Rez Abbasi Snake Charmer

New York-based guitarist Rez Abbasi may have flirted with Eastern musical concepts on past recordings but his Pakistani heritage comes into play in a big way on Snake Charmer. Born in Asia but raised in L.A., Abbasi's references up to now have been from the jazz canon. Jim Hall, Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell influenced his post-bop sound and vision through his first three releases. No two records were exactly alike but each one was firmly in the tradition. That all changes with Snake Charmer. The sound emanates from a guitar/organ/drums jazz trio, but every aspect of the album has been shaped by Eastern concepts. Abbasi met Indo-Canadian vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia during the sessions, which might help explain the shift in musical direction. The guitarist is now a member of her band and the couple married last December. Ahluwalia's vocals take the music far outside the jazz realm while maintaining its improvisational dynamic. Percussionist Danny Weiss is equally adept at Western and Eastern rhythms while Abbasi dispenses with six strings at times to play an electric sitar/guitar. (Earth Sounds)