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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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, ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more