DePaul Alum Brings Jazz Fusion to Chicago

24 Mar

—–When worlds collide, you get music from Rudresh Mahanthappa, a DePaul alumnus who released his latest album, Apti last November.

Mahanthappa says the album resembles… well… nothing really. It’s a one-of-a-kind fusion of jazz and world genres “about exploring my hybrid identity of being Indian and American,” said Mahanthappa during a phone interview with Demon Tracks. “It’s not necessarily about homogeny, but about a new identity in modern American culture.”

Mahanthappa received his MFA in jazz composition from the DePaul School of Music in 1998 and he praised the faculty and his experience at DePaul.

“The faculty at DePaul saw what my abilities were already and we tailored a curriculum for me. I had a certain freedom and lessons were more of a consultation, it was a very welcoming situation. Some of the guests that played in our classes ended up being people I collaborated with when I came to New York.”

The jazz sage performed at the legendary Green Mill nightclub in Chicago on Saturday, March 14, and held a concert with the rest of his ensemble from Apti on Sunday, March 15 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Noting the current spike in music school applications at DePaul and at schools around the country, he offered this advice to students:

“You have to be able to know how to hustle and talk to people,” he said. “Do things your way—don’t fall into a pattern because it’s what you’re supposed to do. Look at what’s important to you, not only for your career but for your lifestyle and be open to the possibilities.”

Check out Mahanthappa’s article in the New Yorker magazine, which appeared in the March 2nd issue.

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