Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Named a Rising Star on the alto saxophone in ’03 and ’04 by the Down Beat International Critics Poll, Rudresh is hails from Denver. He received his Bachelors of Music Degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston and his Masters of Music Degree from DePual University in Chicago. After finishing at DePaul, Rudresh came to New York City in 1997. His presence was felt immediately. In a city renown for its competitive jazz scene, Rudresh’s performances with his trio and quartet, as well as his work with Vijay Iyer, his partner in musical advancement, has helped to put Rudresh at the forefront of the New York scene. He has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation as well the American Composers Forum, for music that resulted in the critically heralded Black Water.

His sound can be described as a cross between the rhythmic investigations of Steve Coleman and the introspective searching lyricism of John Coltrane. This alone though misses the larger picture of what makes Rudresh’s sound so personal as well as accessible. Rudresh’s tone cuts to the heart of the note. His inflections and use of quartertones add a vocal element that makes odd rhythmic groupings or unusual melodic choices sound natural. By incorporating the culture of his Indian ancestry, Rudresh has fused myriad influences to create a truly unique artistic vision.