Rez Abbasi: Bazaar (2006)
Guitarist Rez Abbasi interprets nine of his own compositions on this album with a jazz organ trio and guests who explore the connection between East and West through improvised music. His impressions run happy, sad, light, dark, mysterious, open, free and easy. Abbasi retains the mystique of the classic jazz organ/guitar trio while coloring each selection with cultural ties from India and neighboring countries. He wields a sitar-guitar frequently for effect, and he devotes plenty of time toward expressing guitar language with his trio.
The tabla's effect on the program is to ensure that traditional world music ties it together throughout. Kiran Ahluwalia adds wordless vocals to three selections which emphasize her spine-tingling authority. Two saxophones and a hearty whistler color the title track with a mood of celebration, as the leader steers his ensemble through its mix from New York's melting pot.
Impressionism also plays a role in Abbasi's work. Through his tone poems, he captures the physical rhythmic stride of an elephant, the lasting quality of leather, the anxiety of growing older, the carefree spirit of life with a positive outlook, and the woes that are sometimes thrown upon us as firebrands for the blues.
Abbasi's guitar turns the music into an eloquent narrative as he communicates through the language of jazz. Cohesive in his approach, he weaves a strong thread around organ and drums to produce a contemporary message. With his guitar as the central figure in this recommended performance, Abbasi reveals a thorough understanding of how we're able to communicate freely without words.
Track Listing: Bazaar; Leather; Thin Elephant; Life Goes; You People Intro; You People; Mid-Life; Hindu-Myth; Destiny Owes You.
Personnel: Rez Abbasi: guitar, sitar-guitar, percussion; Gary Versace: organ; Danny Weiss: drums, tabla, vocal; Kiran Ahluwalia: vocal; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Marc Mommaas: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Gautam Siram: mridnagam; Naren Budhakar: whistling.