The dazzlingly inventive composer and alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa delves deep into the hybridization of progressive jazz and South Indian classical.

Taking its name taken from the South Indian term for melodic ornamentation “gamaka” and featuring longtime musical partners Rez Abbasi, Rich Brown, and, Dan Weiss, this quartet exemplifies Mahanthappa’s matchless ability to embody the expansive possibilities of blending his music with his culture. He combines progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form reflecting his own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. Just as his personal experience is never wholly lived on one side of the hyphenate or the other, his music speaks in a voice dedicated to forging a brave new path forward. With Gamak, Mahanthappa’s fearless explorations conjure a polyphonic landscape that manages to incorporate Western forms of jazz, progressive rock, heavy metal, country, American folk, go-go, and ambient while simultaneously engaging the rich traditions of Indian, Chinese, African, and Indonesian music. The end result is music that defies category, music that very much fits with the times in which we live.

“An itchy, ambitious, often molten mosaic of styles and cultures.”
Britt Robson, JazzTimes


Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation,” Mahanthappa has been awarded a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year in Downbeat’s International Critics Polls, Jazztimes’ Critics Polls and by the Jazz Journalists’ Association numerous times.

“To observe that Mahanthappa fused the incantatory phrase-making and exotic scales of Indian music with the free-wheeling improvisational spirit of American jazz would be an understatement. He’s so thoroughly immersed in both worlds that he conjured up a startlingly original merger of the two.”
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune