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Rez Abbasi

Django-Shift

Review by Gary Hill

This new set lands under prog because that's where we put fusion. This music definitely lands under that category, but often leans toward actual prog, too. Each of the pieces here are new interpretations of the music of Django Reinhardt, with the exception of the closing piece. This instrumental set works really well.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Diminishing
The guitar brings this in with a lot of style. Sure it's based on Reinhardt, but there is a real King Crimson meets fusion element to this piece, particularly as the rest of the band joins. They work this through a number of changes and modes as it continues. The keyboard sounds on this are strangely compelling. The whole piece has an odd sort of sense of drama.
Swing 42
This is a powerhouse jam that features plenty of fusion craziness. It's fast moving, rapidly changing and so cool. The guitar and keyboards are both exceptionally strange and yet effective. There is a passage after the four-minute mark that seems almost metallic but in a King Crimsonish way.
Heavy Artillery
There is a bit of a playful kind of vibe to this number. In some ways this feels more like pure progressive rock than it does fusion. Still, there is plenty of jazz in the mix.
Django's Castle
This is a mellower and less crazed number. The guitar soloing really steals the show for the first half. Keyboard soloing is the dominant factor later, though.  
Anniversary Song
This number has a driving groove and some killer jamming. I'm not overly crazy about the organ sound on a lot of this thing. The tune has some seriously cool musical moments, though. There are hints of that King Crimson thing at play at times. There is some pretty amazing guitar work on this thing, and the organ sound later in the tune works better for me. This is another that at times gets into more pure prog rock zones.    
Cavalerie
A mellower sort of piece, this comes in with style and charm. The organ gets to do some exploration later. This cut is a fun number that leans toward the more melodic side of the spectrum. It's an enjoyable journey, even it plays things a bit safer than some of the rest of the music here does.
Douce Ambiance
Even mellower, this is so pretty and effective. The guitar work is classy, and the whole tune has some real proggy drama to its more sedate concepts. There is a bit of a dreamy vibe here.
Hungaria
A more intense number, this has some killer jamming. It's sort of equal parts fusion and progressive rock. Both the organ and guitar manage to grab their share of the spotlight.
September Song
A much mellower piece, atmospheric organ accompanies guitar soloing.
 
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