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Domiciled in New York but born in Bangladesh, jazz guitarist Reza Khan really began to make waves with the CD ‘A Simple Plan’.  It garnered the radio singles ‘Language Of Love’ and the equally good ‘Blue Dreams In Rio’ while the follow up, ‘Dreamwalker’, scored an instant success with the deliciously accessible title track.  Now he is back with his fifth album, the highly recommended ‘Next Train Home’, a project made all that more remarkable for the fact that he balances his musical career with a ‘day job’ of being a United NationsProgram Manager, a role that regularly takes him to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  In fact Khan wrote the music for ‘Next Train Home’ in 2018 during a six-week UN trip. Back in the recording studio in New York, Khan surrounded himself with a stunning array of guest musicians including Philippe Saisse and Andy Snitzer who had both featured on Khan’s ‘Dreamwalker’ project.  Also on board were sax-man Jeff Kashiwa, pianist Matt King, bass player Mark Egan, percussionist Gumbi Ortiz,David Mann on sax and flute plus drummers Mauricio Zottarelli and Graham Hawthorne.  The result is a stunning array of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, world music and Brazilian rhythms. It is a collection that is big on melody and high on atmosphere with both these attributes well on show with the opening number‘Drop Of Faith’ that features, and was co-produced by, Nils. Elsewhere, ‘Gathering’ finds Reza teaming with sax-man Jeff Kashiwa for a melodic walk on the smooth side and Kashiwa also lends a hand with another mellow charmer, the superb ‘Its About Time’ that features Matt King on piano. Keyboard player par excellence Philippe Saisse contributes on nine of the twelve choice tunes with one of them being the enchanting ‘Clear Skies’.  Also notable is his featured performance on the complex but enticing  ‘Plutonik’ while it is the always-classy Andy Snitzer who lends some magic to the easy grooving ‘Beyond The Trees’. He is back once more with the wonderfully Latin ‘Cloud Nine’ while a dramatic intro paves the way to the mid tempo ‘Zero Tolerance’ that includes nice sax from the eternally excellent David Mann. When Mann switches to flute for the zesty ‘Club 368’ the result is just as good and Mann’s final featured performance is with the delightfully rolling ‘Under The Moon’ that is up there with the very best ‘Next Train Home’ has to offer.  In this respect it is in the good company of the dazzling ‘The Way’ yet in terms of personal favorites it is difficult to look beyond the up beat and optimistic title cut where Khan’s terrific playing is complemented by stellar work on piano by Matt King. Highly recommended. ” - Rick Scott

Smooth Jazz Therapy

Next Train Home •••Reza Khan, guitarThe New York City-based, Bangladesh-born Reza Khan has his fifth album due to be released in April. As a program manager for the UN, Mr. Khan has seen the effects of peace and conflict operations throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. During a six-week trek abroad, he wrote the twelve songs for his latest album that took him in a creative direction that led to his self-discovery as an artist in search of a “home.” “After a long soul-searching exercise moving from genre to genre,” he explained, “I feel like I am finally settled as a writer, composer and stylist.” Mr. Khan’s musical home is a richly-cultured composite of straight-ahead and contemporary jazz, global beats and rhythms, and a strong Brazilian jazz inflection. Next Train Home comes with a full complement of noted contemporary jazz kingpins: guitarist Nils, saxophonists Jeff Kashiwa and Andy Snitzer, keyboardist Philippe Saisse, pianist Matt King, bassist Mark Egan, horn man David Mann (sax and flute) and percussionist Gumbi Ortiz. Mauricio Zottarelli and Graham Hawthorne shared the drum throne equitably. Mr. Khan was reared in a musical household where the foundation of his musical palette was Indian classical music. Initially a percussionist (tabla), he then studied sitar and sarod before being exposed to – and subsequently falling in love with – pop-rock music (Peter Frampton, Eagles, Grand Funk and America). That’s when he switched to guitar, embracing the recordings of Pat Metheny and other contemporary jazz guitar greats. In time, he found a way to indulge both passions, dropping his first solo disc, “Painted Diaries,” in 2008. Subsequent releases followed – “A Simple Plan” (2011), “The Dreamwalker” (2013) and “Wind Dance” (2016). Next Train Home contains the following songs: “Drop of Faith,” featuring Nils; “Gathering,” featuring Jeff Kashiwa and Philippe Saisse; “It’s About Time,” featuring Jeff Kashiwa and Matt King; “Beyond the Trees,” featuring Andy Snitzer; “Zero Tolerance,” featuring Philippe Saisse and David Mann; “Club 368,” featuring David Mann“Plutonik,” featuring Philippe Saisse; “The Way” and “Cloud Nine,” featuring Andy Snitzer; “Under the Moon,” featuring David Mann; “Next Train Home,” featuring Mark Egan and Matt King.” - Jean-Keith Fagon