Rez Abbasi

Out of Body

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Out of Body is guitarist Rez Abbasi's third outing as a leader, and his most focused and mature work to date. Joined by tenor/soprano saxophonist Tony Malaby, trumpeter Ron Horton, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Bruce Hall, Abbasi again relies on eclectic, advanced compositional devices and a sparkling solid-body guitar tone to convey his message. He opts for some biting overdrive on the opening "To Your Perfection" and the dark, hypnotically grooving "Ganges." (The latter, about halfway through, falls to a hush for a remarkable Horton soliloquy.) Abbasi also plays acoustic guitar beautifully on the two ballads, "Phosphor Colors" and "Smile at Darkness," creating moments of sparse, elevated dialogue with the rhythm section. And he launches an inspired round robin of solos with the horns on the swinging "Gold Rush." "Half the Battle," one of the more ambitious tracks, plays out like a suite in three parts, even though it's under eight minutes long. Other highlights include the three-plus-four groove of the title track, the freebop frenzy of "Winner's Circle," and the slow, quirky shuffle of the closing "Dark Bones," an effective feature for Hebert. An intricate, unpredictable, and cleanly recorded statement by one of New York's most virtuosic (and underrated) guitarists.

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