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"Next Train Home"

 

 

The New York City based, Bangladesh-born guitarist returns to the scene with a mesmerizing new release entitled Next Train Home.  It's filled with lavish percussion, Pat Metheny inspired bass riffs and an intoxicating guitar style calling up George Benson and Steve Oliver. Moonlighting as a smooth jazz guitarist, Reza's real life duties lie with the United Nations as a program manager where at one point he found himself suffering from dehydration while on a six week work/gig African trek.  So while recovering in his hotel room, he did what any computer science grad with a talent for music would do - he opened up his laptop and started recording rhythms and loops!  This African influence can be heard throughout the guitarist's fifth album on songs such as ‘Club 368’ featuring David Mann (sax, flute).  Its world beat is provided by a stellar lineup of musicians who all recorded live back in NYC with hardly any overdubs.  High praise goes out to saxophonist Andy Snitzer, Grammy nominated vibist, Philippe Saisse, (who also throws in some synth, marimba and accordian), pianist Matt King and bassist Mark Egan. Drummers, Mauricio Zottarelli and Graham Hawthorne, partner up to create a wondrous backbeat. ‘Drop of Faith’ features Nils guest starring on guitar and creating a sound reminiscent of 80's Earl Klugh and George Benson.  Saxophonist, Jeff Kashiwa. showcases his talents on the uplifting ‘Gathering’ and ‘It's About Time’ but I loved the soothing atmospheric sounds of Reza‘s guitar (think  Peter White or Steve Oliver) on ‘Beyond The Trees’ with Snitzer on sax.  This sax/guitar combination reminded me of Sting’s jazzy Parisian sounds on his solo debut, The Dream Of The Blue Turtles.  A free form, subtly smooth vibe that will take you on a musical vacation. Perhaps needing an album for that summer road trip? You’re going to love this one!

Gary James

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