March 14, 2005
One of the New York jazz scene’s best-kept secrets, Abbasi has served as a sideman to numerous greats, as well as releasing three solo albums. On Snake Charmer, the Indian-born/Los Angles-raised virtuoso moves even more deeply into East-West jazz fusion than previously, fusing the two traditions at the heart, rather than simply grafting bits of one onto the other. His guitar and sitar-guitar work draws heavily from Indian sources while never fully severing the connection to American jazz harmony. Ditto his compositions, which typically employ odd time signatures, complex rhythmic phrasing, and exotic harmonic environments. Accompanying Abbasi are organist Gary Versace, drummer Danny Weis, soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, and Indian vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia. If you are a fan of Shakti, Trilok Gurtu, George Brooks, and other world-jazz fusion masters, you will probably be knocked-out by this record. Earth Sounds.