Abbasi’s Invocation was formed in 2008 with the mission of cultivating and applying more directly his Indian-Pakistani influences. Calling upon colleagues who sympathize with this paradigm, Rez asked his long time collaborators, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer/tabla player Dan Weiss to form Invocation. Each musicians brings to Abbasi’s compositions their own experiences in hybrid music and expansive knowledge of both jazz and Indian classical music . For their December 19th performance, this all-star line up will be in full attendance, with the addition of New York cellist Elizabeth Means.
Invocation has released two groundbreaking albums. Their debut, Things To Come (rated 4.5 Stars by Downbeat), emphasized Hindustani music and featured Indian Vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia. 2012’s Suno Suno (rated 4 Stars by Downbeat) emphasized Qawwali, a musical strand popularized in Pakistan by the great, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
For their Painted Bride performance, Invocation will debut new compositions from their as yet untitled forthcoming album, which will draw from on Carnatic (South Indian) music. Painted Bride’s Jazz and World Music Curator, Lenny Seidman, says, “Rez Abbasi is moving the jazz genre forward with his distinctive, intercultural vision. Invocation is truly an all star band that is grounded in both traditions. No matter what your holiday schedule looks like, you’ve got to see this show.”
“The band that Abbasi has assembled here is ideal, including his South Asian comrades on alto saxophone and piano: Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer, who have been two of the most important jazz musicians in the last decade. Dan Weiss is on drums, bringing a huge backbeat combined with scholarly knowledge of South Asian rhythms, and Johannes Weidenmueller brings wide experience on bass. This band, which has recorded together before, certainly sounds great.” – PopMatters