Rez Abbasi

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Rez Abbasi
Rez-abbasi DSC01770.jpg
Background information
Born(1965-08-27)August 27, 1965
Karachi, Pakistan
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, Indian classical
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
Years active1990–present
LabelsSunnyside, Enja, Cuneiform
Spouse(s)Kiran Ahluwalia

Rez Abbasi (born August 27, 1965) is a Pakistan-born American jazz guitarist, composer, and record producer based in New York City.


Abbasi was born in Karachi, Pakistan.[1] When he was four, his family moved to Los Angeles, and at eleven he started learning guitar. He spent his early teens playing in rock bands. Inspired at a concert featuring vocalist Ella Fitzgerald and guitarist Joe Pass, he began to pursue jazz and classical music.

Abbasi studied guitar at the University of Southern California and at the Manhattan School of Music.[1] After graduating in 1989, he spent a couple months in India studying tabla with Alla Rakha, which kindled an interest in the music of India and Pakistan.[2][3]

He traveled to India to study under master tabla player Ustad Alla Rakha, to develop an East-West fusion style.[4] However, as he told Guitar Player magazine, "I’ve never studied the sitar or the sarod because to really learn to play either of them I would have had to give up everything else. So, I learned some of the techniques on what you might call a jazz street level. ... [I] have been influenced by rock and roll and jazz and other music since I was a kid."

He has been a member of the Indo-Pak Coalition and Dakshani, two groups led by saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, and has played and arranged for his wife and singer Kiran Ahluwalia. He has also worked with Billy Hart, D. D. Jackson, Dave Liebman, Dave Pietro, Gary Thomas, Gary Versace, Kenny Werner, Marvin Smith, Rick Margitza, Sunny Jain, Tim Hagans, and Tony Malaby.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Rez Abbasi (Self-released, 1993)
  • Third Ear (Cathexis, 1995)
  • Modern Memory (Cathexis, 1998)
  • Out of Body (String Jazz, 2002)
  • Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds, 2005)
  • Bazaar (Zoho, 2006)
  • Things to Come (Sunnyside, 2009)
  • Natural Selection (Sunnyside, 2010)
  • Suno Suno (Enja, 2011)
  • Continuous Beat (Enja, 2012)
  • Behind the Vibration (Cuneiform, 2016)
  • Unfiltered Universe (Whirlwind, 2017)
  • A Throw of Dice (Whirlwind, 2019)
  • Django-Shift (Whirlwind, 2020)
  • Oasis with Isabelle Oliver (Enja, 2020)

As guest[edit]


  1. ^ a b "With His Band, Invocation, Guitarist Rez Abbasi Puts an Indian Spin on Jazz". Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  3. ^ "Rez Abbasi's Invocation (Performance 2)". Asia Society. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  4. ^ Cleveland, Barry, "Pakistani-born guitarist and composer Rez Abbasi is in many ways the embodiment of East-West fusion", Guitar Player, Jan 31, 2011 (updated Nov 15, 2017)


External links[edit]