Sitar God

Steeped in his native Pakistani music, So Cal surf music (he was a teen out here) and NYC's avant jazz and rock and groove, Rez Abbasi's album Bazaar blends those strains. Abbasi plays a pretty mean electric sitar (you remember the thing from the opening vamp on the Spinners classic "It's a Shame"), and his quartet (with Gary Versace on the Hammond organ, Danny Weiss on drums and tabla, plus various Indo-jazz men) jams hard. It's the kind of thing that will appeal to you edgier jazz fans, you fusion freaks, you old hippies who once tripped hard to East/West, all the intellectual rock fans clutching their Can box sets and all you world-fusion types out there who dig Trilok Gurtu's stuff. We dig the album a lot. And an added bonus is the presence of Abbasi's wife, Kiran Ahluwalia, who herself has managed a pretty remarkable westernized take on Pakistani ghazal music. NYC is a focal point for the merger of western and eastern musics — Indian, Arab, Gypsy, Jewish, Persian — though the idea is still a novel one out here. You might want to check this one out. Thu., Feb. 28, 2008


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