The Anthony H. P. Lee '79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University, Mahanthappa is an award winning alto saxophonist/composer who is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century.
Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk, Pat Metheny, Vijay Iyer, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, and more.
Rudresh Mahanthappa, Director
Anson Jones ’21, Voice
Evan DeTurk ’23, Alto Saxophone
John “Jack” Johnson ’23, Tenor Saxophone
Maya Keren ’22, Piano
Jeffrey Gordon ’22, Guitar
Akiva Jacobs ’22, Bass
Maya Stepansky ’22, Drums
Selections to be announced from the stage.
Rudresh Mahanthappa - Alto Saxophone
François Moutin - Acoustic Bass
Rudy Royston - Drums
Students in Jazz Small Group I perform their first live performance since the start of the pandemic joined by Rudresh Mahanthappa's Hero Trio with François Moutin on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. GET FREE TICKETS>
In accordance with university policy at this time: all concert attendees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear a mask whenever indoors. We are unable to allow entry to unvaccinated children. The program will be performed without an intermission.
Free tickets are required to attend.
JAZZ AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY serves to promote this uniquely American music as a contemporary and relevant art form. Its goals are to convey the vast musical and social history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and emphasize the development of individual expression and creativity. Offerings of this program include academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, private study, and independent projects. Jazz at Princeton University thanks you for joining them on this evening’s journey of beauty, exploration, discovery, and hope.
About the Artist:
PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Rudresh Mahanthappa
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.” His most recent release, Hero Trio, was considered to be one of the best jazz albums of 2020 by critics and fans alike. Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for nine of the last eleven years running in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2018, 2020-1), 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 2015-2018 & 2020 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Polls 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 University.
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. In 2020, Rudresh released Hero Trio, an album of “covers” paying tribute to his musical heroes. He also co-led a project celebrating the centenary of Charlie Parker with the blessing of the Parker estate.
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 doubledisc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1.
Rudy Royston has been a professional teacher, drummer, and percussionist for almost twenty years. He studied classical percussion at University of Denver where he earned undergraduate degrees in Music and English. He also earned his teacher certification credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Royston grew up playing drums in church, and found his voice while studying with Colorado’s celebrated trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Royston deems his greatest influence, and with whom he has played since 1991. He has taught, recorded, and performed all styles of music from jazz to marching percussion.
Since moving to Piscataway, New Jersey in 2006, Mr. Royston has completed a Masters in Music degree from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and has quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.
Francois Moutin was born in Paris. At age five, Francois began studying guitar, then piano by age 11. Also studying mathematics and physics, Francois received a college degree in engineering and earned a doctorate in physics at the age of 24, before he elected to become a professional musician. As a member of the legendary Martial Solal’s Trio, Francois was recognized as one of the finest young bass players in Europe. At 29, he began co-leading the Quintet Moutin with his twin brother Louis, a top echelon Jazz drummer. This project has evolved into the Moutin Reunion Quartet. With this band, the brothers have toured extensively around Europe and the U.S. The third album of the Moutin Reunion Quartet Something Like Now (after Power Tree and Red Moon), was released in September 2005.
In November 1997, Francois moved his base to New York where he has found steady work in live performance and studio sessions with the premier artists on the New York Jazz Scene. A partial list of their names reads like the yellow pages of Jazz: Franck Wess, Jimmy Heath, Monty Alexander, Benny Powell, Don Alias, Mike Stern, Lew Soloff, Steve Kuhn, Joe Locke, Billy Hart, Jeff Tain Watts, Victor Lewis, Billy Drummond, Richie Beirach, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Harry Belafonte, Odean Pope, James Hurt, Ari Hoenig, Jean-Michel Pilc, Rick Margitza, Franck Kimbrough, Joel Frahm, Greg Tardy, Gene Jackson, Dave Binney, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, Adam Rogers, David Gilmore, Ben Monder, John Hart, Billy Drews, Jamie Haddad, Steve Hass Bob James… Francois has also recorded and performed with Arab Music star Simon Shaheen. He is a familiar presence on the stages of such establishments as Jazz Standard, Birdland, Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Lincoln Center, and The Town Hall, has also appeared in some major Jazz Festivals around the country like Newport JVC Jazz Festival, Freihoffer Jazz Festival in Saratoga Spring, Detroit Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and San Francisco Jazz.