Exposé Online banner

Rez Abbasi & Junction — Behind the Vibration
(Cuneiform Rune 424, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-09-19

Behind the Vibration Cover art

The interaction of memory and mood can be an interesting thing. There are times, after wading through a stack of less-than-wonderful CDs, that it seems like the world is full of musicians who just aren’t very good, either from a technical or a creative standpoint. Then a few of good things come along and the cynicism goes out the window — it seems like the world is brimming with talented people laying down amazing tracks. Swinging between those opposites may be nearly inevitable given the random nature of what a reviewer is confronted with, so it’s always an effort to try to keep some perspective. It sometimes happens that a good CD in the middle of a stack of junk gets tainted by its surroundings, which is a big reason that snap judgements are dangerous. Which gets me around to Rez Abbasi’s Cuneiform debut, Behind the Vibration. The first listen must have come in one of those negative spells, because I set it aside without really taking it in. Luckily, I came back to it, and the growing started. Abbasi is a Pakistan-born American guitarist, and from looking through his back catalog, influences from South Asia and the Middle East have always been part of his style. As a guitarist, he reminds me most of Bill Frisell, with tinges of Pat Metheny and Fareed Haque, though I don’t find his playing derivative or imitative. His collaborators on this venture are Mark Shim (tenor sax, MIDI wind controller), Ben Stivers (keyboards), and Kenny Grohowski (drums). Stivers mainly sticks to Rhodes electric piano and Hammond organ, with some synth lead parts thrown in, so there’s a clear vintage vibe on the keyboard side. The synth parts bring to mind Joe Zawinul, which provides an interesting Weather Report meets early Allan Holdsworth sort of sound. No weak links here — this band fires on all cylinders and has no dull moments. And I hardly notice the lack of a bass in the group. The tunes are well written, with interesting melodies and chords.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Rez Abbasi

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/behind-the-vibration

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bevel - Phoenician Terrane – I’m generally a big fan of music born of lofty ambition, even if it doesn’t entirely succeed, but there’s something to be said for a modest recording that accomplishes its goals completely. Via...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues