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Below, you'll find a compilation of all album reviews done by local KIOS jazz and blues staff.

January Last Call CD Reviews: Rez Abbasi Trio/Continuous Beat & Kurt Rosenwinkel/ Star of Jupiter


This month Last Call celebrates its 17th anniversary on the air with a consideration: What is the state of the guitar in progressive jazz?  To answer that, it's helpful to review the arc of the instrument since the 1960s. Guitarists such as Wes Montgomery & Larry Coryell made very important contributions in that decade; also one must acknowledge the huge influence of rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix on jazz & the decision by many jazz artists to "plug in" during the late 1960s. A young guitarist emerged in the 1970s who made an immense impact on the jazz scene with his deep, brilliant artistry. Guitarist Pat Metheny has done much to shape the direction of the instrument in the last few decades. Our featured artists for January continue in that trailblazing direction with highly individual new recordings.     

Rez Abbasi's latest session, Continuous Beat, is another mesmerizing entry from this accomplished guitarist. His work has been featured regularly on The Last Call over the years and for good reason--he is a very unique, highly individual voice on the instrument.  Abbasi's band is not a one-time session musician convergence but a trio that has performed and toured together intermittently for more than 15 years. Abbasi is joined by bassist John Hebert and percussionist Santoshi Takeishi. Together they cover a program of originals by the guitarist with interesting cover tune choices, their presentation of Keith Jarrett's "The Cure" is  quite remarkable. There is also a moving solo performance by Abbasi of "Star Spangled Banner" which reminds this listener of the mellow,  warm sign-off music hear on some television stations in an earlier era of broadcasting.  All in all, a very satisfying release.

Kurt Rosenwinkel has also been featured on the Last Call many times over the years.  Of late he has released a compelling two disc set, Star of Jupiter. Based on a transcendent mystical experience the guitarist had, the record features Rosenwinkel's artistry--firmly grounded in the the fundamentals of swing but soaring into celestial dimensions of emotion. Rosenwinkel has selected some of the most interesting artists on today's scene for this effort. The guitarist who also supplies wordless vocals is joinged by Aaron Parks on piano, Rhodes, organ, Wurlitzer, tack piano; Eric Revis: acoustic bass and Justin Faulkner: drums. The date begins with the explosive "Gamma Band" which sets the mood for what is to follow. Fans of Rosenwinkel will not be disappointed with compelling tracks such as "Heavenly Bodies", "Spirit Kiss" and "Star of Jupiter'. The guitarist's thoroughly modern voice on his instrument leads a band of sympathetic instrumentalists on a program which like Abbasi's latest disc sets a new bar for modern guitar-led band recordings. Highly recommended.

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