Not only did ‘A Simple Plan’ by guitarist Reza Khan turn out to be a veritable
treasure chest of riches, it also garnered the radio singles ‘Language Of Love’ (that featured Andy Snitzer on sax) and the just as good ‘Blue Dreams In Rio’. Now he is back with the CD ‘Dreamwalker’. It’s a tremendously accomplished project that finds him re-united with Snitzer and supported ably by Philippe Saisse on keyboards, Bill Donnelly and Graham Hawthorn on drums and percussion respectively plus Paul Frazier and Ray Dieneman who share duties on bass. Domiciled in New York, Reza was born in Bangladesh and has recorded with his own band, Painted Diaries, since 2001 when he released an album of the same name. Despite being on record as continuously reaching for a global sound, much of Kahn’s music is remarkably accessible. A case in point is the wonderfully mellifluous ‘Drifter’ that, complete with sax from Snitzer, is a Latin tinged delight or the equally good title cut which is a brilliant example of ‘in the pocket’ smooth jazz. That said, Khan isn’t smooth all of the time and this is certainly the case with the fusion flavoured ‘Miles Away’ which really gets the blood pumping. It’s very much an ensemble piece and much the same can be said of ‘Back To You’ that again includes fine sax from Snitzer. Courtesy of Khan’s guitar, and from rhythmic beginnings, it really rocks out yet although ‘Summer Secrets’ starts out in a mode that is quietly contemplative, it quickly morphs into a furious Pot Pourri of seriously jazzy influences. In fact light and shade abounds everywhere and the magically melodic ‘Sky Lights’ proves to be as beguiling as it is surprising. Elsewhere ‘Night Watch’ finds Khan making a return to his native India for a vibe that subtly permeates this cool tune and more eastern promise comes in the form of the wonderful ‘Face Lift’ where Arabic chanting from Farah Al Omary simply adds to the aura of it all. ‘Funkonomics’ does exactly what the title suggests it might and is assisted in this endeavour by killer keyboards from Philippe Saisse whose rippling keys are used to similarly sensational effect when heralding in the enigmatic ‘Balance’ that flits from tranquillity to spicy Latin grooves and back again. With ‘Giving’ Kahn tries and succeeds in blending jazz with his own brand of country rock while the expansive ‘Unsigned Victory’ provides a fittingly uplifting conclusion to what is indeed an extremely interesting collection. ‘Dreamwalker’ is a must for those who have a penchant for smooth jazz guitar in the style of Peter White or Ken Navarro but, in addition, is also perfectly suited for those who enjoy contemporary jazz with the emphasis firmly on the jazz.