Rez Abbasi

Rez Abbasi was born in the Indian subcontinent. He moved to Southern California at four years old to hear the sounds of jazz. Rez Abbasi, who has called New York his home for 15 years now, is widely considered to be the best modern jazz guitarist on the scene. Rez Abbasi has developed an unique sound as both a composer, and an instrumentalist. He has performed all over the world, including numerous tours in Europe, Canada and the U.S., Mexico, and India. He has recorded and performed with many jazz legends such as Ruth Brown, Kenny Werner and Tim Hagans, Barre Phillips and Kenny Werner, Marc Johnson and Billy Hart. His long-standing relationship with Tony Moreno, bassist David Phillips and John O’Gallagher, alto saxophonists, is one of his creative projects. Rez is also the musical director and producer of Kiran Ahluwalia, an Indian/Canadian Juno winner vocalist. He is also an integral part of Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Trio, Dakshani Ensemble and Dave Pietro’s Quintet as well as Sunny Jain’s Collective. Abbasi has five albums of original compositions and continues to attract new musicians to help him realize his musical vision. His 2005 album Snake Charmer caused a stir due to his unique and organic approach to blending two musical styles, Indian music and jazz, which he did in 2005. 20th Century Guitar described the CD as “One of the most innovative examples of how to combine Indian music and jazz…Snake Charmer truly breaks new ground.” Rez made even more waves in 2006 with Bazaar, his follow-up to Snake Charmer. Bazaar, released on the Zoho Music Label continues the group’s journey through unknown territory and achieves unparalleled results in the jazz/world music scene today. Rez wisely makes use of the talents of his fellow players to create a wider sphere of sound. Kiran Ahluwalia, who is a key member of the group, returns to play alongside Gary Versace on organ and Dan Weiss drums and tabla. Ahluwalia’s own group focuses on Indian ghazal and Punjabi folk songs. Abbasi adheres to Indian musical conventions in this segment. However, Abbasi and her group go far beyond Bazaar. Abbasi’s inspiration is so broad that guests are often invited to join him in realizing it. He has worked with fine musicians like Gary Thomas, Dave Liebman, and Peter Erskine in the past. Rudresh Mahanthappa on saxophones and Marc Mommaas (south Indian percussion) are his close collaborators for Bazaar. Abbasi stated, “To create world-based music steeped with jazz is my goal.” This is how I follow in the footsteps of great jazz musicians. Coltrane, Ellington, and Gillespie were all deeply involved in music from around the globe and brought it home. “If I can have that unifying effect, I’ve succeeded!” –

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