2020 / Painted Media
Review by Michael Debbage
It only took less than 2 years for the Bangladesh born, New York raised jazz guitarist Reza Khan to follow up his very impressive Next Train Home. And with a streak dating back to 2016 courtesy of Wind Dance, it would appear that this streak has been extended to 3 stellar top shelf recordings, not that any of his recordings have been subpar. That said, Imaginary Road continues to push Reza Khan further inroads to a more commercial mainstream jazz sound but never at the complete expense of his world fusion unique styling.
The album opens with the super smooth Acoustic Alchemy influenced “Waiting For The Sky” followed up by the more progressive “Neo Funk”, both featuring Alchemy’s Miles Gilderdale. If the more progressive mode is what you are searching for, skip forward to the offbeat pulsating “It’s Happening” that exudes of a multitude of hybrid exotic South American rhythms with Mark Egan and Matt King prominently featured on bass and keyboards respectively. Though the toe tapper “Somewhere East” may be more your true north.
However, Khan is quick to musically “punch” you into an alternative consciousness courtesy of the delectable mellow madness of “I See Stars”. It will have you wishing you were lying on a warm midnight sand gazing at an open canvas of a glorious full moon and shooting stars as the Creator draws His own masterpiece. Probably the most mellow moment, but what a magnificent composition that includes what sounds like a fretless bass performance from Mark Egan.
While Khan delivers both the longitude and latitudes of the progressive and romantic musical locations, he is fully confident in bringing you highly accessible smooth jazz moments. Locate the meandering “Broken River” or better yet The Rippingtons influenced title track “Imaginary Road” that brings this sublime lush album to a most memorable conclusion.
Once again, Khan seeks a little help from some musical friends, which also includes the aforementioned, as well as Philippe Saisse and David Mann, but it does not alter the fact that this is a Reza Khan production also written by this wonderful guitarist. At the expense of repeating oneself, 2016’s Wind Dance was without a doubt Reza Khan’s best recording at that time only to outdo himself with Next Train Home. Yet in can be confidently stated that Reza’s Imaginary Road has repeated this feat. Needless to say, this musician continues to frequently create top shelf music that should be promptly added to your musical collection without any hesitation.
September 12, 2021