The Anthony H. P. Lee '79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University, Mahanthappa is a saxophonist/composer who hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music.
The Princeton University Jazz 'Ensemble X', under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish, will be performing works by artists such as Thelonious Monk, Joe Henderson, Chano Pozo, Wayne Shorter, Fletcher Henderson, Ornette Coleman, and Cole Porter. This ensemble evokes the small group tradition of the Art Blakey groups of the 50’s and 60's where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a septet with several featured trio performances.
About the Artist:
Few musicians share the ability of alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. The current manifestations of that trajectory include his latest project Bird Calls (2015), which was named #1 album of the year by both DownBeat and NPR Music’s Jazz Critics Poll. Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and numerous commissions. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year five of the past six years in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics Polls and for six years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association. In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world. In 2015, he was named a United States Artists Fellow. In 2016, he was named the Director of Jazz and the Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University.