A blazing collaboration between alto saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green in an all-star band with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Francois Moutin and drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette.
Mahanthappa, Rudresh and Bunky Green
Label: Pi Recordings
Released in: USA
Apex is a blazing collaboration between alto saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green that puts on display a fifty-year continuum of state-of-the-art saxophone playing. Featuring the all-star band of Jason Moran on piano, Francois Moutin on bass and switching off on drums, the dynamic Damion Reid and the legendary Jack DeJohnette, Apex shines a much-deserved spotlight on Bunky Green, a hugely influential but under-recognized original in jazz.
As Mahanthappa tells it, "I first heard about Bunky from the late great saxophone teacher Joe Viola when I was a student at Berklee in the early 90s. Joe heard me warming up once and recommended that I check Bunky out as he thought that my approach was on track to being something similar to his. He loaned me Bunky's record Places We've Never Been (Vanguard) which totally knocked me out!" Mahanthappa sought Green out and sent him a tape of his playing to which Green responded by providing some encouraging feedback, leading to a long friendship. Still, the two never got a chance to play together until 2008 during a jam session at the Jazz Baltica Festival. Inspired by that performance, Mahanthappa featured Green in his appearance at the 2009 Made In Chicago Festival. Soon thereafter, Rudresh made plans to record with Bunky, enlisting his regular bassist François Moutin and the dynamic young drummer Damion Reid. Jason Moran, who had played on Green's CD Another Place (Label Bleu), also quickly signed on. The lineup was set when Mahanthappa told Jack DeJohnette - in whose band Rudresh plays - about the recording. DeJohnette, who had been a huge fan of Bunky's from back when he was a young drummer coming up in Chicago, also clamored to play on the session.
One can immediately see why Mahanthappa was drawn to Green's playing: The two share a similar biting tone, harmonic sophistication, a well-articulated rapid fire attack, and a certain rhythmic elasticity. Perhaps what's most amazing about Green is that such modern playing is coming from a 75 year old. The album features originals by both Mahanthappa and Green specifically created for this collaboration. The compositions highlight a collective vision of using traditional forms as a launching point for contemporary improvisation and interaction at its highest level.
On Apex, Bunky Green and Rudresh Mahanthappa look back over the last fifty years of jazz saxophone playing and together chart its course into the future."-Pi Recordings
• Show Bio for Jason Moran
"Jason Moran (born January 21, 1975) is an American jazz pianist, composer and educator, heavily involved in multimedia art and theatrical installations. Moran recorded first with Greg Osby and debuted as a band leader with the 1999 album Soundtrack to Human Motion. Since then, he has released eight other albums-with his trio The Bandwagon, solo or leading other ensembles-and appeared in about 30 albums as a sideman. He has garnered much critical acclaim and won a number of awards for his playing and compositional skills, which combine elements of post-bop and avant-garde jazz, blues, classical music, stride piano, and hip hop, among others."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Moran_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Damion Reid
"Damion Reid hailing from West Covina, California a city east of Los Angeles. He is the son of well-respected bassist and astute operatic singer and teacher. By the age of three, Damion was already playing in church. It was around the age of twelve that Damion began being mentored by the world-renowned drummer Billy Higgins. During these formative years Billy's spirit for life and music was deeply seeded in Damion's fertile mind. Seeing Damion's ability to grasp the music both, analytically and conceptually it wasn't long before Billy invited him to be a part of his drum collective. As he began to mature musically he found himself frequenting Billy's club "The World Stage," learning and playing with the likes of Billy Childs, George Bohanon and Oscar Brashear.
As Damion continued to cultivate his love for music through his high school years, he managed school life with professional obligations. Damion graduated High School and made the move to Boston, Massachusetts New England Conservatory of Music where he spent time with Cecil McBee, Danilo Perez, Fred Buda and George Russell as well as his musical peers. It was while in Boston between the years of 1998 and 1999 that he received the prestigious Alan Dawson scholarship. He then was accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California. Soon finding himself trekking to New York City to attend The New School. He then began performing and touring alongside Greg Osby, Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Jacky Terrasson, Ravi Coltrane, Reggie Workman, Marcus Belgrave, Lauryn Hill, Robert Hurst, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, Mark Shim, Mark Turner, Chihiro Yamanaka, Steve Coleman, Bunky Green and many others."-Damion Reid Website (http://www.damionreid.com/damionreid.com/biography.php)
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Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: Pi 35
Squidco Product Code: 13378
Recorded April 22nd and 23rd, 2010 by Mike Marciano at Systems Two, Brooklyn, New York.
Rudresh Mahanthappa-alto saxophone
Bunky Green-alto saxophone
Francois Moutin-acoustic bass
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1. Welcome 2:43
2. Summit 8:14
3. Soft 9:29
4. Playing With Stones 9:35
5. Lamenting 3:24
6. Eastern Echoes 7:13
7. Little Girl I'll Miss You 5:48
8. Who? 8:17
9. Rainer And Theresia 7:27
10. The Journey 15:46