Suno Suno


DownBeat Editors Pick
BY FRANK ALKYER

When I first listen to a CD, I generally start without reading anything about the recording. If I could, I’d just make it a totally blind listen, not even knowing who’s playing, just to attempt to be completely open-minded to what’s about to happen. That was pretty much the case with Suno Suno, the newest release from guitarist Rez Abbasi. Without paying attention to what slid into the CD player, Suno Sunolaunched, and it truly was a launch. I stopped what I was doing and sat for the next 70 minutes spellbound, before grabbing the liner notes, press materials and whatever else I could find to offer more insight into this stellar disc.

The first thing you hear on Suno Sunois the beautiful tone of Abbasi’s guitar, soon joined in unison by the equally embracing alto sax of Rudresh Mahanthappa on “Thanks For Giving.” Soon after, Vijay Iyer joins in with some beautiful piano soloing. All the while, Johannes Weidenmueller and Dan Weiss are killing it on bass and drums, respectively. This is a dream team of modern jazz, and this 13-minute piece alone is a major compositional achievement. Commissioned by Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Abbasi took inspiration from the Pakistani Qawwali music of his roots and channeled it into modern jazz composition. On that front, I can’t say whether he succeeds or not, because frankly, I’m not very familiar with Qawwali. But Abassi makes me want to find out more. On Suno Suno, which means “Listen Listen,” the group turns in a killer set packed with potent soloing. This is music full of power, chops and eternal groove. Qawwali is said to be devotional Sufi music, not unlike gospel, that’s meant to raise the spirit. Suno Suno delivers.

Washington Post Review

5 Star Review from the Denver Examiner

Top 10 Best / Somethin’ Else

Top 10 Best/ Philadelphia City Paper

Irish Times 4 Stars

Allaboutjazz.com

Critical Jazz

Top 10 (Ottawa Citizen)

Top 10 (Popmatters.com)

” A distinctive musical conception…Suno Suno is relentless and intense, and very Interesting.” Pasatiempo, New Mexico

” Rez Abbasi is living, breathing proof that jazz music can be as vital and boundary-pushing as ever.” AllAboutJazz.com

” True fusion music from a great Pakistani-American guitarist: jazz and rock and Pakistani music in a great, ingenious amalgam.” Popmatters.com

” Abbasi navigates these intriguing tunes with uncommon grace and technical fluidity, while eliciting gorgeous tones.” Guitar Player Magazine

“Expansive compositions with meaty soundscapes and intricate rhythms stretch time as well as geographical and musical borders on Suno Suno.” The New York City Jazz Record

“Winding, uniquely structured original compositions…Suno Suno achieves Abbasi’s goals with admirable subtlety and skill.” 4 Stars- Downbeat

Nextbop.com


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