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

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tom Heasley & Toss Panos - Passages – For those who admire purely timbral musics, Tom Heasley and Toss Panos have put together more than an hour of inventive, often original work based wholly on the tuba and percussion. Original because...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues