Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (ACT)
Listeners steeped in the music of Charlie Parker may be able to detect clues to the inspirations for Mahanthappa’s new compositions in this stimulating collection. If doing so adds to their enjoyment and appreciation of the album, so much the better. But in approaching the collection as a blindfold test, literalists may miss the point. Alto saxophonist Mahanthappa has taken Parker, his primary muse, as the point of departure for compositions and playing of unfailing originality. Individuality is what Bird achieved in his own playing and what he urged other musicians to pursue. For Mahanthappa, that means incorporating the influence of his Indian heritage, as he does with panache in “On The DL” (based on “Donna Lee”) and several other pieces. Trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, pianist Mat Mitchell, bassist Francis Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston round out this powerful quintet.