All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Rez Abbasi: Unfiltered Universe

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Rez Abbasi was born in Karachi, Pakistan but at the age of four his family moved to Los Angeles and at eleven he started learning guitar. Whilst there are undoubtedly some South Asian influences in his compositions, these are generally incidental or to be found "under the radar" as Abbasi himself puts it. In any case the music surely transcends geographical boundaries. With a brace of ten albums to his name, this is Abbasi's follow-up to 2016's Behind The Vibration but is also the third in a trilogy he started to record with his group Invocation in 2008.

The opener "Propensity" does admittedly display some passing South Asian influences in its opening statement, and hot on the heels of Rudresh Mahanthappa's frenetic alto solo, Abassi solos with breathtaking glissando runs. The title track, augmented by Elizabeth Mikhael on cello, is perhaps the nearest this album gets to the generally perceived notion of chamber jazz, but even here it defies that generic description. The album was actually commissioned by Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Suffice it to say both organizations got their money's worth and more besides.

The short "Thoughts" constitutes a solo pyrotechnic display from Abbasi, his guitar notably enhanced by synth-like electronic effects. "Thin-King" has a mesmeric off-kilter rhythm which propels the piece along and a keen pizzicato bass solo from Johannes Weidenmueller. "Turn Of Events" the longest track on the album at nearly twelve minutes, subtly builds the tension, embellished by legato cello notes, achieving a release with a cascade of notes, only to die down to its pastoral opening and finally resolving in a short ensemble coda. The frenetic paced "Disagree To Agree" benefits from a fine staccato piano solo from Vijay Iyer and Mahanthappa and Abbasi compete in the coruscating stakes, making it compulsive listening as the guitarist takes his instrument to new places ripe for exploration.

The closer, "Dance Number" begins with a vaguely Eastern head but rapidly transmutes into a groove-laden piece dominated by Abbasi's strident and fluid guitar and subsequently by Mahanthappa's florid alto and Iyer's lustrous piano. An imaginative composer and guitarist of considerable virtuosity, plus an ensemble of immense talent, are all factors that make this high calibre album, imbued with unfettered vigour and intrigue, a most satisfying affair.

Track Listing: Propensity; Unfiltered Universe; Thoughts; Thin-King; Turn Of Events; Disagree To Agree; Dance Number.

Personnel: Rez Abbasi: guitar; Vijay Iyer: piano; Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto saxophone; Johannes Weidenmueller: double bass; Dan Weiss: drums; Elizabeth Mikhael: cello.

Title: Unfiltered Universe | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Unfiltered Universe

Unfiltered Universe

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2017

buy
Behind the Vibration

Behind the Vibration

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy
Intents and Purposes

Intents and Purposes

Enja Records
2015

buy
Continuous Beat

Continuous Beat

Enja Records
2013

buy
Continuous Beat

Continuous Beat

Enja Records
2012

buy
Suno Suno

Suno Suno

Enja Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Faroe CD/LP/Track Review
Faroe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2018
Read The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale CD/LP/Track Review
The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves CD/LP/Track Review
Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 15, 2018
Read A Journey CD/LP/Track Review
A Journey
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Decay Of The Angel CD/LP/Track Review
Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica CD/LP/Track Review
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "Great Lakes" CD/LP/Track Review Great Lakes
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Dart Drug" CD/LP/Track Review Dart Drug
by Chris May
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Dreams
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Blued Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Blued Dharma
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 29, 2018
Read "Ellipse" CD/LP/Track Review Ellipse
by Matt Hooke
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Two in a Box" CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017