Reviews

02 March 2016

Natural Selection

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“Mr. Abbasi succeeded in making some fairly cerebral intricacies feel intuitive and touched by a higher purpose. “Natural Selection” is an estimable release.” – New York Times

“Searching complexity… elegant eccentricity…unpredictable melodies…” 4 stars – Downbeat

“Curatorial skills are key in designing an album’s flow, and from the Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn opener to Joe Henderson’s “Punjab” at the tail end, the guitarist connects quite a few dots on the new Natural Selection. There’s something unique about the blend of Abbasi’s strings and Bill Ware’s vibraphone, and something even more unique about the well-coordinated dodgeball game he sanctions for his rhythm section.” – Village Voice

“The guitarist Rez Abbasi brings thoughtful clarity to a program of sharp originals and interesting covers, including a piece by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.” – New York Times

“Abbasi makes inventive use of the unusual, inviting textures, on a 10-song set with six of his tunes plus four artfully arranged pieces by name composers. Abbasi’s own compositions, though, are the standouts here…Call it deeply engaging, free-minded chamber-jazz.” – Jazztimes

“Natural Selection is undoubtedly one of Rez Abbasi’s most lyrically intoxicating sessions which in turn captures his acoustic voice brilliantly” – The Urban Flux

“Natural Selection is a miraculous collision of the world of the color and nuanced sound of the Subcontinent; the ululations of Middle Eastern “muwashas,” traipsing across desert and mountain; and the near statuesque beauty of European impressionism, all wrapped up in the improvisatory idiom of jazz. Producing so vivid a music that it can almost be tasted, Abbasi sounds like no one who has gone before him. His compositions are sheer genius that rise out of murky, misty mountainous mornings, or crepuscular exchanges between his guitar and Bill Ware‘s vibes, as well as Stephen Crump‘s bass and Eric McPherson‘s percussion smatter.” – All About Jazz

“This was a really well done album from a group that has found a unique sound and really made the most of it. The front line of acoustic guitar and vibes makes for a very compelling sound.” Jazzandblues.blogspot.com

“From the brilliant interpretation of vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Lament” to groundbreaking originals such as the Andrew Hillinspired “Up on the Hill” to the Indianinflected guitar duet take on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet’s Natural Selection teems with fresh ideas and soulful virtuoso musicianship.” Guitar Player Magazine

“Abbasi’s way of thinking through his solos in a linear way—reminiscent of his guitar hero Jim Hall—makes every line of music seem like a story putting you on the edge of your seat. The result is a unique and refreshing program of music.” Popmatters.com

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