Jazz guitarist Reza Khan hits the City Winery stage in New York City on Thursday night to celebrate his well-received new album release, “Next Train Home,” which hit charts on both sides of jazz while garnering effusive reviews. Soon after he takes his final bow, he’ll be back in his role as a United Nations program manager jetting off to Uganda as part of peace and conflict operations. It’s an unusual balancing act for the Bangladesh-born, New York City-based Khan, who manages to straddle creative and diplomatic duties throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East with aplomb.
Khan wrote the music for “Next Train Home,” his fifth album release, during a six-week UN trip last year. The frequent global travel can take a toll and on this particular trip, he collapsed from oppressive heat. Hospitalized for severe dehydration, he convinced the doctors that he would recover faster by staying in a hotel for a spell. They agreed and Khan settled in, but with an additional agenda. Traveling with a portable guitar, a basic keyboard setup and a laptop that functions as a mobile recording studio, Khan wrote the title track and sketched the concepts for the rest of album’s compositions. The forced “retreat” proved to serve another purpose. Khan used the time to find his creative “home.” Having dabbled in a variety of genres on previous recordings, “Next Train Home” depicts a focused artist hitting his creative stride. The balance that he so adeptly displays with his artistic-UN work is reflected in the music on the album, a seamless arras of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, world music and Brazilian tones.
After recovering and completing the business trip abroad, Khan returned to New York City where he put on his artist cap again, entering a recording studio to fully develop the songs and tracks that comprise “Next Train Home.” Playing both acoustic and electric guitars, Khan embellished the material by calling upon first-call players and contemporary jazz hitmakers Philippe Saisse (keyboards), Andy Snitzer and Jeff Kashiwa (saxophone), Matt King (piano), Mark Egan (bass), David Mann (sax and flute), Gumbi Ortiz (percussion), Mauricio Zottarelli and Graham Hawthorne (drums), and guitarist Nils, who co-produced the lead single, “Drop of Faith,” which hit the five major smooth jazz charts: Billboard (New & Active), Mediabase, Smooth Jazz Network, SmoothJazz.com and Groove Jazz. The album continues to climb the Jazzweek chart, reflecting the airplay from straight-ahead jazz outlets.
Tucked away in Khan’s backpack for his departure this weekend will be his ever-present portable guitar and keyboard. He never knows when or where inspiration will strike for his next record. In the meantime, Khan will relish performing music from “Next Train Home” Thursday night and look forward to the feature album review that will be published in the next issue of Jazziz magazine.
Below please find a sampling of the initial album reviews:
“The album is also the culmination of Khan’s own United Nations of music styles, from beats in global and local jazz, straight-ahead to smooth, with an easygoing Brazilian banter driving the rhythms…‘Drop of Faith’ sets the perfect tone for the rest of the album. A pretty breeze of a melody belies the intricate patchwork going on underneath, layers upon layers of faith, hope and love wrapped up in Khan’s laughing, dancing strings.” – Festival Peak
“Next Train Home has such a riveting story of dedication and commitment…Tracks like “Drop of Faith,” “Gathering,” and the title track are expressive, clever, and imaginative.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride
“A beautiful palette of musical multi-formats.” – Exclusive Magazine
“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.” – The Hill Rag
“A dandy contemporary jazz date that merrily and easily hits all the right notes.” – Midwest Record
“In view of the highly talented musicians involved, Reza Khan's Next Train Home convinces with its musical diversity and prowess.” – Smooth Jazz Daily
For more information, please visit http://www.rezakhanmusic.com.