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8/10 Avi
 

ABBASI, REZ ACOUSTIC QUARTET - Intents and Purposes - CD - Enja - 2015

This new release by a quartet led by Pakistan-born, American guitarist Rez Abbasi is exciting in concept: revisiting classic jazz-rock material in acoustic form. It is an opportunity to shine the light on compositions in a genre which is sometimes dismissed by jazz fans for its masked tones; a chance to show the quality of these pieces as timeless compositions.

It's not that this has not been done before, and even the original artists themselves attempted an acoustic take on their compositions every once in a while; some even preconceived the music as acoustic. Chick Corea is good example of both practices, as the 1973 Crystal Silence - his joint venture with vibraphonist Gary Burton - showed him revisiting his Return To Forever tunes as well as spawning new ones for future Return To Forever efforts. Still, it is nice to hear an outsider, who self-proclaims to have revealed this music only recently and thus has no sentiments towards it, seizes the potential, and giving these compositions new life.

And it is indeed lively. The reading of Corea's "Medieval Overture" is perhaps the prime cut here in that regards (wrongfully listed as track #4, where it is in fact track #5; switched with a calmer, outstretching version of McLaughlin's "Resolution," which originally closed Mahavishnu Orchestra's 1973 Birds of Fire with an eruption). The drumming is intense yet breezy, carried even more brightly by the dominant presence of the vibraphone, and the guitar maintains the vividness whereas the acoustic bass features (both arco and pizzicato) tinge the regal, medieval feast with reflective tones.

The vibraphone plays a major role in corresponding with some of the original vibe of the compositions, as it adds a slight organ-like touch to the music and as such hints at the electric side of jazz-rock.

Abbasi's guitar playing is commendable - not necessarily technically but more in terms of tremor and in keeping the original lines - typically speedy and dense with notes - sparking while offering a cleaner, barer voice. This can easily be heard on Abbasi's version of Larry Coryell's "Low-Lee-Tah," on which he reinvents the original tune as a guitar duo. (8/10)

 

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ISSUE 77
ALBUM REVIEWS

(A-C)  (D-G)  (G-J)  (K-M)  (M-O)  (O-R)  (S-T)  (T-Z)

ABBASI, REZ ACO...
Intents and Pur

ACCORDO DEI CON...
Adc

BARNES, MAHALIA...
OOH YEA The Bet

BODY POLITIC, T...
Egressor

BRUCE, JACK
The 50th Birthd

BULLHOUNDS, THE
Protector

CHROME HOOF
Chrome Black Go

CREINIUM
Project Utopia

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