I met Rudy in NYC and played a few times with him. I had never heard anyone quite like him. His sound was reminiscent of an India Nagaswaram (the double reed oboe like instrument). He is influenced by Grossman and Steve Coleman. Add to that mix a Hindustani flavor, mixed meters and blistering tempos and you have a different sound. His playing is interesting and fiery. I don't think I would ever go in that direction but you can't deny that Rudy is burning.
Here's his bio from his web site-
Named a Rising Star of the alto saxophone by the 2003 and 2004 Downbeat International Critics Poll, Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians in jazz today. By incorporating the culture of his Indian ancestry, Rudresh has fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision. As a performer, he leads/co-leads five groups to critical acclaim. His most recent quartet recording Mother Tongue on Pi Recordings has been named one of Top Ten Jazz CDs of 2004 by the Chicago Tribune, All About Jazz, and Jazzmatazz to name a few and also received 4 stars in DOWNBEAT. This CD reached #8 on US jazz radio charts and reached #1 on Canadian jazz radio charts. As a performer, Mahanthappa has achieved international recognition performing regularly at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. He has also worked as a sideman with such jazz luminaries as David Murray, Steve Coleman, Jack DeJohnette, Samir Chatterjee, Von Freeman, Tim Hagans, Fareed Haque, Vijay Iyer, Howard Levy, David Liebman, Greg Osby, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. As a composer, Rudresh has received commission grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, American Composers Forum, and the New York State Council on the Arts to develop new work. Mahanthappa has his Bachelors of Music Degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music and his Masters of Music degree in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University. He now teaches at The New School University. Rudresh Mahanthappa currently lives in New York where he is clearly regarded as an important and influential voice in the jazz world."
Reviews and MP3s
Jazz Times article