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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Rez Abbasi

By John Kuhlman
Published April 27, 2007

Bazaar
Zoho Music

Bazaar finds the excellent guitar player Rez Abbasi leading a tight little combo through a brisk collection of elegantly unfolding Indo-fusion jazz charts. The music is intricate but open-ended, and pleasantly sprawling enough to allow not only Abassi to lay down exploratory solos, but for organist Gary Versace to do the same (he’s excellent throughout, opening up new spaces in the music every time he plays). The Indian flavors are refreshingly subtle throughout, with Abbasi able to switch effortlessly, sometimes within the same track, from electric guitar to “guitar-sitar,” while drummer Danny Weiss sounds as comfortable behind the tablas as a drum kit. But it’s Abbasi’s wife, Kiran Ahluwalia, who brings the Indian influence fully forward, with her smoky, traditional vocals soaring wordlessly over several of the tracks. It all may go down a little too smoothly for some, but there’s plenty to chew on here, even after several listens.