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Mahanthappa, Rudresh: Hero Trio [VINYL] (Whirlwind)

Turning his attention from original compositions to the music of his heroes--Ornette Coleman, Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane & Charlie Parker--saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa turns in an upbeat and exuberant album of standards performed in a trio with bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston.

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product information:

UPC: 630808828782

Label: Whirlwind
Catalog ID: LP-WWR-4760
Squidco Product Code: 29416

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: UK / EU
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Sound on Sound Studios,at Montclair, New Jersey, on January 24 and 25, 2020, by David Amlen.


Rudresh Mahanthappa-alto saxophone

Francois Moutin-acoustic bass

Rudy Royston-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa's inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.

Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents' native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio's sonic ambitions.

Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar-driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave "Fuze" Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, "I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight," which can be heard on the quartet's 2015 double-disc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1."

-Rudresh Mahanthappa Website (

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"Francois Moutin was born in Paris. His early interest in music was encouraged by his parents. At age 5, Francois began studying guitar, then piano by age 11. The acoustic bass became his most lasting passion as a teenager. Also studying mathematics and physics, Francois received a college degree in engineering and earned a doctorate in physics at the age of 24. Then he elected to become a professional musician.

Three years later, as a member of the legendarey Martial Solal's Trio, Francois was recognized as one of the finest young bass players in Europe. At 29, he began co-leading the Quintet Moutin with his twin brother Louis, a top echelon Jazz drummer. This project has evolved into the Moutin Reunion Quartet. With this band, the brothers are touring extensively around Europe and the United States. The third album of the Moutin Reunion Quartet "Something Like Now" (after "Power Tree" and "Red Moon"), was released in September 2005.

When he was still living in Paris, Francois worked non-stop with the greatest musicians of this age : Martial Solal, Michel Portal, Antoine Herve, Daniel Humair, André Ceccarelli, Eric Lelann, Jean-Michel Pilc, Christian Escoude. He has also performed with Peter Erskine, Randy Brecker, Niels Lan Doky, Mino Cinelu, Dave Liebman, John Abercrombie, Toots Thielemans, Didier Lockwood, Larry Schneider, Aldo Romano, James Moody, Terry Lyne Carrington, Richard Galliano, Bernard Lubat, Aaron Scott, George Brown, Sunny Murray, Michel Legrand, Archie Shepp, Claude Nougaro, Trilok Gurtu, Bob Berg, Birelli Lagrene, Wladimir Kosma, Marius Constant, Markus Stockhausen, L'ensemble Inter Contemporain. François has performed in every important European Jazz Festival, and he has toured in over 30 countries around the world.

In November 1997, Francois moved his base to New York where he has found steady work in live performance and studio sessions with the premier artists on the New York Jazz Scene. A partial list of their names reads like the yellow pages of Jazz : Franck Wess, Jimmy Heath, Monty Alexander, Benny Powell, Don Alias, Mike Stern, Lew Soloff, Steve Kuhn, Joe Locke, Billy Hart, Jeff Tain Watts, Victor Lewis, Billy Drummond, Richie Beirach, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Harry Belafonte, Odean Pope, James Hurt, Ari Hoenig, Jean-Michel Pilc, Rick Margitza, Franck Kimbrough, Joel Frahm, Greg Tardy, Gene Jackson, Dave Binney, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, Adam Rogers, David Gilmore, Ben Monder, John Hart, Billy Drews, Jamie Haddad, Steve Hass Bob James... Francois has also recorded and performed with Arab Music star Simon Shaheen. He is a familiar presence on the stages of such establishments as Sweet Rhythm, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Knitting Factory, Zinc Bar, Jazz Gallery, Tonic, Smoke, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, New York Symphony Space, Museum of Modern Art. François has also appeared in some major Jazz Festivals around the coutry like Newport JVC Jazz Festival, Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival in New York, Freihoffer Jazz Festival in Saratoga Spring, Detroit Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Series, or Kansas City Jazz Festival."

-Francois Moutin Website (

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A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began playing drums and percussion as a toddler, playing in church and along with an eclectic array of LPs his siblings would have on rotation. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. Rudy's older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a constant support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children's percussion instrument making company. Rudy's brothers would expose him to a myriad of music, and his father would bring home slightly damaged percussion instruments. As a result, Rudy grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and many other percussion instruments. In the fourth grade, with his mother's ceaseless support, Rudy began studying music more formally, beginning his studies in reading and writing music. He continued his music studies through middle and into high school-receiving some training on viola and tenor saxophone as well.

While a sophomore in high school, Rudy attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Telluride, Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. It was then Rudy knew he would pursue music the rest of his life. He began studying classical and jazz repertoire, as well as marching percussion, rising to achieve membership into topnotch city and state-wide high school ensembles.

Rudy went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. He later received K-12 teaching credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

While in college, Rudy began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with some of Colorado's finest artists such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell-with whom he still plays.

Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.

-Rudy Royston Website (

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track listing:


1. Red Cross 6:38

2. Overjoyed 6:43

3. Barbados/26-2 6:41

4. I Can't Get Started 5:31


1. The Windup 4:42

2. Ring of Fire 3:57

3. I'll Remember April 5:46

4. Sadness 3:08

5. Dewey Square 2:43
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"In the chordless trio tradition of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins on A Night At The Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1957) and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz with his Motion (Verve, 1961), alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa offers up his Hero Trio, a saxophone, bass and drums outing nodding to his influential musical heros.

Mahanthappa began his career in the shadow of Vijay Iyer, playing on the pianist's Panoptic Modes (Red Giant, 2001), Blood Sutra (Pi Recordings, 2003), and Reimagining (Savoy Jazz, 2005). But he blew out of that shadow with excellent recordings under his own name like Mother Tongue (Pi Recordings, 2004) and CodeBook (Pi Recordings, 2006) and consistently successful forays into incorporating the music of his ancestral India into his sound. His searing and propulsive tone on the alto sax is distinctive. Listen blindfolded and five notes in you know who it is, whether it's inside Arturo O'Farrill's Latin Afro Jazz Orchestra or on Bob Belden's Miles From India project, or on one of Vijay Iyer's sets or one of his own.

The sound of his Hero Trio, with bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston, breaks out with a loose-jointed distinction, too. A companion piece of sorts to Mahanthappa's 2015's Bird Calls (ACT Records), which featured the alto saxophonist's original compositions inspired by the work of the ever-inspirational Charlie Parker. Hero Trio is Mahanthappa's first recording of non-original works. It pays tributes to more of his heros: Stevie Wonder, Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane, and, again, Charlie Parker, opening and closing the disc with Parker tunes-"Red Cross" and "Dewey Square," respectively.

The sound is free and lively, the up-tempo tunes seeming like a soundtrack to video of major league hitters trying to hit the impossible and unpredictable wobble of an incoming knuckleball. Long, lanky hitters, lots of knee and elbows and flailing bats, seasoned pros engaged in a difficult task with a contortionist's grace, Mahanthappa's alto tracing the flight of the ball, bass and drums goosing the batters into their rubbery attempts.

Freedom from the chords and a collective gusto gives the music a rollicking, loose-jointed feeling. The opener, "Red Cross," is a joyful, bursting-with-life assault. "Barabados/26-2," puts Parker and Coltrane together, in a menacing mode, like a squall rolling in off the ocean.

The group takes on some standards with "I Can't Get Started" and "I'll Remember April," the former a lassitudinous dirge, the latter a burner that could fit in on Mahanthappa's previously-mentioned Codebook.

Then there's the Johnny Cash hit, "Ring Of Fire," saying there's no reason why you can't take the music seriously and have some fun at the same time. The trio plays it straight, with a bounce in its step, perhaps a tongue in its cheek, shining a new light on the sound that evolved out of Sun Records."-Dan Mcclenaghan, All About Jazz

Also available on CD.
Get additional information at All About Jazz
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