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Rez Abbasi

Rez Abbasi Interview: Part 2

 

Rod: Let’s talk about some individual tracks on Things To Come in detail. We can listen to the songs as we talk and comment on certain sections as they come up.

Rez Abbasi

Rez Abbasi

[Cues up the song]

Rod: The first track ‘Dream State’ opens the way a sitar player starts a raga by playing the sympathetic strings.
Rez: That’s exactly what it is. I mean, that was the reason why I did it ’cuz it felt it was introducing the tune.

Rod: There’s two parts panned left and right. But I’m dying to know what instrument you used!?
Rez: That’s why I’m lucky to be married to an Indian vocalist. She uses it on her records. It’s called a swarmandal. All the different vocalists use them. You’ll hear them a lot on Indian records.
They always tune it to the raga, or the scale of what they’re going to sing in for that hour or the whole night. So I tuned it to the scale in ‘Dream State’ although it’s not specifically an Indian scale, and then I used a guitar pick. I wanted to modernize it a little bit, that’s why you hear it cascade into each other rather than the way Indian musicians do it. It wouldn’t be contrapuntal the way they use it; it would be straight up/straight down, that kind of a thing.

Rod: Man, I was really stumped by what was making that sound!
Rez: It’s a really neat instrument. That one, I think, was made in Korea [chuckles]. Now I’m playin’ Korean music [laughs].

Rod: [laughs].

Rod: After the intro, it starts off with acoustic guitar and then fades into electric guitar. I thought that was a nice subtle touch. When you’re hearing “colors” when you compose, how do you select which one to use?
Rez: I have a saxophonist in this band that has a very penetrating sound. In order to compete with that on a musical level I felt like I needed to occasionally play with a bit more of an overdriven guitar sound.
And, the piano cuts through well in any music, right? So I wanted to gain that balance of some overdriven guitar as well as that clean guitar I love, also. It wasn’t about any specific coloration of the music. It was just, “Man, if I’m gonna cut through in this band…”
And I love overdriven guitar. It just sings and you don’t have to be a rock player to play overdriven guitar.

Rod: Oh no! Remember you’re talkin’ to a huge John McLaughlin fan over here [chuckles]. Heck, even Pat Metheny cranks it out every now and then.
Rez: Or Frisell. Or Scofield and Holdsworth. Everybody has that little rock angle to it. But when you put distortion in the hands of a true jazz musician, I don’t think you’re gonna hear what you would if you put it in the hands of a rock musician or a blues musician. I mean there’s a little cross-over happening there but jazz players generally choose different notes, phrase differently, they have more intervallic leaps; There’s a vocabulary there that’s very different. And it’s not just to be umbrella’d under the “distorted rock guitar” category like a lot of music journalist’s do.

[‘Dream State’ still playing in background]

Rod: The first three or four times I listened to the CD, I spent most of the time counting the rhythms and trying to figure out what you were doing. I didn’t relax and start listening to it just as music until later [laughs].
Rez: You and a couple of other people [laughs]. I have a new website with one of the charts up and will have more, so you won’t have to count any more. You can just go to the website and say “Aah!”.

Rod: It just spoke to the nature of the compositions. The arrangements are so intricate and complex, yet the music is so free flowing. There are a lot of layers to dissect.
Rez: I will say as intricate as it is, my semi-goal, I don’t want to call it “goal” ’cuz it feels limiting, my semi-goal is to create music that’s intricate yet simple to hear. If you aren’t necessarily a musician, you would just listen to it and feel it. It’s like an off-beat groove and it’s makin’ you kinda feel in a different way. There’s no need to say, “7-½ and then it goes to 8”; that’s all music talk.

Rod: Yeah. The gear head in me can’t resist trying to break stuff down. And the tune makes me go, “Maaan, this is happenin’!” But like you said, I put it on for my wife to listen to, and her head starts bobbin’ and noddin’ like it’s an R&B record.
Rez: If she’s more R&B she probably likes Rudresh’s solo at the end of this track.

Rod: Yeah!
Rez: [chuckles] It’s got some Aretha soul…

Rod: One of the comments I made in my notes for ‘Dream State’ was that Rudresh sounds like a nagaswaram player, sometimes.
Rez: Well he’s really into that. Also we did a record with Kadri Gopalnanth, it’s called Kinsmen, that I’m sure had an impact on Rudresh’s playing. Kadri Gopalnanth is a South Indian saxophone virtuoso; he’s reconstructed the saxophone so that he can play South Indian music on it. So he’s influence by him and also influenced by double reed players. I mean, just like I might be influenced by the sarod although it might not be obvious, it’s in there once in a while. It works on that level. We’re still jazz musicians, you know.

Rod: You mentioned that the compositions made you phrase a certain way. Does that mean using “space” a different way in your playing?
Rez: I generally like to use space so I can hear how the band is gonna react. Miles Davis did that to great affect. He would play an idea and allow the band to interact with him.
I’ve been conscious of using space all my life; especially after I discovered Jim Hall. But you know, there are certain solos that require less space and perhaps more build up, where the entire band is directed by my soloing. So it really depends on what the composition is; what the headspace is; how I want to build; that kind of thing.
All I can say is I’m trying to react to the band, be influenced by what they’re playing. I mean there’s two kinds of players it seems like: the one that is like that, and the one that just plays on top of the band no matter what the band is doing. Believe-you-me there are plenty of jazz players that do that and I don’t understand what the point of it is. It doesn’t matter who’s playing behind them, all they do is keep blowin’. And then there is a mid-point also. There are some that can get away with that but also hear the band as well. It’s a hard call. But when it sorta sways on the side of someone just blowin’ all their stuff on top of any band, and sounding the same on every record; then it gets to be a bit of a drag.

Rod: Yeah, yeah.
Rez: I’m sure you know some of those guys.

Rod: [laughing] I think I am one of those guys.
Rez: [laughing] Well, I won’t go there with you.

[Starting next tune]

Rod: I’m gonna cue up ‘Air Traffic’. Again, it took me a while to stop counting this thing [hums the intro].
Rez: Oh, yeah. [chuckles]. Well, it’s a challenge.

Rod: Kiran’s vocals; is she singing in the ghazal style on this track?
Rez: The style that she sings in her own music is ghazal. It’s a poetic form and she writes melodies to poetry. And I generally arrange them in a highfalutin’ kind of manner. But the stuff she sings on my records is more improvisational.

Rod: Oh! Okay.
Rez: We both kinda figure out what scale we should use. For instance with ‘Air Traffic’ what scale would work well with what I wrote for the bass? And if she doesn’t like the original scale I came up with or if I realize it’s not the right one then we’ll both sort of find something that works. And generally it ends up being a raga that she is familiar with. So once that happens, we play with the ensemble live and she tests her ideas.

Rod: As I mentioned before, Things To Come has a lot of things going on rhythmically. It’s more extended time rather than odd time blended into a jazz group.
Rez: Yeah, definitely. I mean it just all comes from my background. I was born in Pakistan; I was four-years-old when I came to the United States. So I’ve had an eclectic background and I think it would be a shame not to use that in the music. But I still love 4/4 meter and there is plenty of that also.

[‘Air Traffic’ continues]

Rod: There’s also a rhythmic edginess to the tunes. It reminds me of King Crimson sometimes.
Rez: [pauses] I don’t necessarily hear that connection. But I will say one thing, besides the orchestral and rhythmical ideas that you’re hearing, personally I think the vocabulary is much more of what’s goin’ on now. It’s a lot fresher. I mean, I love King Crimson, I think they’re one of the heaviest forward thinking bands of their time. And I still love their music. But it’s a different type of music really. On Things To Come , there are extended rhythmical ideas; theirs are more looped like ideas. There’s also that element of the vocabulary being much more extended. We are modern jazz players coming from John Coltrane, 20th century classical and many other influences.
When Nate Chinen from The New York Times heard Snake Charmer, he said, “It could be considered a millennium update of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.” And I thought, “Wow. I could take that as a compliment.” [chuckles] “Millennium update” does sorta conjure up the idea that there are new things going on harmonically and rhythmically. So I don’t always mind that kind of correlation.
What I do mind is when people bring it right back to the ’70s or something: “Hey, it sounds like McLaughlin”, or “Like the Mahavishnu Orchestra”. And I’m like, “No. That’s just not right. You’re not giving enough credit to what’s goin’ on now – 30 years later.” I’ve heard people do that to not only my records but to other’s as well.

Rod: I really like the way the whole ensemble plays off of that riff towards the end of the tune. [hums the riff]. The tension just builds, and again, rhythmically it just flows.
Rez: That’s all about orchestral writing; I hate to say this, but it’s about not thinking in a typical jazz way, for example, the way it’s taught in most shcools. It’s a different paradigm.

Rod: Okay. I’m gonna skip ahead to the title track ‘Things To Come ’.
Rez: Yeah, yeah. I like that one.

>Rod: This is just a gorgeous duet with Kiran. Just gorgeous.
Rez: I’m really happy about that one.

Rod: The guitar tone just shimmers, man.
Rez: That first chord, I got really lucky – it came down from the heavens. Honestly, have you heard a chord like that on a guitar before?

Rod: No.
Rez: That’s what I’m saying. That’s why I feel lucky.

Rod: The whole thing is just…awww. Especially to come from that chord and go into the tune!
Rez: Which is a little bit more inside than that….

Rod: Awww man. Jeeeezus.
Rez: Yeah. Kiran and I played a number of variations to get to that point. It is an interesting composition because it is half improvised and half written. I came up with that chord and the scale I wanted to use. I wanted to shift to major at some point; which it did. That’s when I use the whole-tone scale. The way we would practice it was to come up with variations on the melody, which was an improvisation of hers. I would suggest something, she would suggest something and so the process was highly organic. I’m glad it comes off that way because it’s not sort of “over composed” sounding.

Rod: Nooo. Believe me. If you hadn’t said that I would have thought it was a straight “I’ll play and you sing” improv from beginning to end. But it’s a beautiful tune, man. Just a beautiful tune.

[‘Things To Come ’ continues]

Rod: The liner notes mention that ‘Things To Come ’ was recorded on President Obama’s inaguration day. Wanna kinda expand on that at all?
Rez: As I said, I was reading a Beethoven bio which helped me to perservere in the writing process. Because man, believe me, you come up with, oh my God, battle after battle of “Should I write this tune? Is it worth all this time?” This, and that, and the other, right? So that was one thing.
But the whole campaign of Obama was also happening when I was writing. I saw from the beginning of his upstart and his very difficult rise to the top. I saw all of the debates. I was really into it; just like everybody else I know. I didn’t even realize that I booked the studio the same day as the inauguration. I just thought it was kinda serendipitous.
So that along with some of the other events I mentioned in the notes: Herbie Hancock’s winning the Grammy for album of the year as a jazz musician I mean, although he’s seriously connected, it was still startling. The Indian film Slumdog Millionaire; no one even expected that film to be released publicly ’cuz it was barely released at first.
And the perseverance it took to create these situations, ended up motivating the rest of the world. It’s a humanistic principle about personal revolution and how we can perserver through perseverance itself.

Rod: What was the most challenging piece to write; and what was the most challenging piece to play?
Rez: ‘Dream State’ is probably the simplest of the lot. Although that goes into all kinds of territories, it is simpler than the other stuff. Uhhh, God let me think. Well, it depends on what kind of challenge you’re talkin’ about: for the band or me…

Rod: Okay, let’s break it down further: for the band and then for you.
Rez: I think for the band well, they’re all great musicians so individually they didn’t have any problem. It was just the connection of the whole; the sum of all the parts. I think possibly ‘Air Traffic’ was one of them there were a number of reasons for that. That six bar phrase on the piano that we needed to keep track of cuz’ the backgrounds came in and I soloed. There were all kinds of things that we needed to work on. Well, we just needed to practice, basically. And also when Kiran sings on that tune, the way Vijay was gonna play behind her was essential, and it came out great.
I think the other tune that posed probably the most difficulty is ‘Why Me Why Them’. That was a little bit of a bitch, actually. There’s this one section that created some issues; and if you’re not on top of it, it can always create issues. The tune is not in any one time signature. But in this one section the piano and bassline are in 3, but it’s a 4 over 3, meaning it modulates to a 4 feel. So you have the piano, bass and drums in 4. Now the melody, played by the saxophone and myself, is in the established 3 but playing in cycles of 4 beats and so it’s an elongated 4 as compared to their faster 4. So it sounds like we’re in 4, but it’s really in 3; and they’re in the same 3 but sound like they’re in 4 [chuckles].

Rod: The way everybody drops out and leaves the soloist and the drummer trading off for a few bars; I love that part!
Rez: Oh yeah, the solo section? That’s fun man, I gotta say.

Rod: That must be a kicker to play live. Have you played that tune live with the band, yet?
Rez: Yeah, we just did two nights ago. It felt so good I said, “Man, let’s keep goin’ for a while.” And it’s wonderful because every time it gets to that duet part with the drums, it’s just like a splash of refreshing “space”. And then you can play a lot of notes; you can play a little; you can do anything you want. It’s just like your space to do whatever you want for a minute, albeit with the drums.

Rod: Do you have a favorite tune that you’d like to talk about?
Rez: Wow, it’s funny you brought that up. Because I’ve been noticing lately that everybody has a couple of their favorites, and they’re usually different. In a way it’s a great blessing; and in a way it’s sorta confusing.
I like a lot of the tunes, honestly. It’s hard for me to say, but one that sticks out is ‘Air Traffic’. I think it’s very interesting the way all the harmonic pallet shifts all over the place; plus the rhythm; and how Kiran is sorta embedded into a western harmonic part while she’s still singing her Indian improv – that was a neat juxtaposition.
I love ‘Things To Come ’ also. That track is just special. ‘Realities Of Chromaticism’ is a very expansive tune. All that orchestral sounding stuff in the beginning it’s just cello, bass, piano and acoustic guitar but again, it’s that whole idea of bringing out more than the sum of its parts; making it sound larger.

Rod: ‘Insulin’ is another favorite of mine.
Rez: Yeah. See that’s why I say that’s a hard question because they all have their own character.

Rod: Was that a quality that just kinda arose out of the music?
Rez: That’s kind of a quality that just arises out of me. Because if you listen to any of my records they all have their own quality; every tune is different. If I look back, that’s one thing I can really say about my records. Every tune might have a footprint of mine, but the listeners not going to say, “Oh, this records getting boring because the last three tunes sound the same. That’s a good thing.

Rod: Is it hard to be objective about your own stuff?
Rez: I don’t even know if you can be objective about your own stuff after you’ve done it. You’ve mixed it for hours; you’ve heard it a hundred times, you know what I mean? I don’t know if subjectivity or objectivity even plays a role at that point. It’s sort of like, more of a “cloud” [chuckles], it just exists without judgment. But while I’m composing or tracking, I have to be objective in a sense, if I really want the best statement to be made. We’re all born to think subjectively and so it’s important to step outside oneself, not easy though.

Rod: When I talked to Jimmy Herring, he mentioned how hard it was to let his project go. He had lived with it for so long that when it was time for him to turn it in, he was still holding on to it by his fingernails.
Rez: I can relate to that as well. But there is also that other side where you kinda want to let it go because you want to keep moving forward. It’s sort of like, “Well if I don’t let go of this project, then I’ll end up spending time just sitting there.” So for me, it’s more about what’s next.

Rod: Do you feel that you’re closer to finding your “voice”, musically?
Rez: Well, I have a bit of a problem with the idea of finding my voice. I’m aware that most musicians want that and it’s understandable because we’re all taught to be individuals. But who am I, as a conscious being, to know what’s in my subconscious? I mean, I don’t know what’s in there. And I’m not gonna make a conscious statement that says, “Okay, well this is what defines my music? This is what I sound like.” To me, that’s living with a limited mindset. I’m about what the music is about, and that’s universal and undefined. Ultimately, what I strive for is to add something to the vast vernacular of sound. If that’s accomplished, it means I’ve done something well.
I do know what my preferences are. I mean, if I don’t want to sound like this, that or the other because my preference is not to sound like that, I can make that conscious decision. But I know there’s something way beyond our thought processes and the only way I know how to reach it so far, is to be a conduit for the music.

Rod: That’s an interesting concept. The idea of trying to find “your voice” actually keeping you from finding it that’s deep, man.
Rez: Well let me expand it even more. “ You know how people say, “Hey man, do you hear all that stuff before you play it?” You’ve heard people talk that way before, right?

Rod: Sure.
Rez: Some musicians will say, “Oh yeah… I hear everything I play before I play it.” That’s another sort of difficult idea in that sure, you want to hear what you play, but if you’re hearing what you play before you play it, aren’t you also limiting yourself by what you already hear? So it’s somewhat in the same vein.
So for me, when I play I’m also very aware of allowing my intuition to play, rather than what I think I should do; or what I think the right notes are. So in that sense, I will make mistakes. But part of it is that I need to accept those mistakes in order to grow. For me, that’s very important. Instead of trying to be a “perfect” soloist, every note or phrase I play is like the right one for a larger cause: growth. It’s not easy on the ego though…
And I’ll tell you, spontaneous players seem to be revered less and less these days. It’s often the players that deliver night after night, the same technically flashy material that often gain the most notoriety. I don’t mind being a little less popular [chuckles].

Rod: [laughing hard].
Rez: You know what I mean?

Rod: [still laughing] I know what you mean. I know exactly what you mean.

Rez: That’s why I still admire McLaughlin. He’s got all his flash but he’s still really spontaneous and he goes for it, man.

Rod: Oooh yes he does!
Rez: Well, now you know kinda where my music’s comin’ from; a little bit, at least. You know a little of what I’m thinking [chuckles] what I’m trying not to think, actually.

Rod: Do you feel like talking more about consciousness and inner consciousness?
Rez: I think music basically humbles us all. Music is its own entity, rather than us putting our studies and that whole conscious world on top of it. My approach is to let it teach me something. And when you play with others in their projects, the best results come from when you take a step back from who you think you are and just see where the music wants to go. Rather than sort of “injecting yourself into this session”, or whatever you want to call it.
It’s not just another “session” and it’s not just another “date”. It’s music on its own terms. And I think that’s where some of my success lies when I perform in other peoples groups. I really see what the music calls for. If the leader gives me some direction, I put that aside for later, until the music gets a chance to develop through playing.

Rod: Maaan, I could talk to you forever along those lines. I truly believe in the spiritual aspects of music.
Rez: Yeah, definitely. I mean, spirituality and philosophy have always been directly linked to creating music and hearing music. For me, it’s not a separate issue. I don’t know if you’ve ever read that book by that Sufi mystic…

Rod: Oh, Hazrat Inayat Khan?
Rez: Yeah.

Rod: The Mysticism Of Sound And Music. Yeah, I read that one.
Rez: Yeah, yeah. Man, it’s been so long. And I really couldn’t get through the whole thing, honestly [chuckles]. But the few things I read were very deep. The idea of using music as a spiritual tool rather than mere “entertainment”? Ugh, the idea of music simply for pure entertainment doesn’t do it for me. I need substance even if it’s just for fun. And on the other side of the coin, it can be gratuitous if it’s all about mechanics and technique. So it’s a fine line.
I’ve been studying and practicing Buddhism, too. It’s really a good thing because it centers me on a daily basis.

Rod: Well it requires discipline, which is something you need especially when it comes to music.
Rez: Yeah. And the word “discipline”, I mean, that’s such an underrated word in this society. It’s got to be one of the most important aspects of life, in all facets. If you don’t have it, generally you’re succumbing to your mind. The antithesis to discipline is laziness, but we all need a little of that too!

Rod: Do you have any future music projects worked out?
Rez: I have been writing for an acoustic guitar project with vibes, acoustic bass and drums. I hope to record that in 2010. I’ve also been writing some new material for the same group on Things To Come that will be funded through a grant. I just received the grant from Chamber Music America and it’s one of the only jazz grants in the country, believe it or not.

Rod: I hope you can keep this group together for a while. It’s a helluva band.
Rez: It’s a pretty scary band.

Rod: Well Rez, we’re at the “open mic” part of our talk.
Rez: What do you mean?

Rod: Well, I’m just gonna turn it over to you. Is there anything that you want to talk about?
Rez: Yeah. There could be one or two things.
The idea of jazz and fusion, and Indo-jazz and this kinda thing. Because I notice a lot of writers do mention “Indo-jazz”; and ask “What’s the difference between your jazz and the stuff that happened in the ’60s and ’70s?”, you know, that Indian-influenced stuff. Basically, I dislike the terminology “Indo-jazz”. That’s because jazz is an all-inclusive music, anyways. So if you’re gonna call it “Indo-jazz” you might as well call it a hundred other kinds of “jazz”. I know there’s the “Latin jazz” terminology, but I think “Latin music” is more superimposed; that Latin “color” if you will, on jazz much more than we are superimposing the Indian ideas onto jazz. But the term in general, defines it too much and creates the impression that the music is as much Indian as it is jazz, and it’s not.

Rod: Do you think “Indo-jazz” stereotypes the music?
Rez: Yeah! That’s exactly what I wanted to say. It does stereotype the music, and it unfortunately makes people trivialize it. It brings it back to the experiments people might have heard in the past that may not have done justice to the hybrid of Indian music and jazz. And there are some attempts now, too, that I say, “No. This just is not happenin’.” Placing a sitar player in there with a couple of Indian percussionists, then having a jazz rhythm section, a horn player etc., and not integrating it at all? I mean that’s just not what I call a ticket to musical success.
So I sometimes get a little bit upset when people put these blanket statements on either my music or some of my colleagues like Vijay and Rudresh who are making some serious statements without defining them.
The big differences between what we are doing now and how some of the ways Indian elements came into jazz in the past are, well first, we are Indian. We are the first generation of South Asians to grow up in America. Whereas in the ’60s and ’70s you might have had people who kinda studied from the outside/in instead of the inside/out.
One of the concrete things that makes this band unique, and also work, is that all of the musicians have an understanding of Indian music as well as jazz, aside from Kiran, who leans more toward the Indian side. So what that does for the music is brings a subtlety into the confluence of musical properties. Because everybody interprets it through their own “filters”, what happens is that the music sort of takes on a uniqueness of it’s own without formulating it compositionally or stylistically

Rod: Yeah. It just becomes “music”.
Rez: Yeah! It’s why I think there’s a difference between our sound and the past in terms of hybrids.

Rod: It has more of a “unified” sound, or a “stronger” sound?
Rez: Well, unified sound equals strength, to me. And as much as I love some of the projects that came before I mean, I love Shakti, I love the Mahavishnu Orchestra, although the music still sounds like it comes from the ’70s. Because humanity evolves, you would think the music would evolve, too. And that’s exactly what it’s doing in the light of some people who are doing that.
Again, this is not just about Indian music and south Asians, it’s about everything, you know. All types of music. I’m just talkin’ about myself, that’s why I’m talkin’ south Asian.
But uh…you’ve opened up a can of worms here [chuckles].

Rod: No, no, no. Hey man, go with it.
Rez: But you get what I’m saying? Recently I was on radio and the host did ask some questions like that: “Oh, and you’re the components of ‘Indo-jazz’ and you’re all in the same band!” I didn’t really have the time or the fortitude in fact to talk about why that terminology doesn’t really apply.

Rod: Well, it shows a lack of understanding of the music. It’s almost insulting.
Rez: He didn’t mean it like that. It’s just “Indo-jazz” is the terminology of the media now. We all know that. But again, like you said, it puts limitations and burdens on people who are really doing some good stuff. I think my music sounds like, well, modern music from our modern culture.

Rod: Exactly. If I had to say in a few words what Things To Come sounds like to me, it’s modern jazz.
Rez: Yeah. We already know what the facets of “jazz” are, to some degree it’s an all-inclusive music. So with “modern jazz”, you would expect it to have influences of Indian or Pakistani music if you’re Indian or Pakistani. But it also works the other way. I mean a couple of friends like I said, Dave Pietro, they’re doin’ some wonderful stuff too and they’re not Indian. So you don’t have to, obviously, be of a particular culture but it undeniably helps to come up with an organic statement.. It just depends how deeply you get involved. If it’s surface level, then how is that going to do anything for anybody?
There’s also another level to this. Some people are convinced that Things To Come sounds purely like modern jazz, right? They say, “What do you mean, Indian music? Isn’t it jazz, but modernized jazz?” Right, okay. But if they themselves don’t know what Indian music is, or haven’t heard much, how are they gonna know what to listen for? These types expect some older fusions that overtly place Indian instruments into the orchestration and without that, it’s not Indian at all.
So it’s all about discerning listeners. There’s also a lot of western classical influence in my music. I studied Bartok for quite a while. But if you don’t have an inclination towards orchestral music, you may just hear it as modern jazz: “They’re playin’ solos. There’s a drummer that plays the ride cymbal. There’s saxophone; kinda has some Charlie Parker in there.” And it’s the exact same for the term fusion or funk. Once a guitarist plays an overdriven sound with straight 8th grooves, the doors are closed, “It’s Fusion!” I think critics and writers especially have a responsibility to ask themselves what’s behind the music they are critiquing. Is it really simply “modern jazz” or “fusion”?
But we all need to ask ourselves, “What’s behind the music?” Instead of just accepting it as blanket statements, “this is jazz; this is that; this is rock. I mean there are new rock bands, too, that sound like they come from different areas.
So in a nutshell, make an effort to get away from those old fashioned labels that we’ve all been part of. It’s just going to help you as a listener and help the music breath.

Rez: Wow, I feel like I’ve said so much.

Rod: Noooo, man. That’s cool! That’s what “open mic” is all about. It’s your forum. I’m glad that you felt comfortable enough to take it further. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Rez: Thanks, Rod. You asked some great questions.

Rod: Hey, I was inspired by the music. Things To Come is great music, a great CD. I really love it and I hope that our talk exposes more people to you and your music. Thanks!

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