Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the two "Carte Blanche" artists this year. Rudresh Mahanthappa was pronounced Alto Saxophone Player of the Year by prominent jazz magazines like Downbeat and Jazz Journalist. His sound is described as “a mix between the rhythmic investigations of Steve Coleman and the introspective searching lyricism of John Coltrane”. Rudresh is American by birth, but a son to Indian immigrants, and his roots can be heard extensively in his work. He is always on the lookout for new ways to improvise and express his compositions, and finds inspiration in contemporary composed music and classical Indian music, as well as in the music of John Coltrane and Charlie “Bird” Parker. Today, Mahanthappa will perform with his trio Indo-Pak Coalition which includes Pakistan-American guitarist Rez Abassi and drummer/tabla player Dan Weiss. The group performs a mix of different musical influences and cultures, which is so characteristic of contemporary jazz. Their debut album Apti, released in 2008, received great reviews and was on the top of the jazz charts for weeks on end.