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 passages. At times, the musicians brand a slightly ominous edge, while also intertwining a positive stance into the grand mix. And the soloists dissect and reformulate melodies, abetted by Mahanthappa's sizzling 16th and 32nd note runs, with diva Kiran Ahluwalia equalizing the group's buoyancy during four pieces.
The guitarist often builds tension via his meticulously crafted solo spots, but also imparts a sense of spiritual fulfillment while generating a torrid prog-bop motif on the thorny "Why Me Why Them." Elsewhere, the musicians exercise a state of urgency, with bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Dan Weiss turning up the heat and kicking matters into eleventh gear. Abbasi varies the flow and overall perspective, however, during the moments of solitude heard at the onset of "Realities of Chromaticism." Here, guest cellist Mike Block's arco passages establish warmth, while Iyer counters with rhythmic block chords, as the unit segues into a sequence of high-impact statements. Mahanthappa spews bullets to assist with a consortium of angular dips and spikes, yet the musicians soften the implosion by revisiting the opening theme for its finale.
Abbasi signals in a polytonal and multi-directional muse for progressive-jazz, where hope looms mightily. It's an outing that reaffirms, and then extends his spiraling stature within global jazz factions. His acute perception and vision, coupled with a distinctly broad music vernacular translates into an album that irrefutably yields the bountiful fruit.
Dream State; Air Traffic; Hard Colors; Things to Come; Why Me Why Them;
Within Sanity; Realities of Chromaticism; Insulin.
Rez Abbasi: guitars; Dan Weiss: drums; Johannes Weidenmueller: bass;
Vijay Iyer: piano; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Mike Block:
cello (2, 7); Kiran Ahluwalia: Indian vocals (2-4, 6).
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.