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Rez Abbasi: Out of Body

Born in Pakistan, raised in California, and now living in New York City, Rez Abbasi approaches music from multidimensional, multicultural perspectives, witnessed by the performances on Out of Body (Feroza Music), a collection of dynamic, extended originals. Abbasi’s electric guitar voice recalls players like Di Meola and Gambale, while his fluid acoustic work displays Middle Eastern and other relatively exotic influences (he also plays a variety of percussion instruments, including tablas).

High-energy quintet performances like “To Your Perfection,” “Winners Circle” and “Ganges” feature elaborate arrangements executed by saxophonist Tony Malby and trumpeter Ron Horton, who set the stage for Abbasi’s frequently angular, convoluted lines that are sometimes searing but always fluent. In contrast, the more intimate material, including “Phosphor Colors,” where the acoustic guitar solo occasionally sounds like a sarod, invariably features intriguing grooves and gorgeous melodies. “Dark Bones,” with its Gershwin meets Mahavishnu vibe, brings this exercise in creative, kaleidoscopic eclecticism to a close.

Originally Published