I always love creative combinations of things. Ways of taking two things and putting them together in a way that is new and different. Like my peanut butter and nickels sandwich. Or Jon and Kate Plus Man Eating Shark.
So, I was excited when I first heard about Kinsmen a CD by Indian-American jazz sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa. Here is what appears to be an old photo of the Colorado born man where he looks like a fucking pimp:
Rudresh is of Indian heritage, but raised entirely in America. As America as apple pie. Or at least chutney pie. His love for jazz was unique to his Indian family. In interviews I've heard, he talks about how he never wanted to approach classical Indian music from the jazz style. He sort of left that alone, especially after there have been so many bad jazz-Indian combos since the Beatles meant the Maharishi.
Then, he met a sax player named Kadri Golpalnath. Gopalnath is a classical trained Indian musician from India who doesn't play a single note of jazz. He plays all South Indian music called Carnatic music. But he plays it on the sax, which, as you might imagine, is not a classical Indian musical instrument. Think playing Bach with a Sitar or some such thing.
This interested Rudresh about Indian music in a way that he apparently had not been interested before. So, he combined Golpalnath's indian trio (with a percussionist and some sort of stringed violin style instrument) with a jazz combo. This wasn't "Let's play jazz with a few Indian scales thrown in." This wasn't Maynard Ferguson's Ganesha (although I do fucking love that), which is essentially American jazz with a tinge of India. Rudresh Mahanthappa's Ganesha is like combining two bands into one. The Indian trio plays its music and the jazz combo plays its music and it just works. It just works somehow! It fucking rocks. Here is a YouTube clip of it.
My favorite song is actually not available easily from youtube. It is a ballad called Kalyana. It is on MySpace Music here as the second song. Enjoy!
The California Golden Bears (11*8, 5-3 Pac-10) won their fifth game in a row Thursday night when they earned a 73-53 victory over the Arizona Wildcats (9-9, 3-5 Pac-10). Alexis Gray-Lawson, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, led the Bears with 39 points.
Cal got off to a slow start, falling behind the Wildcats 21-13 in the first half. Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson ignited the offense, draining a three-pointer and a jumper in the lane on back-to-back possessions to make it a three point game. Cal tied the game, 24-24, on a made three-pointer by junior guard Rachelle Federico with 6:31 left in the half. After Arizona tied the game back up at 26-26, Gray-Lawson made one of her seven first-half field goals to put Cal up 28-26. The Bears would not trail again in the game and took a 36-31 lead into the break.
Arizona made things interesting at the start of the second half. The opened the period on a 4-0 run, pulling within a point, 36-35, with 18:20 remaining. Cal went on a 10-3 run, with Alexis Gray-Lawson scoring all ten points, to give themselves a cushion. Arizona never again threatened as Cal cruised to their fifth Pac-10 victory of the season.
Alexis Gray-Lawson, the reigning Pac-10 player of the week, scored 39 points, the second consecutive game she scored more than 30 points in regulation. Gray-Lawson scored 47 points last Saturday at Oregon State, 33 of those coming in regulation, the other 14 she scored over the course of two overtimes. The 39 points was the fifth highest single-game total in Cal history and the most points Gray-Lawson scored in a non-overtime game. This was the fourth time in Gray-Lawson's career she has scored 30 or more points in a game. Gray-Lawson hit 15 field goals, making 50 percent of her shots.
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