Last Call review: Rez Abbasi/Unfiltered Universe/Whirlwind Recordings

Mar 22, 2018

Guitarist Rez Abbasi presents a recording of superb original compositions that keep the listener engaged   on Unfiltered Universe. This new recording finds Rez Abbasi in the studio with two longtime associates-- Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa. Together on several recordings, and in their own roles as bandleaders, they have recorded a series of jazz efforts which fused jazz and South Asian music in ways not previously realized. The new recording adds touches of orchestral music into an already mesmerizing mix of jazz and impressions of Carnatic music to yield something entirely new.

Unfiltered Universe presents seven selections that do not disappoint. Highlights include the turbulent opener "Propensity" with breathtaking solo work from Mahanthappa and Abbasi. "Turn of Events", at over 12 minutes in length, is a textbook demonstration on how to gradually build up and release musical tension, with notable work from cellist Elizabeth Mikhael. "Disagree To Agree" sees the band at full burn with Johannes Weidenmueller on bass and Dan Weiss on drums adding to the searing voices of Iyer, Mahanthappa and Rez Abbasi, who takes off on a daring solo of his own in an already bold piece.   The closing selection, "Dance Number", features more spirited artistry from guitarist Abbasi and especially saxophonist Mahanthappa, who is followed by Iyer's piano which is perfectly suited for the occasion.    

Guitarist Rez Abbasi has made his home in New York City for over 20 years. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, he attended  school at the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music in jazz and classical music. Also, he studied with the master percussionist Ustad Alla Rakha and took a pilgrimage in India with the master percussionist.  Rez Abbasi has worked with some of the finest artists in jazz and contemporary music including Peter Erskine, Kenny Werner, Billy Hart, Dave Douglas and many more.

Last Call has featured Abbasi's recordings in previous years, including Bazaar(2007), Things To Come(2009), Suno Suno(2011) Continuous Beat(2012) and Intents and Purposes(2015). This latest disc a bold new statement and worth adding to your jazz library.

For more information you may visit