Apex

Apex

by Rudresh Mahanthappa
     
 

This collaborative album between two alto saxophonists of different generations but similar character is a fascinating if somewhat overlong (77-plus minutes!) encounter that demonstrates the power of what's known as the "inside-outside" approach to jazz. Mahanthappa, the younger of the two men, is known for his fusions of post-bop…  See more details below

Overview

This collaborative album between two alto saxophonists of different generations but similar character is a fascinating if somewhat overlong (77-plus minutes!) encounter that demonstrates the power of what's known as the "inside-outside" approach to jazz. Mahanthappa, the younger of the two men, is known for his fusions of post-bop saxophone with classical Indian music -- indeed, on his 2004 release Mother Tongue, he took it one step further, and performed compositions based on the tonalities of people speaking various Indian languages. If this sounds like a hyper-cerebral exercise, something almost Braxtonian in its capacity to alienate casual listeners, well then Apex is the ideal counter. A hard-swinging disc that pairs Mahanthappa with Bunky Green, a 1960s player whose best-received work emerged in the late '70s, Apex finds the two hornmen backed by a powerhouse all-star band including newly minted MacArthur fellow Jason Moran on piano, bassist François Moutin, and drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette switching off. Everyone gets spotlight time, Mahanthappa and Green play distinctively enough that each is identifiable despite the fact that they're both on alto, and the music maintains an adventurous but grooving hard bop feel. A concise 40- to 45-minute running time might have been more enticing to non-diehards, but while the 15-minute album closer may seem particularly intimidating, it's actually two pieces, the nine-minute "The Journey" and then a five-minute sax-drums duet to bring things to a gentle close.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Ben Ratliff
Born 36 years apart, the saxophonists Mr. Mahanthappa and the elder Mr. Green, an educator as well as a player, come from different corners of improvised jazz. They found their way to each other circuitously, and it seems as if they were meant to put a band together, sharing their rapid, searching, wide-interval saxophone language.
All About Jazz - Mark Turner
Apex is an alto sax summit of huge proportions -- a prodigious work of collaboration and stirring performances.... The music here is [a] no-holds-barred outing between seminal artists.... One of the most enjoyable recordings of 2010.
Pittsburgh Tribune - Bob Karlovits
Apex shows clearly what an ageless art jazz can be. Rudresh Mahanthappa is pressing 40 and Bunky Green is 75, but they are able to take their alto saxophones in a wide range of directions...The two sax players offer virtuosic play that is demanding in its speed and convincing in is conception.
The Guardian - John Fordham
Much of this vigorous set is full-on, restlessly rhythm-shuffling postbop, bristling with intricate themes.... A scintillating encounter.
Time Out Chicago - Arief Sless-Kitain
Snaking, swinging woodwinds echo one another on the gripping "Summit," while raga themes run rampant throughout the animated syncopation of "Playing with Stones." Mahanthappa is a force, blowing with ferocious power, clarity and creativity.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2010
Label:
Pi Recordings
UPC:
0808713003529
catalogNumber:
35
Rank:
107245

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