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June 2007

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Venue:
International House3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $12 General Admission
Sponsored by:
Friday, June 1, 2007 - 8:00pm

Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet

Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone
Vijay Iyer, piano
Francois Moutin, double-bass
Dan Weiss, drums

"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." -The New Yorker

Named a Rising Star of the alto saxophone by the Downbeat International Critics Poll lists for the past four years, Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians in jazz today. By incorporating the culture of his Indian ancestry, Rudresh has fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision. For this special event, Rudresh and his quartet will perfrom "Codebook", his suite of nine compositions. This new work draws on the influences of jazz, concepts of Indian music, modern classical harmony, mathematics, cryptography and esoteric studies.

As a performer, he has led five groups to critical acclaim. Rudresh's most recent release for Pi Recordings, Codebook, has already received excellent reviews from wired.com and Science Magazine and is already in the top 20 on US jazz radio charts. His previous quartet recording, Mother Tongue (Pi Recordings), received 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine and was named one of Top Ten Jazz CDs of 2004 by the Chicago Tribune, Jazztimes, Coda and All About Jazz. This CD reached #8 on US jazz radio charts and remained at #1 on Canadian jazz radio charts for over a month.

As a performer, Mahanthappa has achieved international recognition performing regularly at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. He has also worked as a sideman with such jazz luminaries as David Murray, Steve Coleman, Jack DeJohnette, Samir Chatterjee, Von Freeman, Tim Hagans, Fareed Haque, Vijay Iyer, Howard Levy, David Liebman, Greg Osby, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Mahanthappa holds a Bachelors of Music in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music and a Masters of Music in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University. He currently teaches at The New School University and lives in New York, where he is clearly regarded as an important and influential voice in the jazz world. Rudresh is a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in music composition.

F.A.B. Trio
Billy Bang, violin
Joe Fonda, double-bass
Barry Altschul, drums

Billy Bang (b. 1947) studied violin while growing up in New York's South Bronx. In the early 60's, he abandoned the violin for percussion, gravitating towards Afro-Cuban rhythms. Drafted into the Vietnam War, he had a political awakening and returned to America to throw himself into the anti-war movement. When he began to play music again in 1971, he experimented with saxophones, but came back to the violin, recognizing that this was where his technical facility lay. Bang reached international acclaim as an associate of the celebrated NYC Loft scene. In the early 1970s he formed the String Trio Of New York, and performed regularly with Sun Ra, Don Cherry, Marilyn Crispell and James Blood Ulmer, among many others. Like other musicians of his generation, Bang refuses categories, shifting from elegant, free jazz and austere art music to playing on Bootsy Collin's comeback album.

In the early 1970s Barry Altschul was the percussionist for the remarkable Circle - featuring Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Anthony Braxton - which was quite possibly the most technically adept free jazz ensemble ever. From his days with Circle to his more recent work as a leader of his own ensembles, Altschul has demonstrated a notable consistency, especially in the way he inevitably manages to generate an enormous momentum without overpowering the ensemble. Much of his power as a rhythm player stems from the subtlety of his touch; Altschul's sound is very tight and exceedingly well-defined. A strict attention to rhythmic and tonal detail has always characterized his approach. Altchul was largely self-taught until 1960, when he began study with Charlie Persip performing regularly with pianist Paul Bley. Their relationship continued intermittently through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1969, he studied with Sam Ulano. In 1972, under Holland's leadership, Altschul recorded the classic album Conference of the Birds (ECM Records), with Braxton and saxophonist Sam Rivers. Around this time, he also made records with Bley, bassist Alan Silva, and pianist Andrew Hill, among others. In the 1980s, Altschul made recordings as a leader for Soul Note and continued his sideman work with such musicians as the Russian-born pianist Simon Nabotov and Kenny Drew, Sr.

Bassist/composer Joe Fonda has performed with his ensembles throughout the United States and Europe, and as a sideman with Archie Shepp, Ken McIntyre, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron, Wadada Leo Smith, Perry Robinson, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, Mark Whitecage, Marion Brown and Bill Dixon. Fonda was the bassist with the renowned Anthony Braxton Sextet, Octet and Tentet, from 1984 through 1999. Fonda also sat on the Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999, and was the President from 1997 to 1999, of the newly formed Tri-Centric Foundation. He also performed with the 38-piece Tri-Centric Orchestra under the direction of Anthony Braxton, and was the bassist for the premiere performance of Anthony Braxton's opera, "Shalla Fears for the Poor", performed at the John Jay theater in New York City in October 1996. Fonda was also a member of The Creative Musicians Improvisers Forum directed by Leo Smith, and was the bassist with the American Tap Dance Orchestra in New York City, directed by world renowned tap dancer, Brenda Bufalino. In 1989, Fonda performed with Fred Ho's Jazz and Peking Opera in its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1982 to 1986 Fonda was the bassist and dancer with the Sonomama Dance Company. Currently, Fonda has been recording and touring extensively with the Fonda-Stevens Group and Conference Call featuring drummers Han Bennink and Matt Wilson, with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, and bassist Joe Fonda.