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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi Trio: Continuous Beat

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In the 17 years since Rez Abbasi released Third Ear (Cathexis, 1995), the Pakistan-born, American-raised guitarist hasn't just covered a lot of ground, he's gone from an undoubtedly talented but somewhat vanilla player to one with a distinct voice and approach. Starting with Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds, 2005) and Bazaar (Zoho, 2006), Abbasi began to find his voice, in a meeting place between the linear nature of his eastern roots and the broader harmonies of his western studies.For Continuous Beat, Abbasi pares things down from the more ambitious Suno Suno (Enja, 2011) to a trio and repertoire originally ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi Trio: Continuous Beat

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Guitarist Rez Abbasi is one of the more prolific modern-era guitarists, calling New York City home but often adhering to his Pakistani roots through the looking-glass of jazz. Other than his impressive chops, he often amalgamates--to varying degrees--an Indo-jazz vibe into his solo outings and session gigs. However, on this plugged-in trio date, Abbasi instills a quasi, jazz-fusion vibe while adding minimal doses of distortion into the grand schema. With a formidable rhythm section supplying a loose but highly regimented backdrop, it's also a democratic engagement as the respective artists enjoy free rein during the improvisational components. The ...

INTERVIEWS

Rez Abbasi: Thoroughly Modern Marvel

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Guitarist Rez Abbasi is part of a generation of jazz musicians who came of age after the conservative backlash of the 1980s. He and his peers are making their mark on America's art form by contributing their rich and varied cultural backgrounds and with an embrace of popular culture that was heresy in some quarters for far too long. Rez Abbasi personifies several of the attributes on display in his music. He puts forth a quiet confidence, with a clear point of view on a variety of topics. He is capable of and open to ideas, surprises, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi's Invocation: Suno Suno

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On the second recorded effort with his Invocation group after 2009's Things To Come (Sunnyside), Rez Abbasi opts for more of a rock/groove vibe to underpin the guitarist's modern jazz explorations with his fairly regular cohorts, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer. Gone is Indian vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia, who sang on much of Things To Come, lending it a decidedly Eastern character. But Indian and Pakistani accents still flavor much of this followup, even as it hums, rattles and roars with American flair. Abbasi's playing is clear, controlled and commanding through much of the record, unraveling ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet: Natural Selection

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Profound spirituality and soulfulness is not a quality associated with secular music. However, once in awhile, even secular music reaches levels of such ecstasy that these elements become entwined in the heart of its melody and harmonic changes, as well as its iterant rhythm. Less often, this fusion is found at the confluence of mystic rivers of sound, where the myriad cultures of the world collide. Civilizations as ancient as Egypt, India and China have long held music in crucibles that have, for thousands of years, been beguilingly attractive to all those who follow the arts. This is not because ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Things To Come

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With his sixth outing as a leader, Pakistani-American guitar hero Rez Abbasi continues to reinvent himself, both musically and ideologically. He intertwines the quest for growth with a sense of humanity on this compelling release. Interspersed with ceremonious Eastern song-forms, Abbasi helps turn a new leaf on the sometimes staid, progressive-jazz realm. Featuring the highly-regarded and supremely talented frontline of saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer, the program is laid out with a largely oscillating pulse, comprised of soaring, Indo- jazz crosscurrents and more.

Abbasi's linear and soaring single note leads propel the band into climactically- designed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Things to Come

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It may be a new day in America but we're all still keenly interested in identity. This is a statement of sociopolitical reality, but it is also an observation of musical trend. In the liner notes for Things to Come, guitarist Rez Abbasi writes about recording music that “is neither jazz nor Indian; it has its own identity." In order to understand this statement, it is worth mentioning that Abbasi is an accomplished guitarist of Pakistani ancestry and his group made up of musicians of both South Asian descent (saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer) and American jazz musicians ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Things To Come

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Pakistani/American guitarist Rez Abbasi has been a part of the emerging growth of South Asian jazz musicians which includes the very noted names of pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and guitarist Fareed Haque, and celebrated recordings Apti (Innova Recordings, 2009) and Kinsmen (Pi Recordings, 2008). A brilliant technician, Abbasi is noted for blending shrewd chops with South Asian and Western concepts. Here he presents Things To Come , not just follow-up to 2006's Bazaar (Zoho Music) but the fruition of new exploration and cerebral composition. As stated in his liner notes, the goal was “to create ...

INTERVIEWS

Rez Abbasi: Microtones, Fearlessness and the Fifteen-Step Process

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India-born and California-raised, guitarist/composer Rez Abbasi--a resident of New York City for over a decade now--has been perfecting his own unique East-meets-West musical hybrid of Indian and jazz musics for some time. With the releases of Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds, 2005) and Bazaar (Zoho Music, 2006), he's perfected his formula, in part because his core group of drummer Danny Weiss, organist Gary Versace and vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia--supported on the former by master soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman and on the latter by several guest players--seems to be the perfect band to carry out the technical and emotional demands of Abbasi's compositions.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Bazaar

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One of the healthiest trends, it seems, in “our music is a certain restlessness, a dissatisfaction perhaps, with accepting the tradition as is. Rez Abbasi, originally from Pakistan and raised in southern California, now a fifteen-year veteran of the Manhattan scene, is a living embodiment of East-meets-West-meets-East. The music on Bazaar, the guitarist's fifth CD release as leader, reflects Abbasi's itinerate cultural awarenesses and offers yet another indication of where the restless spirit of the music may be headed. Featuring the leader on electric, acoustic and sitar-guitar (remember Denny Dias' burning jazz-inflected solo on Steely Dan's “Do It ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Bazaar

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If ever there were an argument for the evolving chemistry of a regularly working group, Bazaar is it. Following the breakthrough Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds, 2005), guitarist Rez Abbasi's core group of organist Gary Versace, drummer Danny Weiss and Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia has placed more than a few miles under its collective belt, including a March, 2005 club date in Ottawa, Canada and a followup performance at this year's Ottawa International Jazz Festival. Bazaar takes the innovations of Snake Charmer to the next level, with a degree of group interplay that's as exciting on record as it is in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Bazaar

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The nine tunes on Bazaar, Rez Abbasi's fine debut recording for Zoho, have a structural depth which rewards repeated listening, and harmonic and rhythmic qualities which are instantly pleasing to the ear. Abbasi's totally convincing fusion of jazz with southern Asian rhythms and textures is supported by wonderful musicianship throughout.

The opening title track sounds like Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry on a magic carpet ride over India, although the first solo comes not from tabla, sitar-guitar, sax or Hammond organ, but rather is whistled by Naren Budhakar, who manages to sound like a bansuri (northern Indian bamboo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rez Abbasi: Bazaar

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Day 8 - Ottawa International Jazz Festival, June 29, 2006

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11

Day eight of the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival saw the welcome return of one artist, the first time appearance of another, and an exciting and spiritual performance by a jazz legend.

When guitarist Rez Abbasi played at The Bayou eighteen months ago, the performance was marred by assorted technical problems--all the responsibility of the club. Organist Gary Versace was situated so far back that it ...



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