Rez Abbasi is a significant contributor to both the New York jazz scene and the emerging global jazz-fusion movement, and this latest recording from the Pakistani-American guitarist represents another step forward in the realization of his personal vision. Supporting Abbasi are alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthrappa and pianist Vijay Iyer, backed by drummer Dan Weiss and bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, with cellist Mike Block and vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia joining them on several tracks. Abbasi’s compositions are highly sophisticated and complex, containing myriad polyrhythmic crosscurrents and dynamic shifts, yet he and his crew brilliantly navigate these challenging waters without ever forsaking the groove or losing sight of the emotional landscape underlying them. Abbasi’s guitar playing is magnificent throughout, whether comping behind the other soloists, intertwining with Mahanthrappa’s scintillating sax excursions, or stepping out front. His tones are warm and seductive, and his superb phrasing and ornamentation elevate what would otherwise be merely formidable bop chops into the empyrean realms of fusion mastery. Sunnyside.
Rez Abbasi in a D’Angelico New Yorker state of mind.