By Denise Sullivan | Published February 2020
“Olivier Abbasi Sound In Sound” is the full title concept behind OASIS, a project on which genre-blending guitarist Rez Abbasi and harpist Isabelle Olivier joyfully combine forces. Leaping from traditional repertoire to time- and space-tripping avant-garde, the musicians fuse groove and improvisation, and perform with a kind of measured steadiness that only could be delivered by their highly skilled hands.
Opening with a melodically linear—but sonically dreamy—version of “My Favorite Things,” the selection ranks as one of the few straightahead moments on a collection of intentionally off-kilter material. “Lemongrass” is a lovely evocation of exotic lands, where melody takes unexpected shapes and rhythm is a constant (thanks to tabla and drum accompaniment by Prabhu Edouard and David Paycha, respectively). Olivier’s “Timeline” is a frantically paced, dissonantly charged effort, a perfect counter to the sweetness often associated with her instrument. Abbasi’s “Stepping Stone” also goes through some unexpected shifts and changes.
Warm, intimate and challenging all at once, OASIS is a natural pairing of two pros making beautiful music as a duo.
OASIS: My Favorite Things; Lemongrass; Cherry Blossom; Timeline; Ceour Qui Bat; Stepping Stone; Road Movie; Dodeca; Other Tones; Looking For Dad. (47:16)
Personnel: Rez Abassi, guitar; Isabelle Olivier, harp; Prabhu Edouard, tabla; David Paycha, drums.