TALK ABOUT SOMETHING DIFFERENT! FIND OUT ABOUT GAMAK FROM PETR CANCURA, PROGRAMMING MANAGER OF TD OTTAWA JAZZ FESTIVAL:
On the surface this is a standard jazz quartet: bass, drums, guitar and saxophone. If you dig a little deeper, however, you’ll notice that it’s quite an amazing line up of musicians:
Dan Weiss, who is a first call drummer in NYC that I have seen play with Donny McCasslin and ViJay Iyer
Rez Abassi, a guitarist who is on the brink of jazz stardom
Rich Brown, avirtuosic bassist from Toronto
And the man himself, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa
And if you dig even deeper, you will notice that these specific musicians have all embraced the study of Indian music as well as jazz.
Both of these traditions rely heavily on the art of improvising, but with a different vocabulary, phrasing and aesthetic.
Rudresh has truly found a way to combine these traditions in a cohesive and impressive way. The group’s name “Gamak” literally means ‘melodic ornamentation,’ something Rudresh has taken to heart on the saxophone. He has built his own sonic world with this concept.
One of the skills Rudresh has mastered is how to play microtones on the saxophone (imagine a piano, play any two notes that are right beside each other and then split them in half). He has also learned a lot of the Indian melodic tendencies and written pieces around them. Then he found musicians who not only share a passion in this kind of music, but are also highly skilled improvisers in the jazz idiom.
The result is absolute technical virtuosity, with the fun and excitement of jazz improvisation—a one of a kind group with a stamp of today’s “cultural fusion.” This is a very cool band!
Thursday June 26, 7 pm The Studio. For information and tickets: https://ottawajazzfestival.com/artists/rudresh-mahanthappas-gamak/
Petr Cancura is Programming Director of TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.