410

Rez Abbasi: Bazaar

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Rez Abbasi: Bazaar 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 performance.

Abbasi's approach, which incorporates his Indo-Pakistani musical background with Western jazz harmonies, is an innovative one, since the Indian musical tradition is linear by nature. By incorporating denser and often darker harmonic movements, he creates a fusion that's unlike that of any other artist pursuing a similar nexus. As a guitarist, his roots are refreshingly distanced from the usual Metheny/Scofield/Frisell trifecta of influence. If anything, there are hints of John Abercrombie's economy and Ralph Towner's abstruse lyricism in his playing. Still, at best, they inform but never define Abbasi's uniquely virtuosic approach, which often peppers carefully constructed melodies with cascading flurries of notes to great effect.

While the often pattern-based material on Bazaar represents the next logical step, this time around Abbasi generally eschews irregular meters. Still, the way in which he builds his rhythmic foundations—and Weiss' uncanny ability to displace those rhythms—make the sitar-guitar driven title track and arpeggio-based "Life Goes feel paradoxically odd-metered yet wholly natural. When he does use shifting rhythms on the darkly Oregon-esque "Thin Elephant —featuring Abbasi on acoustic guitar, Weiss moving from tabla to kit and Ahluwalia delivering controlled yet emotive vocals—the effect is so subtle as to be nearly imperceptible.

There are some guests, most notably saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Marc Mommaas, who broaden the palette on the title track and more aggressive "Mid-Life, where Abbasi's overdriven tone is pitted against Mahanthappa's freewheeling alto. But the core of Bazaar is a guitar/organ/percussion trio that's so simpatico as to transcend serendipity into telepathic synchronicity.

Versace showed he was capable of a soul-jazz approach when he went on tour with guitarist John Scofield, but left to his own devices, he's a more abstract thinker, more Dan Wall than Joey DeFrancesco. Weiss, whose Tintal Drum set Solo (Chhandayan Production, 2005) demonstrated the depth of his appreciation for the Indian musical tradition, locks in with Versace throughout, trading off with himself on "Hindu-Myth, where the call is the konnakol tradition of rhythm scatting and the response his kit.

While Abbasi's writing is geared towards improvisation, there's been considerable growth in the compositions as well. The longer pieces feel more episodic in nature, less about dramatic shifts and more about a gradually unfolding sense of the inevitable. He's no new kid on the block, having been around now for a couple of decades. But if Snake Charmer was the first major salvo, Bazaar is unequivocal confirmation of Abbasi's now crystal-clear direction and unerring sense of purpose.


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: Hammond organ; Danny Weiss: drums, tabla, rhythm scat (8); Kiran Ahluwalia: Indian vocals (2,3,7); Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone (1,7); Marc Mommaas: tenor and soprano saxophone (1,7); Gautam Siriam: mridnagam (2,5,6); Naren Budhakar: whistling (1).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Zoho Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Surrounded by the Night" CD/LP/Track Review Surrounded by the Night
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Perceive React" CD/LP/Track Review Perceive React
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Central Line" CD/LP/Track Review Central Line
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "The Whistle Blower" CD/LP/Track Review The Whistle Blower
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Electric Ascension" CD/LP/Track Review Electric Ascension
by John Sharpe
Published: October 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!