161

Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet: Natural Selection

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet: Natural Selection 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 of its shimmering undulations that Western eyes and ears see and hear in saffron curtains that tease the senses, but because spiritual and secular seem to meet at infinity, like parallel lines that mesmerize, enticing ever onward to its beckoning horizon.

Somewhere in a crucible all its own the music of guitarist Rez Abbasi sings. Natural Selection is a miraculous collision of the world of the color and nuanced sound of the Subcontinent; the ululations of Middle Eastern "muwashas," traipsing across desert and mountain; and the near statuesque beauty of European impressionism, all wrapped up in the improvisatory idiom of jazz. It is natural selection, where all those useful elements have survived and become reborn in a brilliant new aesthetic wrought by a fertile mind, and the charming magic of fingers that flutter and glide over the guitar strings with riotous color, producing so vivid a music that it can almost be tasted, as it seeps into the secret recesses of the mind where pleasure is felt like pain. Despite the fact that he plays an instrument that many have excelled at—the acoustic guitar—Abbasi sounds like no one who has gone before him.

His guitar wails about unspeakable loss on "Lament," undulating and tearing down the chart with surprising, bending glissandos, as he recreates the masterful music of the prince of Sufi sound, the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. And even Joe Henderson could not have imagined that his "Punjab" could be resurrected to fly in the face of genius from the strings of an acoustic guitar, playing off the echoes of the vibraphone. Abbasi's own creations are just that: sheer genius that rises out of murky, misty mountainous mornings, or crepuscular exchanges between his guitar and Bill Ware's vibes, as well as Stephen Crump's bass and Eric McPherson's percussion smatter. The composer posits that he heard this call-and-response in the music as it was being born. As a result, "Up on a Hill," "When Night Falls," "Bees" and "Blu Vindaloo" echoes with smearing and voice-like utterances in harmony, with the bronzed modulations of tubular bells that also echo with soulful grandeur. All of this, as the album's otherworldly character echoes long after the last notes have faded and died.


Track Listing: Lament; Pakistani Minor; Personal Mountains; Up on the Hill; When Light Falls; Bees; Blu Vindaloo; New Aesthetic; Punjab; Ain't No Sunshine.

Personnel: Rez Abbasi: acoustic guitars; Bill Ware: vibraphone; Stephan Crump: acoustic bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Crowded Solitudes" CD/LP/Track Review Crowded Solitudes
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "For The Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review For The Unknown
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 19, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Bombogenic" CD/LP/Track Review Bombogenic
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Live at 5e" CD/LP/Track Review Live at 5e
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Iceland" CD/LP/Track Review Iceland
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 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!