Exploring his eastern Indian roots is nothing new for alto saxophone firebrand Rudresh Mahanthappa, but on Apti, he takes it to a much higher level. With tabla player Dan Weiss and electric guitarist Rez Abbasi, Mahanthappa has leavened his usual all-out approach, taking to heart a refined synergy and latent power of merging improvisation with a modern raga style. It's that juxtaposition of raw groove with stream-of-consciousness concepts, as during the concentrated counterpoint of "IIT" or Ravi Shankar's more elegant "Vandanaa Trayee," that provides contrast within these musical vistas. A strong, unique, and palatable mix of cultural metaphors, the Indo-Pak Coalition make music everlasting, with plenty of room to do even more.
by Michael G. Nastos