Raw Materials

NEW YORK, New York, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Jazz / Experimental / Classical
Savoy Jazz
Pianist VIJAY IYER and alto saxophonist RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA represent a new generation of American jazz musicians who explore the cultures of their ancestry through their music. The sons of immigrants from India, they draw from Asian, African, and European traditions to create original music that is beyond category. They have gained recognition from audiences, musicians, and critics alike as world-class improvisors and composers, outspoken young Asian American voices, and important forces in the music world. Since 1996, Iyer and Mahanthappa have worked together constantly, performing their cutting-edge original music to widespread acclaim around the world. In spring 2006, ten years after the two began collaborating, Savoy Jazz released their first album as a duo, titled RAW MATERIALS. Time Out New York calls it "their most striking collaboration yet. A series of confident duets, the set combines stateliness with rawness. It's like seeing two sides of the same coin." All About Jazz hails the disc as "a total triumph from beginning to end."

VIJAY IYER was described in The Village Voice as "the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years" and in The New Yorker as one of "today's most important pianists." He has released twelve highly acclaimed albums, most recently "Tragicomic" (Sunnyside 2008) with his trio & quartet, "Door" (Pi Recordings 2008) with the trio Fieldwork, "Still Life with Commentator" (Savoy 2007) with poet-performer Mike Ladd, and "Raw Materials" (Savoy 2006) in duo with Mahanthappa. The Downbeat Magazine International Critics Poll ranked him Number 1 Rising Star Jazz Artist and Number 1 Rising Star Composer in 2007 and 2008 -- winning top honors in both categories simultaneously for two years in a row -- and he has consistently placed near the top of these and the piano categories since 2001. He has performed worldwide with his ensembles and collaborations, and has also worked extensively with Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Amiri Baraka, Butch Morris, Ethel, Miya Masaoka, dead prez, Karsh Kale, George Lewis, DJ Spooky, John Zorn, Dennis Russell Davies, and the American Composers Orchestra. Vijay has received the prestigious CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and project grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts, Chamber Music America, Creative Capital, American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, Arts International, and The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. He has been a faculty member at New York University, New School University, and the School for Improvisational Music. His writings have been published in Music Perception, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Current Musicology, Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies, and Sound Unbound. He lives in New York City. Info: vijay-iyer.com

Guggenheim fellow RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today. Named a Rising Star of the alto saxophone by the Downbeat International Critics Poll for the past four years, 2 in 2006, he leads/co-leads seven groups to critical acclaim. His most recent release for Pi Recordings Codebook (2006) was named one of the Top Jazz Albums of 2006 by The Village Voice, Jazztimes, and The Denver Post to name only a few and received rave reviews from Downbeat, Jazztimes, wired.com and Science Magazine. In Europe, Codebook received the “Choc” (highest) rating in France’s Jazzman, 4 stars in the UK’s Jazzwise, and received the “Bollino di Marzo” from Italy’s Musica Jazz. As a saxophonist, Mahanthappa has achieved international recognition performing regularly at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. As a composer, Rudresh has received commission grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts to develop new work. Mahanthappa holds a Bachelors of Music Degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music and a Masters of Music degree in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University. He now teaches at The New School University. Rudresh Mahanthappa currently lives in New York where he is clearly regarded as an important and influential voice in the jazz world. Rudresh uses Vandoren reeds exclusively. Mahanthappa is also New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. Info: rudreshm.com

RAW MATERIALS, their duo project, engages the listener with intelligent melodies and harmonies combined with wonderfully layered rhythms, epitomizing new jazz at its best. Their ongoing musical collaboration showcases their strong creative alliance, their common perspectives and contrasting dispositions. The duo has premiered and recorded an evening-length work commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, had a performance broadcast on Swiss Radio, and appeared at international festivals in Strasbourg, San Francisco, Seattle, Perth, Melbourne, Vancouver, the Hague and Montreal, among others.
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