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Django​-​shift

by Rez Abbasi

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    High quality, 180 gram, 12" LP - comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats

    Includes unlimited streaming of Django-shift via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    edition of 300 
    Purchasable with gift card

      $9 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    High quality, 6 panel digifile with a velvety soft-touch laminate finish

    Includes unlimited streaming of Django-shift via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $2.50 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Comes with album artwork booklet PDF + album cover photo as a jpg
    Purchasable with gift card

      $10 USD  or more

     

1.
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Swing 42 05:32
3.
4.
5.
6.
Cavalerie 06:51
7.
8.
Hungaria 04:04
9.

about

PERSONNEL

Rez Abbasi - fretted and fretless acoustic guitars
Neil Alexander - organ, electronics and synthesizers
Michael Sarin - drums

ALBUM CREDITS

Recorded at Samurai Studios, Queens, NY
Recorded by Michael Marciano and Max Ross of Systems Two
Mixed by Max Ross and Michael Marciano
Mastered at Turtletone Studio by Michael Fossenkemper
Produced by Rez Abbasi
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Cover Photo by Tapatim
Graphic Design by Dave Bush
Photos by Kiran Ahluwalia

credits

released August 28, 2020

ABOUT THE ALBUM

Rez Abbasi has established an enviable reputation over the course of his fourteen album releases as leader: not simply as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, but also as a musical alchemist with the ability to parlay his continent-crossing range of influences into consistently fresh and innovative compositions and reframings of the tradition. His deep musicality has been applied with equal conviction to contemporary New York acoustic jazz, the Qawwali and Indian Classical traditions of South Asia and the heady fusion sounds of the 1970s, each time applying the filter of his own musical personality to deliver inimitable results. Commissioned to present a project on Django Reinhardt from the Freight & Salvage’s Django Festival in California, he boldly redefined his engagement by turning the focus away from Django, the codifier of the Sinti guitar vocabulary, and onto Django, the composer. For Django-shift Abbasi keenly listened to Django’s full catalogue of music before choosing seven of his original pieces and two classic tunes that Django was greatly associated with. The arrangements were soon created for a contemporary trio format, with Neil Alexander on organ and electronics and Michael Sarin on drums. The results give a fascinating and original insight into an often overlooked attribute of Django’s genius.

Abbasi has kept Djangos’ melodies intact and then infused each piece with his own compositional voice, adding elements of metric and harmonic expansion and allowing his collaborators room to add their own personalities to the mix. “Neil tells a story when he improvises – he has a storehouse of musical knowledge but never just plays licks, which has always been central in my own approach to improvising. I’ve been playing with Michael for 25 years and he remains one of my favourite drummers. Both are very creative in how they sustain yet depart from various musical traditions, which is what it’s all about for me. I live that!”

‘Diminishing’ is couched in a 6/8 feel and viewed through the lens of Abbasi’s profound engagement with another great jazz composer, Thelonious Monk. “When I was working on Django-shift I was also immersed in Robin Kelley’s book on Thelonious Monk. It influenced me in surprising ways and I started hearing connections in their compositions. There’s a joy and bounce within both their styles so I approached arranging a few of Django’s tunes with Monk in mind.” For ‘Swing 42’ Abbasi created an opaque bass line in a 7 beat cycle as a counterpoint to the more direct melody before positioning the band towards a freer section for the solos, climaxing in a rhythmic contraction inspired by Carnatic music. ‘Heavy Artillery’ has a folk-like chordal guitar intro before moving into the solid blues-tinged main theme, while ‘Django’s Castle’ is enlivened by altered harmony and the characterful voices of Abbasi’s otherworldly fretless guitar playing and Alexander’s scintillating synth solo. ‘Anniversary Song’ was a favourite of Django’s, here re-presented with a very contemporary breakdown and a natural-sounding odd-meter groove: “I wanted to capture the forward momentum of classic swing, but not with a straight four-to-the-floor feel.” The band delivers ‘Cavalerie’ with a deceptively simple mid-tempo reading, though Abbasi adds his own personality through subtle rhythmic and harmonic extensions, while the normally up-tempo ‘Douce Ambience’ unfolds beautifully as a newly arranged ballad. ‘Hungaria’ expresses the playful nature of the band’s approach with camouflaged metrical shifts and rousing, joyful solo trades and an impressive feature for Sarin. To conclude, Kurt Weill’s ‘September Song’ is transformed into a textural duo on fretless guitar and organ with the subtlest of rubatos for a memorable sign-off.

By radically recontextualising the compositions, Abbasi has taken his own journey towards the essence of Django’s music. “One of the stronger feelings I get from Django’s music is euphoria, and I resonate deeply with that, but equally enjoy the darker phenomena of music – both sides of the coin! I didn’t realize how prolific a composer Django was until working on this recording because the focus had always been on his heroic playing. I hope Django-shift introduces this aspect of his genius to a broader audience that may have also been hypnotized by his playing.” These unique interpretations, alive with imaginative compositional interpolations and inspired improvisations, reframe this timeless music for the modern age.

PRESS HIGHLIGHTS

"Abbasi has found an exciting way to present legendary material in an up-to-date style."
Wall Street Journal

"Abbasi and his colleagues cast Reinhardt's music in a whole new light... updating it with skill and imagination."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann

"Abbasi mixes lucidity, sentiment and discord to make the songs his own."
★★★★ All About Jazz

"The guitarist focuses on Reinh compositional style and melodic sensibility to bring this music into the present."
★★★★ DownBeat Magazine

"Abbasi can turn just about anything into something special and uniquely his own."
★★★★ All About Jazz

"An admirable blend of virtuosity and audacity."
★★★★ The Absolute Sound

"Abbasi surprises by giving another twist to the genre...The aural associations are multiple but enticingly hard to place, making for an exhilarating listening experience."
★★★★★ UK Vibe

"Challenging, rewarding... timbrally unique."
CD Hotlist

"[Abbasi] is one of the most significant creators of his generation –  an exciting listen."
Jazzma

"[Abbasi] thrusts seven Django originals joyously into the immediate present."
The Rehearsal Studio

"Strikingly original."
Fanfare Magazine

"A personal journey towards the essence of the legendary Django Reinhardt."
Jazziz

"A modern, groove-based version of some great songs by a trio that puts the originals into the context of today's music."
Bebop Spoken Here

"Abbasi revels in seducing fresh lines from melodies we thought we knew so well."
Jazzwise Magazine

“Abbasi delivers his best playing ever."
Jazz Guitar Today 

"This set features Abbasi’s trio working through multiple implications, interpretations and deconstructions that give the tunes a contemporary, vibrant edge."
Jazz Views

"A marvellous advertisement for Django Reinhardt’s music... [he] would have loved it."
Sandy Brown Jazz

"Reinhardt's tunes are immersed in fresh and compelling contemporaneity."
AXE Guitar Magazine

“Abbasi delivers his best playing ever.“
Jazz Guitar Today

"From very early on, Abbasi has been able to create his own style and sound in the saturated post-modern jazz topographies."
All About Jazz

"Abbasi revels in seducing fresh lines from melodies we thought we knew so well."
Jazzwise Magazine

"Thought-provoking music, worthy of several listens for those with open ears."
LA Jazz Scene

"Abbasi [offers] a homage that’s captivating and deeply resonant."
JazzTimes

"Fervently free of nostalgia... an appealingly off-kilter charm is generated."
The New Yorker

"Abbasi does not merely reinterpret the Reinhardt songbook, but brilliantly deconstructs it."
Chicago Jazz Magazine

"Abbasi keeps one foot in the jazz tradition, but is not locked into it, always looking for new colors to add to the palate."
Jazz Weekly

"Abassi’s sumptuous tone and emotive interpretation of this classic are beyond compare."
The Whole Note

"Contemporary yet classic... Abbasi's playing and Neil Alexander's electronics nudge the sound into the present day."
Shepherd Express

"Abbasi's solos establish him in the world of the grandees of guitar jazz."
Jazz'halo

“A work of great intellect and emotion… a great success.”
Le Soufflé Bleu

"A fascinating and original insight into Django Reinhardt's genius."
RheinMain Magazine

"Swing and cool groove coming in this impressive interpretation."
Saarbrücker Zeitung

“This concoction is rather unique, a fresh take blending lesser known Reinhardt tunes with Abbasi’s creative genius.”
O’s Place Jazz Magazine

"A fascinating and original insight into Django Reinhardt's genius."
Rhein Main Magazine

"Rarely has such a special appreciation been given as Rez Abbasi on Django-Shift... An intuitive way of approaching compositions is a hallmark of Abbasi's way of working."
Image Hifi Magazine

"Reinhardt's compositions go through a character filter and end up in completely new creations."
★★★★ Concerto Magazine

"Abbasi's playing is technically flawless."
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The Whirlwind Artist Page for guitarist, composer, arranger and film scorer Rez Abbasi.

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