/...
label info : http://www.emrecords.net/records/00106.html
Description on http://fingersports.blogspot.com/2011/01/fabulous-notes-beats-of-indian-carnatic.html
Pi Rec.     Rudresh Mahanthappa : Kinsmen (US/IND,2008)****°
        featuring Kadri Gopalnath & The Dakshina Ensemble

New York based Rudesh K.Mahanthappa and Kadri Gopalnath both play saxophone and both have their roots, interpretation and investigations in South Indian Carnatic music. Both artists interpreted this idea in a totally different fashion and complexity. Gopalnath in his turn found a way to translate raga style for saxophone, while Rudesh, a fan from Gopalnath when he discovered his music in his college years, found a way for Western jazz to evolve itself into Indian standards. It is this interesting meeting point between both interpretations which create, in fact a very new interesting world of a new form of Indojazz(fusion) interpreted in saxophone duets, dialogues, long call and large responses of similar ideas or by completely melting and overdubbing their energies, now and then combined with Indian violin and a beautiful guitar sound by Rez Abassi (from whom I reviewed one album before), and of course South Indian percussion, on mridangam (the South Indian tabla with a slighter drigher sound), and additional New York Jazz type drumming. While Gopalnath’s saxophone alone has moments of melodic fantasies that recall some of the Ethiopean jazz series of subtle almost Middle Eastern singing saxophone interpretations, Mahanthappa’s styles is more straight and dry while understanding the Carnatic style as well, but differently. There are some surprising changes in style and spontaneous developments of new style. Different is for instance the smooth lukewarm cocktail-bar jazz fundament on “Rez-Alap” with a second more Indian typed style of jazz. “Snake!” for instance melts both sax playing like a new form of dance, as much a direction that could inspire to either something more Middle Eastern, klezmer or Indian if you wish. “Carlo-Alap” has a beautiful bass solo (Carlo de Rosa). “Katyani” has some interesting different sections playing with the influence of melody and then rhythm lead within one piece. Of course there’s much more to say and notice in detail. I just have to say this new Indojazz area provides something rather essential to check out.

Homepage : http://www.rudreshm.com/ & with audio : www.myspace.com/rudreshm 
http://www.myspace.com/dakshinaband
Label info with audio : http://www.pirecordings.com/album/pi28
Other reviews : http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=30378
& http://jazz.about.com/od/previews/fr/Kinsmen.htm
& http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=4798
& http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/2008/09/rudresh-mahanthappa-kinsmen-pi.html
& http://www.asiasociety.org/arts/kinsmen-svajanam/
& http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/65089-rudresh-mahanthappa-kinsmen/
& http://www.tremazul.com/loja/kinsmen
& http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0ifexztkld0e
& http://www.abstractlogix.com/xcart/product.php?productid=24023
& http://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/2008/10/rudresh-mahanthappa-kinsmen-pi.html
& http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE7DD153BF930A25753C1A96E9C8B63
Dutch review : http://www.bagatellen.com/?p=2228
Articles : http://asiasociety.org/pressroom/07_kinsmen.html & http://www.ejazznews.com/...
& http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/musical/2009/03/02/090302crmu_music_giddins
& http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE7DD153BF930A25753C1A96E9C8B63
& with audio : http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98818133

Rudresh also cooperated with Iraqi trumpetplayer Amir ElSaffar ;
see review on http://www.psychemusic.org/AmirElSaffar.html                 next->
Pi Rec.     Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition : Apti (US/IND,2008)****'
       -featuring Rez Abbasi & Dan Weiss-

It is as if this trio reinvents jazz and Indian music at the same time, this truly is a new blend. 5 tracks are indicated as being from Dan Weiss, three others by Rudresh Mahanthappa, in fact each musician has the same ability to play jazz improvisation, adapt the Indian ways of improvisation, and have enough sensibility to rhythmic evolutions (an Indian based quality). The instruments follow each other, combine themes and share improvisations, some themes are repeated a bit more like a rhythm so that another lead can take over. Even though a resonance guitar plays the last track, this still is played in a jazz style. The album hangs together well and is as if it was composed and thought out, for this length. Although American jazz and Indian music were combined more often, I have not yet heard such a blend like this, so this still is something new ! Recommended.

Homepage : http://www.rudreshm.com/ & with audio : www.myspace.com/rudreshm 
Label info : http://innova.mu/albums/rudresh-mahanthappa/apti
Article : http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111691298
Other reviews : http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=32994
& http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/70589-rudresh-mahanthappas-indo-pak-coalition-apti/
& http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/may/15/rudresh-mahanthappa-apti
& http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/2009/01/rudresh-mahanthappas-indo-pak-coalition.html
& http://jazztimes.com/articles/24433-apti-rudresh-mahanthappa-s-indo-pak-coalition
Lotus/Prasant Music   Prasant Radhakrishnan : East Facing (IND,2007)****
Lotus/Prasant Music     Prasant Radhakrishnan : Duality (IND,2004)****

I’d like to mention these albums of Prasant Radhakrishan which I need to listen to with more attention some other time. My first impression is that this is South Indian (Carnatic) traditional raga music led by saxophone. The result compared to any other instrument played for the style is much more a melodic mood/relaxedness but also rather safe mode of the music. This I think works especially meditatively when no percussion elements are added, in duet with violin, like on some track on 'Duality'. On the other album the total group sound is presented more with a bit more full sound. It is a matter of taste what to prefer, but when taken out of the context hearing the sax playing raga’s really solo I notice more of its subtleness, in the very varied movements in melody to be comparable to the 70s Ethiopian sax solos of Gétatchèw Mékurya for instance.

-At many stages in history the treatment of melodies was just about music, not belonging to any specific group. The same could be said about the whole mixture of culture and even religion, while at some stage some claimed to be the owner of this or something and others wanted to sound different losing the universality of things under the name of culture.
This sort of playing on sax recalls to me the heritage of Indian as well as Middle Eastern and Ethiopian ways of treating melody that it was a way to do so common or at least useful on most places in the world. Today western vision on melody still is monotone but it compensated well in incredible clever ways how to go creatively beyond that mono-melodic fact.-

Homepage : http://www.prasantmusic.com/
with audio : http://www.ilike.com/artist/Prasant+Radhakrishnan
Info & audio : http://www.myspace.com/prasantmusic
Audio 'East Facing' : "Varnam" & on http://cdbaby.com/cd/prasant3 & on http://payplay.fm/prasant3
& 'Duality' : http://www.prasantmusic.com/duality.html & http://cdbaby.com/cd/prasant2
& http://www.raaga.com/channels/carnatic/moviedetail.asp?mid=CL00175
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