Event Archives

Artist-in-Residence: Rez Abbasi

In light of impending inclement weather, Duke Performances has cancelled the presentation of Rez Abbasi Invocation feat. Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa on Friday, January 22. We are planning to reschedule the concert with Invocation during the 2016/17 season and will announce the new date as soon as it’s been confirmed. Ticket holders should check their e-mail for a message regarding exchanges & returns.

Rez Abbasi will be unable to participate in the talk and jam session at The Shed on Thursday, January 21, but the jam session will proceed at 7 PM with Kobie Watkins (drums), Kenny Phelps-McKeown (bass), and Ernest Turner (piano). Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and join.



Pakistani-born, New York-based jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi will speak about his experience of exploring various styles of South Asian music through the lens of jazz, followed by a jam session with Durham musicians KobieWatkins (drums), Kenny Phelps-McKeown (bass), and others. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and join. Abbasi and his band Invocation play Baldwin Auditorium the following evening on Friday, January 22.


Invocation is Pakistani-born jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi’s quintet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. In their performance at Baldwin Auditorium, the quintet unveils a new project that explores Carnatic classical music from Southern India through the idiom of jazz. This is the final installment in a triptych made by Abbasi that puts a jazz lens on the musical traditions of South Asia; Invocation previously explored Hindustani music and qawwali in a pair of critically acclaimed recordings. All About Jazz calls Abbasi’s music “neither Eastern nor Western, but effortlessly global … proof that jazz can be as vital and boundary-pushing as ever.”

Abbasi — along with Iyer and Mahanthappa — is one of a trio of jazz musicians who are forging distinctly South Asian-inflected voices on the contemporary scene. Abbasi comes to this endeavor honestly: he is one of the foremost guitar players in modern jazz, a product of the Manhattan School of Music, but early in his career he made a pilgrimage to India to study with tabla master Ustad Alla Rakha, father of Zakir Hussain. The mission of Invocation’s music, Abbasi declares, is “to create a global-based music steeped in jazz. This tradition follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest jazz musicians. Coltrane, Ellington, and Gillespie all immersed themselves in music from around the world.”


Thursday, January 21, 7 – 9 PM
The Shed (at Golden Belt), 807 E. Main Street #130, Durham
Free & open to the public

  • Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 7:00pm