Mahanthappa quartet plans to blow Vancouver Jazz Fest ‘wide open’

Published: June 16, 2014

Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto sax, and Jack De Johnette of the Jack De Johnette Group perform at Place des Arts’ Jean Duceppe theatre as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in July 2010. John Kenney/THE Montreal GAZETTE files


Arriving in New York in 1997, Indian-American saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa quickly gained a reputation as a player of gargantuan talent.

His 1997 bandleader debut, Yatra, began a career that spans over a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including 2013’s Gamak (Act & Vision).

This quartet of Mahanthappa’s is made up of guitarist David Fiuczynski and longtime partners drummer Dan Weiss and bassist François Moutin.

“Gamak, or gamakam, is the unique note ornamentation used in Indian classical music,” says Mahanthappa. “I started thinking about how melodic ornamentation occurs in music globally, giving everything from Indonesian gamelan to Beyoncé a humanizing aspect and how to blow the thing wide open.”

Gamak ranges from country to swing to tunes the musician says are similar to heavy metallists Meshuggah. All meant to explore how the average music lover of today hears sound as part of a fast-moving global citizenry.

“Gamak’s music is symptomatic of my own attempts to understand myself in the context of this fast-moving global listenership and its wide-ranging tastes,” says Mahanthappa.



Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak, Performance Works, Granville Island, Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; $35 at

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