REZ ABBASI
“In his hands, the globe’s music feels relentlessly new and progressive.”
- LA Times

"absorbing...engaging...and he’s judicious with his impressively fluent technique."
- New York Times

Born in Pakistan’s teeming commercial metropolis Karachi and raised in Southern California, Abbasi is anything but a usual jazz player himself. He’s spent his creative life navigating the crossroads of disparate musical realms.

While best known for his work as an improviser, and composer, Abbasi also performs internationally with Kiran Ahluwalia, and serves as musical director, arranger and producer in their evolving artistic collaboration. Their creatively charged relationship has resulted in several Juno Award-winning albums hailed as world music masterpieces (such as 2008’s Wanderlust and 2011’s collaboration with Tuareg rockers Tinariwen, Aam Zameen/Common Ground). Over the years he’s performed with a dazzling pantheon of giants such as Ruth Brown, Peter Erskine, Kenny Werner, Barre Phillips, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, Gary Thomas, Dave Douglas, Mike Clark, Ronu Majumdar, Kadri Gopalnath, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Greg Osby, Howard Levy and many others.


BEHIND THE VIBRATION



RUNE 424

A junction is the point at which several things converge. For the visionary and award-winning jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi, his new band Junction weaves together musical currents he’s spent his career navigating. Abbasi has been at the center of some of the most enthralling and culturally expansive music of the past two decades, and his Cuneiform debut Behind the Vibration introduces a bracing new body of music, a sinewy 21st century approach to jazz-rock inspired by his far-flung influences.

In myriad inspired collaborations, from the South Asian jazz synthesis of alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coaltion to the Punjab-meets-Tuareg vocal flights of Kiran Ahluwalia, Abbasi has manifested an uncommon gift for creating new sounds in settings deeply inflected by traditional forms. In his own projects, the Pakistani-American musician has displayed similarly fierce creativity, like his gorgeous unplugged reimagining of jazz-rock classics with the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet’s (RAAQ) critically hailed 2015 album Intents and Purposes (Enja), and his all-star quintet (and sometimes sextet) Invocation with Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, drummer Dan Weiss, (and latest addition cellist Elizabeth Means).

“Everything I do musically is stimulated by call and response,” Abbasi says. “I did the Acoustic Quartet project of covers from the ‘70s jazz-rock period and that impacted me to want to do an electric project of all originals. The new album reflects a continuum of what I’ve been doing all along – finding fresh orchestrations to present my music through. In some ways this project connects me more directly back to my first love, the energy that comes out of rock music. I wrote new tunes for this band and it was time for all these musical worlds to collide.”

Junction, the electric project that Abbasi formed to bring his original tunes to life, features Mark Shim on tenor saxophone and the electronic MIDI Wind Controller, Ben Stivers on keyboards, B-3 organ and Rhodes, and drummer Kenny Grohowski. The band is a supremely maleable ensemble that has forged a poised and texturally accute group approach. While exploring a vivid palette of electronic sounds and aggressive grooves, Junction maintains the dynamics, precise calibration, and interactive imperative of an inspired jazz ‘acoustic’ combo.

With this newest album, Behind the Vibration, realized via his new electric Junction, Abbasi takes another bold step, embracing his rock ‘n’ roll roots with a bear hug that encompasses post-bop, South Asian traditions, and state of the art sonics. “More than anything that I’ve ever recorded, this album is the convergence of everything I’m interested in,” he says. “The musicians I’ve chosen are versatile enough to pull it off. It’s not only all of the influences that have come up to this point, it’s also the process of merging it with the technology of today. This is music that could’ve only happened now.”.

Behind the Vibration press release

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Behind the Vibration

PRESS RELEASES
Behind the Vibration press release

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