Rising modern jazz talents collaborate in a unique and engaging concert series when the Rez Abbasi/Christian Howes Quartet makes public appearances March 30th April 15. They will treat audiences to their unique blend of jazz, combining a mid-western mentality with the exoticism of India, utilizing a hybrid instrument called the sitar-guitar. Abbasi comments, "The strings of the guitar and violin played together form a texture rarely heard in modern jazz and, in the hands of Christian and myself, the music takes on a freshness from the first notes of each composition." Howes continues, "Working with Rez on this tour is a win-win situation for everybody, especially for the audiences who can benefit from a cool collaboration that feels very New York but is in part concocted in Ohio." The group is rounded out by up and coming pianist/organist Gary Versace and versatile drummer Sunny Jain.
The tour opens with a performance in New York City on March 30th at the Cornelia’s Street Café before heading off to the mid-west.
3/31 Dick's Den, Columbus, OH.
4/1 Cincinnati Playhouse- Cincinnati, OH.
4/2 Lawrence College, Madison, WI.
4/3 Northland College, Ashland Wisconsin
4/5 Jazzmines, Minneapolis, MN
4/6 The Velvet Lounge, Chicago
4/7 Dick's Den, Columbus Ohio 10-2 , (Suzuki clinics daytime)
4/8 Denison University, Granville Ohio 4 p.m. clinic 10 p.m. "coffeehouse" concert
4/11 The BOB, Grand Rapids, Michigan
4/12 The Firefly, Ann Arbor, Michigan (daytime clinics at Mich U)
4/13 Tri-C Jazz Festival, Cleveland. Ohio 2 P.M.
4/15 Blues Alley, Wash D.C.
Born in Pakistan, raised in California and residing in New York for the past twelve years, guitarist/composer Rez Abbasi is a vivid synthesis of his influences. He has shared the stage with musicians such as Ruth Brown, Victor Lewis, Gary Thomas, Ken Werner, Barre Phillips and many others. His three recordings as a leader have featured the likes of Peter Erskine, Billy Drewes, Marc Johnson, Gary Thomas, Michael Formanek, Russ Lossing and more. Although improvised jazz is certainly his baseline art, Rez's delvings into musical traditions of other cultures inform his musical vision.
These propensities and gifts, although in abundant evidence in his previous two CDs, "Third Ear" which features the great Peter Erskine and "Modern Memory" which features the heralded Gary Thomas, have never been more dramatically and exquisitely manifested than in his most recent release, "Out Of Body", featuring Tony Malaby, Ron Horton, John Hebert and Bruce Hall. No less a critic than the impeccable Bill Milkowski has written of Rez's work "his unpredictable phrasing and accomplished writing are what sets Abbasi apart from hordes of other technically adept guitarists." Allaboutjazz.com critic David Adler says "Abbasi is probably the most underrated guitarist in New York." All CDs are available through www.reztone.com.
Christian Howes, classically trained since the age five, changed his professional career focus to jazz in 1996 and hasn’t looked back, releasing two CDs through his own Accent Productions to critical acclaim. Of Howes debut album "Confluence" and follow up CD "Ten Yard", Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times writes: "Howes’ playing on both albums is exceptional. Fans often refer to him as the ‘Jimi Hendrix of jazz violin’, and there are tracks in which he whips a Hendrix-like array of startling effects from his instrument. But Howes is a jazz player, first and foremost- one whose solid, classically trained technique provides the freedom to fully express an expansive improvisational imagination." Legendary guitarist and visionary Les Paul says "It used to be you could hardly find a good jazz violinist. Nowadays there are four or five really good players, but there is nobody better than this guy." Christians new CD was recorded in Spain and will soon be available through Christianhowes.com.