Rez Abbasi: Things to Come (2009)
According to Abbasi, the title track was written on President Barack Obama's inauguration day, "an exciting day indeed!" The song seems less excited than hopeful, less patriotic than proud and empathetic, less played and more sung. Kiran Ahluwalia's voice embodies the hope the song means to convey.
The music is good but not great and the compositions show a lack of newness that could be forgiven had Abbasi and his band not already teased listeners with tracks like "Within Sanity," which does demonstrate a willingness to color outside the lines and be influenced by the world; there is a narrowness to the music that disappears when Abbasi becomes looser and allows Iyer and Ahluwalia to take the starring role and play.
Identity, real or perceived, is nothing to stay away from in a record and it might improve an already good album by an already accomplished musician.
Track Listing: Dream State; Air Traffic; Hard Colors; Things to Come; Why Me Why Them; Within Sanity; Realities of Chromaticism; Insulin.
Personnel: Rez Abbasi: guitars; Dan Weiss: drums; Johannes Weidenmueller: bass; Vijay Iyer: piano; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Mike Block: cello (2, 7); Kiran Ahluwalia: Indian vocals (2-4, 6).
Record Label: Sunnyside Records
Style: Fringes of Jazz