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Rudresh Mahanthappa - Hero Trio

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Hero Trio

Rudresh Mahanthappa

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Ask jazz nonbelievers why they can't relate and what usually comes back is some variation of: it's too cerebral, it has no sense of humor, it doesn't make me smile. Happily, even the most fervent of the jazz fearful needn't run from Hero Trio. After 15 consistently artful and ambitious albums most often recorded with small groups (including Bird Calls, his 2015 heartfelt tribute to chief influence Charlie Parker), savvy alto sax star Rudresh Mahanthappa steps into the role of jazz superhero with a sprightly all-covers set that's a perfect panacea for these serious times.

For those who can relate to jazz, one happy constant is that most players care about how their recordings sound. Engineer David Amlen captures a great balance between the instruments and mix engineer Liberty Ellman crafts a great presence in the final product. Liberated by the choice of material, the alto player and his longtime trio mates, double bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston, all reach for new insight and acuity. Like all truly memorable horn players, Mahanthappa has an instantly recognizable tone and here he wields it with his usual fire and invention, effortlessly gliding between sharp, tightly packed statements to more relaxed lyrical passages and bouncy, funky cuts where again, he is clearly enjoying himself. Nodding again towards Parker who remains a constant presence and infinite wellspring of inspiration in his playing, Hero Trio opens and closes with a pair of impassioned Parker covers, "Red Cross," and "Dewey Square," respectively. An original mashup of Charlie Parker's "Barbados" and John Coltrane's "26-2" (which borrows chord progressions from Parker's "Confirmation") works beautifully. A reflective if not sorrowing mood hovers over Mahanthappa's rumination on Ira Gershwin's "I Can't Get Started," the session's only downbeat note. Best of all, the trio animates the album's two curveballs, Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" with an audible and accessible joy. A near perfect mix of buoyancy and mastery, a welcome revelation. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Hero Trio

Rudresh Mahanthappa

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1
Red Cross
00:06:29

Charlie Parker, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

2
Overjoyed
00:06:42

Stevie Wonder, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

3
Barbados/26-2
00:06:40

Charlie Parker, Composer - John Coltrane, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

4
I Can't Get Started
00:05:30

Ira Gershwin, Composer - Vernon Duke, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

5
The Windup
00:04:42

Keith Jarrett, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

6
Ring of Fire
00:03:56

June Carter Cash, Composer - MERLE KILGORE, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

7
I'll Remember April
00:05:45

Gene De Paul, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

8
Sadness
00:03:07

Ornette Coleman, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

9
Dewey Square
00:02:42

Charlie Parker, Composer - Rudresh Mahanthappa, MainArtist

2020 Whirlwind Recordings Whirlwind Recordings 2020 (under exclusive license from Rudresh Mahanthappa)

Album Description

Ask jazz nonbelievers why they can't relate and what usually comes back is some variation of: it's too cerebral, it has no sense of humor, it doesn't make me smile. Happily, even the most fervent of the jazz fearful needn't run from Hero Trio. After 15 consistently artful and ambitious albums most often recorded with small groups (including Bird Calls, his 2015 heartfelt tribute to chief influence Charlie Parker), savvy alto sax star Rudresh Mahanthappa steps into the role of jazz superhero with a sprightly all-covers set that's a perfect panacea for these serious times.

For those who can relate to jazz, one happy constant is that most players care about how their recordings sound. Engineer David Amlen captures a great balance between the instruments and mix engineer Liberty Ellman crafts a great presence in the final product. Liberated by the choice of material, the alto player and his longtime trio mates, double bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston, all reach for new insight and acuity. Like all truly memorable horn players, Mahanthappa has an instantly recognizable tone and here he wields it with his usual fire and invention, effortlessly gliding between sharp, tightly packed statements to more relaxed lyrical passages and bouncy, funky cuts where again, he is clearly enjoying himself. Nodding again towards Parker who remains a constant presence and infinite wellspring of inspiration in his playing, Hero Trio opens and closes with a pair of impassioned Parker covers, "Red Cross," and "Dewey Square," respectively. An original mashup of Charlie Parker's "Barbados" and John Coltrane's "26-2" (which borrows chord progressions from Parker's "Confirmation") works beautifully. A reflective if not sorrowing mood hovers over Mahanthappa's rumination on Ira Gershwin's "I Can't Get Started," the session's only downbeat note. Best of all, the trio animates the album's two curveballs, Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" with an audible and accessible joy. A near perfect mix of buoyancy and mastery, a welcome revelation. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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