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Rez Abbasi

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A flexible guitarist who plays mostly fusion but can also handle post-bop, hard bop and standards, Rez Abbasi showed a lot of promise playing around New York in the 1990s. The improviser was born in Karachi, Pakistan and lived there as a baby; he was only three when his parents moved to Los Angeles, where he was raised. Abbasi, who grew up speaking English as his primary language and doesn't speak with even a trace of a Middle Eastern accent, was 22 when he moved to New York in 1987. Abbasi considers Jim Hall his earliest influence on guitar, and Pat Metheny influenced both his playing and writing when he recorded his first album, Third Ear, in 1991-1992. However, Metheny became less of an influence on Abbasi as the 1990s progressed. The mid- to late-'90s found Abbasi (who is also influenced by Bill Frisell) continuing to do a lot of writing and playing his share of Manhattan club dates, while paying the bills with "day gigs" as a music teacher; he recorded Modern Memory in 1996. ~ Alex Henderson


August 27, 1965 in Karachi, Pakistan

Years Active:

'90s, '00s