With similar roots in southern India and a common fascination with both jazz and classical Indian music, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Kadri Gopalnath, both alto sax masters, are sufficiently different to ensure their scintillating collaboration is a true East-West summit. Born in Italy, raised in Colorado, Mahanthappa, repeatedly named a rising star by Down Beat's critics poll, is active in more than a half-dozen groups, playing a scorching variety of rapid-fire bop, increasingly incorporating influences from his Indian heritage. A generation older, Gopalnath is a highly popular musical icon in South India, where he adapted the decidedly nontraditional sax to the ancient, culturally suffused Carnatic music of the region. Kinsman/Svajanam, the saxophonists' joint project, is a gloriously innovative suite commissioned by the Asia Society. A brief sampling reveals an intricate weaving of hard bop and Indian elements that's overflowing with cerebral motifs as well as a purely visceral onslaught of raging firepower. The duo will be accompanied by the Dakshina Ensemble, featuring violinist A. Kanyakumari, guitarist Rez Abbasi, bassist Carlo de Rosa, drummer royal hartigan, and Poovalur Sriji on mridangam (a Carnatic drum).
Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m., 2007