It’s February in New York, and Rez Abbasi has just returned from a quick West Coast tour. “And believe me, I wish I was there right now,” he says, laughing. “Today the high here was 20 degrees, with a low of 5 degrees. We got back from California, and it’s such a different feeling.”
Abbasi, a guitarist and composer, is more comfortable out west than most. He grew up in Los Angeles, having moved there with his family from Karachi, Pakistan, at the age of 4. The Pakistani musical traditions, as well as those of neighboring India, have long infiltrated the music of his trio and, especially, his Invocation quintet, which features pianist Vijay Iyer and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa-both explorers of a similar jazz/South Asian hybrid.