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Before & After with Rudresh Mahanthappa

At the Barcelona Jazz Festival, the great alto saxophonist reflects on technique, culture and tradition

Rudresh Mahanthappa and Ashley Khan

Talking music with Rudresh Mahanthappa can be both fun and feisty-or, more accurately, it is fun because of the feistiness. Place that boisterous conversation in the sleekly modern interior of Monvinic, Barcelona’s leading wine-focused restaurant, during the height of that city’s world-class jazz festival (Oct. 29 to be exact) and one has the ingredients for a spirited and satisfying event on many levels.

Our Before & After session took place before a gathering of Catalan jazz fans in one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms. Mahanthappa had just arrived to play the penultimate date of a brief European tour with his quartet Samdhi. Later that evening, with guitarist David Gilmore, electric bassist Rich Brown and drummer Damion Reid, Mahanthappa performed a powerful set of new compositions flavored with echoes of 1970s fusion and modern-sounding effects and loops triggered on his laptop.

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