All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Unfiltered Universe

Unfiltered Universe

Whirlwind Recordings
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 Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Whatever Possessed Me" CD/LP/Track Review Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "From Outer Space" CD/LP/Track Review From Outer Space
by Thad Aerts
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Innerpeace: Rare Spiritual Funk And Jazz Gems" CD/LP/Track Review Innerpeace: Rare Spiritual Funk And Jazz Gems
by Chris May
Published: August 11, 2018
Read "Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn" CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Tenderly featuring Gilad Hekselman" CD/LP/Track Review Tenderly featuring Gilad Hekselman
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 2, 2018