Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls | Album Review

By Cormac Larkin
March 4, 2015
 

Charlie Parker continues to cast a long shadow, particularly on alto saxophonists, and tributes to “Bird” are not exactly thin on the ground, but Rudresh Mahanthappa’s latest release is less of a tribute and more of a progress report.

Rather than regurgitate be-bop, or attempt to simulate Parker’s brand of melodic invention, the highly-regarded Asian-American saxophonist offers a visceral set of his own compositions that, while referencing certain Parker melodies, embrace the future as much as the past.

A high-powered group, that includes trumpeter Adam O’Farrill and pianist Matt Mitchell, rises admirably to the challenge, none more so than the leader who is rapidly becoming a leading exponent of the tradition to which Parker gave so much impetus.