Rajesh Mehta & Paul Lovens | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rajesh Mehta & Paul Lovens 

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Trumpeter Rajesh Mehta was born in Calcutta, raised in New Jersey, and educated on both coasts, and since 1992 he's been living in Europe. But it doesn't do justice to his boldly original music to label it merely multicultural--multiexperiential is more like it. Mehta had already earned an engineering degree at MIT when he decided to study composition with Anthony Braxton at Mills College in California, and he incorporates a mystical fascination with math into his recent quintet record, Reconfigurations (Between the Lines), a three-part work based on a numerically derived graphic score. On the newer Innovative Music Meeting (True Muze) he collaborates with two other musicians of south Asian descent--cellist Rohan de Saram of the Arditti String Quartet and percussionist Trichy Sankaran--but while Sankaran's vocal improvisations and the intricate rhythms he taps out on the mrdangam and kanjira give the music an ethnic flavor, the clear and economical improvisations transcend the self-consciousness of most global fusion exercises. More relevant to Mehta's upcoming Chicago performance is the 1998 recording Orka (Hatology) with his partner here, German drummer Paul Lovens. Playing trumpet, slide trumpet, bass trumpet, and an invention of his own in which up to three horns are connected by plastic tubing, allowing him to play multiple lines at once, Mehta reveals himself to be second only to Axel Dörner in advancing the development of his instrument, and Lovens--best known as the melodically sophisticated, time-defying thumper in the Schlippenbach Trio--matches his smears, growls, and hisses with equally imaginative pure-sound constructions. Sunday, April 29, 7 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Wim Jansen.


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