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As aromatic soundscapes go, this is none too shabby, with spicy jazz phrases and cool karma to carry you off into the mystery.
Comprehending the vastness of music’s evolution over almost a century, even in terms of jazz and world music alone, can be pretty mind-blowing – yet New York-based guitarist/composer Rez Abbasi spans that arc with an original release of quintet music based on A Throw of Dice (A Romance of India), a vintage black-and-white Indian-German silent film from 1929. Inspired by ragas and Indian rhythms, Abbasi has created a sequence of richly aromatic soundscapes which, importantly, reflect his own jazz, western classical and rock music personality. This began as a musical narrative – a through-composed “collaboration with Indian and cinematography history” with both scored and improvisatory responses to on-screen action. Yet away from the visuals it’s a striking creation, integrated and brought to life by each member playing multiple instruments; standard jazz instrumentation augmented by sitar-guitar, cello, bansuri flute, ghatam, mridangam and kanjira. Rez Abbasi is an artist who continually pushes boundaries in meaningful ways. Born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in Southern California since age four, he studied jazz and classical music at the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music, supplemented by a pilgrimage in India under the guidance of master percussionist Ustad Alla Rakha. Voted #1 “Rising-Star Guitarist” in 2013’s DownBeat Critics Poll and subsequently placed in the "Top-Ten Guitarists" alongside luminaries Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny, Abbasi has become one of the most original voices on the current scene. Making New York home for the past 25 years, the guitarist’s unique playing and composing can be heard on his now thirteen albums. Garnering multiple awards and composition commissions, Rez Abbasi continues to find creative ways to enrich diverse audiences with his musical projects.
Mystery Rising; Hopeful Impressions; Love Prevails; Facing Truth; Amulet and Dagger; Blissful Moments; Seven Days Until News; Duplicity; Jugglers; Snake Bite; Moving Forward; Wedding Preparation; Morning Of The Wedding; Gambling Debt; Boy Changes Fate; Falsehood; Changing Worlds; Chase For Liberation.
Rez Abbasi: guitars, electric sitar-guitar; Pawan Benjamin: saxophones, western flute, bansuri; Jennifer Vincent: cell, bass; Rohan Khrisnamurthy: mridangam, ghatam, khanjira; Jake Goldblas: drum set.
October 16, 2019
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