Though Rez Abbasi can handle hard bop and standards, it is as a fusion and post-bop player that the guitarist has been the most exciting. The L.A. native showed a great deal of promise as both a soloist and a composer on Third Ear, a solid fusion-oriented date employing Kenny Werner (acoustic piano), Marc Copland (electric keyboards), Peter Erskine (drums), the Yellowjackets' Bob Mintzer (tenor & soprano sax) and others. Abbasi isn't one to favor volume for the sake of volume, and his lyrical inclinations serve him well on such thoughtful originals as "For the Birds and the Bees," "Mood Sketch" and the mysterious, Weather Report-ish "Elephant Island." Abbasi's solos give the impression that he was listening to a lot of Pat Metheny at the time (along with some Bill Frisell), although by the late 1990s, Metheny's influence wouldn't be as prominent in his playing. This CD made it clear that Abbasi was someone to keep an eye on.
Third Ear Review
by Alex Henderson