Rez Abbasi: Reziliently Brilliant
AAJ: Who do you feel makes up your audience?
RA: I think people who are into modern melodic music. Also guitar players tend to like these recordings.
AAJ: What would you say to someone who was about to begin exploring your music?
RA: Thanks (laughs).
AAJ: How much of your compositions are written out and how much is based on interaction of the players?
RA: I write out a good portion but am always open to suggestions. For example, on my new CD, Malaby and Horton would sometimes switch around their parts and that section would suddenly come alive. We also took an up tempo solo section and decided for the rhythm section to approach it in a textural, freeer way which gave it a unique character. This group approach is the best because the compositions evolve. I'm definitely grateful to have worked with that particular group of musicians for the Out Of Body record It would have not existed without the time invested in, and therefore the evolution of, that band.
AAJ: What kind of recording technology are you using on your dates? Hard disc or analog? Are the players all in the same room? Which do you prefer? Do you edit the tracks yourself?
RA: On this latest CD I used analog tape and we were basically in the same room with some separation. I helped with the mixing and mastering. There was a little bit of editing but I try and retain whatever is on the track.
AAJ: How long is the recording process for your records? I'll bet extremely short. How much rehearsal occurs beforehand?
RA: We did this CD in one day although I did do percussion overdubs. This group was together for over a year and we did play out and rehearse a lot before going into the studio.
AAJ: Explain to us your perception of yourself as an artist. Where do you see yourself on the musical map?
RA: That's not easy to answer, however, I do see myself coming out of a sound that is relevant in today's world as opposed to writing and playing, for example, Bebop. The thing is- I do listen to and play Bebop/Post-Bop often, I've just had a more open approach- let's say like Jim Hall/Bill Frisell, as opposed to the more inside- type players.
AAJ: What music holds your most extreme interest these days, and what of it may influence your next project or recording?
RA: I've been for many years getting more into my roots, listening to a lot of Indian classical and film music as well as Pakistani Qawwalie. I still listen to Coltrane, Jarrett etc. Classical music of all sorts as well as anything my friends have played on. Lately I've been playing along with solo tabla CDs.
AAJ: To wrap up, please tell us your musical plans, or projects in the pipeline, for 2002.
RA: I'm planning on recording a few projects if I can come up with the money. One would be with the material that has already been written, probably for a quintet. I'm also working on an entirely new group which will be based more in my roots. I'll use more sitar-guitar for that as well as having an Indian vocalist, a percussionist and drummer, and organ/accordion player. And finally if I have ample time to make it meaningful, I'm going to do an acoustic trio recording of standards since I've been playing and enjoying them for most of my life. I also look forward to working as a side man.