...and his Indo Pak Coalition
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rez Abbasi
Dan Weiss
Catalog Number: 

New York, NY

Release Date: 
Nov 25, 2008
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
AptiiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Looking Out, Looking In02:55$0.99
3.Vandanaa Trayee08:32$0.99
5.Palika Market09:26$0.99
8.You Talk Too Much05:53$0.99
One Sheet: 

Apti, the groundbreaking debut album of Indian-American alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition, clearly blazes new trails into the future of jazz in the 21st Century. Synthesizing jazz with the astutely improvised musical forms of South Asia, this trio with guitar virtuoso Rez Abbasi and tabla star Dan Weiss is turning heads internationally in both the jazz and world music scenes. While most attempts to engage jazz and South Asian music often feel incoherent, with musicians from neither side able to comfortably bridge the musical divide, the music on Apti clearly transcends any previous notion of 'Indo-Jazz fusion'. In melding Indian concepts of melody and rhythm with his inventive style as a jazz composer and improviser, Mahanthappa has masterfully provided a compositional context that has brought out spectacular interplay within the ensemble. Apti is a major achievement in cross-cultural musical creativity and a landmark contribution to modern music that bears no precedent. 

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Alto saxophone
Rez Abbasi - Guitar / Sitar-guitar
Dan Weiss - Tabla 


"Rudresh Mahanthappa is boldly breaking some exciting new ground while going all the way back to his Indian roots."

"Mahanthappa creates a music that is at once technically brilliant yet musically cogent, harmonically adventurous yet expressively straightforward. He takes listeners into fascinating Eastern Idioms that are otherwise virtually unheard in jazz today."

"Mahanthappa displays a visceral tone and a grab-you-by-the-collar attack that dares the listener to turn away. A talent to keep a steady eye on."

"This alto player has a tone like iron and charges from 0 to 80 in about four seconds."

"Mahanthappa's chops are practically unparalleled, making music unlike anything else in the city today. This kind of elevation and refinement is not simply a cut above the norm; it arguably redefines the norm."

"Definitely one of the strongest voices on the jazz scene."

"Indo-Pak Coalition, a trio equally grounded in folk tradition and jazz improvisation, proposes a social pact as well a musical ideal. The group’s name is partly self-descriptive — the alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa is of Indian descent, while the guitarist Rez Abbasi was born in Pakistan — but it also carries an underlying message made all the more painfully relevant by events like the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
     "Of course it might feel naïve or presumptuous for any musician to propose answers to such entrenched and complicated problems. That could be one reason politics never came up once during Indo-Pak Coalition’s performance on Tuesday night at Le Poisson Rouge. As the leader and spokesman, Mr. Mahanthappa kept his tone cordial, entrusting the music to make its own case for deeper accord.
     "Indo-Pak Coalition has a rewarding new album, Apti (Innova), featuring Mr. Mahanthappa’s compositions. Here the group opened with 'IIT,' one of several pieces involving a dartlike melody over a rhythmic drone. Mr. Mahanthappa packed his solo with jagged yet fluent phrases, and Mr. Abbasi assumed a central role, dexterously shifting from single notes to arpeggios to full-voiced chords.
     "Mr. Mahanthappa and Mr. Abbasi both grew up in the United States, as did the group’s tabla player, Dan Weiss. To a considerable extent they all approach the music of the subcontinent as self-conscious outsiders.
     "The set’s centerpiece was something called 'Looking Out, Looking In,' and it bore DNA traces of the great Indian jazz-fusion group Shakti. But elsewhere pains were taken to avoid old hybrids. The most jazzlike harmonic sequence arrived in Mr. Mahanthappa’s version of 'Vandanaa Trayee,' by Ravi Shankar.
     "Indo-Pak Coalition isn’t the only such endeavor for these musicians: Mr. Mahanthappa made one of the year’s best jazz albums with a looser group called Kinsmen, and Mr. Weiss recently released an adaptation of tabla repertory for drum set. This weekend Mr. Abbasi will introduce a group he calls R.O.C. — the letters wonkishly stand for Realities of Chromaticism — featuring his Indo-Pak colleagues, among others.
     "What distinguishes this group is its intimate scale, along with the equilateral bond of its members. Well before their closer, a fast-chattering tune called 'You Talk Too Much,' the musicians had illustrated the sturdy elasticity of their alliance."
Nate Chinen

"By far one of the most exciting jazz groups to come to the Albright-Knox Art of Jazz series in the past couple of years was the group of Indo-American jazz pianist Vijay Iyer with alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa.
     "Everything Mahanthappa is now doing to combine classical Indian music with the more avant precincts of jazz is absolutely arresting. While this new disc isn’t quite a match for his tremendous last disc, Kinsmen, it combines classical Indian music and jazz so naturally and without strain that it is completely irresistible.
     "What he has done here is given us the kind of trio we first heard in the West on Ravi Shankar records. But instead of the droning tamboura on Shankar records, he and guitarist/ sitarist Rez Abassi trade roles as soloist as well as play rich and complex counterpoint. Dan Weiss is the tabla drummer.
     "Mahanthappa’s trio even plays one Shankar composition here: 'Vandanaa Trayee.'
     "The leader’s fiery brilliance and precision as an alto saxophonist is the center of the trio, but the power of it is in the genuine seamless 'coalition' of musics people have been combining more tentatively for 40 years (most famously, of course, John Coltrane). Not until we had a genuine group of Indo-American master jazz players has this music been possible.
     "Mahanthappa says that he tried a version of this Coalition in Chicago in 1996, but he was never satisfied with the resultant music — not until now. And so he should be. He is one of the most electrifying players and adventurers in current jazz."
Jeff Simon


"Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa has recently released two recordings in which he successfully strives to synthesize his musical jazz roots and his cultural Indian heritage. He grew up in Boulder Colorado, the son of Indian immigrants, but did not develop his affinity for classical Indian music until college.
     "Of the two releases here, only the leader and guitarist Rez Abassi appear on both. Kinsmenspotlights Indian classical musician Kadri Gopalnath, also on alto sax, plus violin, bass, percussion and drums. Many of the compositions flow into one another, with several solo segments ('alaps') leading into the ensemble performances. The result is an album which transports the raga into an East/West blend of virtuosity.
     "On Apti, Mahanthappa and Abassi (who also plays sitar-guitar here) are joined by tabla player Dan Weiss. In this stripped-down format, both sax and guitar are given more solo space, with the melodic percussiveness of the tabla frequently functioning as both 'bass' and drums. To my ears, this CD has more of an overt jazz flavor than Kinsmen.
     "The fusion of jazz and Indian concepts is not new, of course; John McLaughlin's various incarnations of Shakti come immediately to mind, as does Charles Lloyd's 2005 release, Sangam. Mahanthappa's skills at both composition and performance catapult him into this company, and augur well for his future."
Martin Z. Kasdan Jr

Recommended new listening for February 2009.

"It is becoming exhausting to keep up with the flowering career of Rudresh Mahanthappa, an American alto saxophonist.  As a trio, this group is less about texture and more about the individual players and the interaction of their individual lines. As a result, each choice made by the players from moment to moment subtly alters the balance being struck by the music. Mahanthappa’s compositions wed the precision and intricacy of Indian music with the harmonic form and structure of jazz. The written themes pop and dance like they were melodies from old Blue Note albums—with stops and starts and plenty of excitement—but often using the signature phrasing of Indian music in the process. When Mahanthappa solos on 'Apti,' he sounds like Jackie McLean as as often as he does like Gopalnath."
—Will Layman

"Rudresh Mahanthappa's stock has been rising fast around the world; this is the recorded debut of the Indian-American alto saxophonist's Indo-Pak Coalition, a trio featuring guitarist Rez Abbasi and tabla virtuoso Dan Weiss. Mahanthappa - with his woody, nasal upper tone, elusive pitching, sumptuous low sound and astonishing high-speed fluency - is a young giant of idiomatically dazzling 21st-century jazz ... The episodic, blurted, wriggling 'IIT' and the breathless 'You Talk Too Much' are jaw-droppingly treacherous twisters that exude an irresistible urgency."
—John Fordham

"Mahanthappa's horn sound is one of the more recognizable in jazz. On his work with Iyer, and on Codebook and Mother Tongue, it had a stinging-insect-trapped-under-a-glass intensity, full of joyfully furious, devil-may-care forward momentum."
—Dan McClenaghan

Alto Saxophonist of the Year, 2009

"Apti takes Indo-Pak-jazz-fusion onto very personal turf in ways that are exhilarating and filled with musical abundance. It is awe-inspiring music."
—Greg Edwards

"It's a delight to hear how the Indo-Pak Coaltion keep their focus on the music itself, on the interplay. The sheer musicianship makes this already a really enjoyable album, the quality of the music lifts it a level higher."

"[T]his trio reinvents jazz and Indian music at the same time; this truly is a new blend." [FULL ARTICLE]
Gerald Van Waes