Rudresh Mahanthappa's Chicago Legacy Ensemble featuring Bunky Green | Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Chicago Legacy Ensemble featuring Bunky Green Free All Ages Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Thu., Aug. 6, 6:30 p.m. 2009

Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa is part of a new class of artists—alongside pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, both of whom have worked with him—who’ve found meaningful ways to combine jazz with the traditional music of their heritages. He’s had a banner year, earning effusive praise for his 2008 albums Kinsmen (Pi) and Apti (Innova), which marry heady postbop and Indian classical music in sophisticated, focused, and distinctly different ways. But Mahanthappa was blowing killer postbop long before he developed this fusion, and that’s the tradition he’ll emphasize at this special concert. When he studied at DePaul in the mid-90s, he played with most of the musicians in what he’s calling his Chicago Legacy Ensemble—bass trumpeter Ryan Schultz, trumpeter Tito Carrillo, pianist Ron Perrillo, and drummer Eric Montzka. (Bassist Francois Moutin, born in France and based in New York, is a member of Mahanthappa’s regular quartet.) The real treat is the presence of alto saxophonist Bunky Green, 74, a Milwaukee native who made his name in Chicago during the 60s and now teaches in Florida. He was one of Mahanthappa’s early influences, and you can still hear similarities in their styles: the bright, biting tone, the relentless energy, the harmonic sophistication, the inventive skeins of melody. The group will play tunes Mahanthappa wrote for the occasion, plus one or two by Green. —Peter Margasak

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