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Rez Abbasi: Snake Charmer

Rez Abbasi’s fourth release as leader, Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds), is at its core an organ trio outing with Gary Versace and drummer Danny Weiss. But the conventionality stops there. For some time the underrated, Pakistan-born guitarist has brought South Asian influences to his adventurous writing. Here he spends time on the electric sitar guitar, an instrument that serves his hyper-advanced phrasing well. His clean-toned solidbody work on “Tantra,” “Kismet” and the title track is fast and fierce. Dave Liebman lends his soprano sax wisdom to “Pearl” and “Rumi,” the latter an effective feature for Abbasi’s acoustic guitar. Vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia appears on three tracks, including the closer, “Thanks for Nothingness.” Weiss plays tabla on two pieces and begins “Kismet” with several bars of highly convincing konnakol (vocal percussion). Fans of John Abercrombie’s Timeless might hear similarities in this group’s spontaneous, spacious feel and raw attack.

Originally Published