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Fareed Haque / Press

“Stemming from Haque’s compositions based upon out-of-the-box ideas like the fibonacci sequence, Math Games’ primary jam-vehicle is funky jazz-fusion that grooves to the highest degree.”

“Early on I loved my parents’ record collection. Classical guitar by Jose Rey de la Torre, Flamenco, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Hindi movie songs, Classical music, Ella Fitzgerald singing the Cole Porter and Gershwin Songbooks. Later, my mom got me some guitar records like Pat Martino‘s Joyous Lake, Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life, Al DiMeola’s Elegant Gypsy. What a hip mom! Those are the records that led me to explore jazz. ”

“Yes, Haque already has his hands full playing jazz, classical and South Asian-tinged music on an array of fretted instruments. But the Moog guitar – a kind of high-octane cross between acoustic and electronic instruments – lately has mesmerized him. ”

“They showed true promise as an ensemble equipped with tight, cohesive chops and a real exploratory sound. Fareed seems to have developed a very artistic vision for this project and I was eager to see how it had progressed since then. ”

“Fareed says of the Moog, "There's only a certain amount of sonic depth you can get from a solid-body jazz guitar. With the Moog … it's another whole level of sound...Yet all the technology of the Moog guitar is analog, no digital, no synthesizer. It's all relatively simple mechanical properties that they've harnessed … and the properties are directly under the control of your fingers."”

“The nice thing about the Moog guitar is that you don’t always have to be soloing. A lot of guitar players have a lot of guitar solos all night long and after a while solos become… ugh. Even for me. I love guitar solos but I mean, come on. (laughs) And it’s nice when the music can just chill out. The Moog guitar can do all kinds of things… with the sustain you can just hold notes and enjoy the textures.”

“This show was incredible. The variation in sound over the course of the show was staggering; "dynamic" is a gross understatement. Fareed never fails to blow my mind and I always leave feeling lucky to be able to see a master guitarist multiple times a year.”

“However, if Garaj Mahal wasn't already loaded enough, they added a new weapon since their last album. Founding drummer Alan Hertz departed, making way for Sean "The Rick" Rickman. Like Hertz before him, Rickman is plenty adept at weird time signatures and tempo quicksilver change-ups that are often prescribed by this band, but this drummer brings a whole new dimension previously foreign to this band: vocals, which we'll get into in a bit. ”

“Garaj Mahal is known for blending innovative jazz with some hard hitting funk. But, the group never leaves listeners in long rhythmic or monotonous ruts. GM grabs a diverse array of musical territory from all over the world and injects enough surprise to keep listeners glued to their tracks. ”

"Fareed Haque is one of the most exciting and original artists that I have heard in years, and everyone should come and hear him. I just love the South Asian jazz medium that he has created," says Howard Tiffen, co-chair of the events committee at the Church. "The Sounds of the South Loop concert series is trying to bring world class music to the South Loop of Chicago. We call it a series of musical excursions and we give people multiple styles and models to hear."

“In many ways, what these cats have been doing for a while now forwards the old Tempest (Alan Holdsworth's stunning and heavy group), Isotope (which boasted the amazing Gary Boyle), Colosseum II (one of Gary Moore's several early haunts after Skid Row), and sundry other progfusion bands. They aren't the only ones, and Tachyonic sounds very much like an old Brand X cut with very Lumley/Goodsall/Jones/Collins-ish interplay, but they're definitely among the foremost.”

“I wasn’t expecting some uproarious ovation from the patrons in attendance that night, but those who were expecting to hear some of that smooth jazz, elevator-sounding bullshit were in for a rude awakening. As Fareed and the rest of his crew positioned themselves behind their various instruments, I was overcome with excitement. I had seen Garaj Mahal before and knew what this man was capable of. The Flat Earth Ensemble blew up like a volcano.”

“Witnessing Fareed Haque play guitar is like standing in the kitchen next to Greg Achatz, or maybe pulling a chair up to the drawing board next to Frank Lloyd Wright. When you're in that moment, you know you're in the presence of a complete master.”

“No wonder Haque calls this group his Flat Earth Ensemble. The planet seems a lot flatter when these musicians are at work, bounding from one continent to another in as long as it takes to play a phrase or two. ”

“God bless Fareed Haque. Some explorer that he is, the guitarist has adopted this new instrument - the Moog guitar - made a couple of records with it, and proven that it's no mere novelty. It's a pro-level foray into the guitar market on Moog's part, and it's much more than just another electric guitar. Like the keyboard synths that made Moog famous, this guitar is something really different.”

“And then there is Haque, who has studied with such jazz greats as Joe Pass. At times audience members will see the influences of other guitar masters including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.”

“Garaj Mahal consists of four musicians that individually bring different influences together to create a remarkably seamless original and unique sound.”

“The latest releases from modern groove fusion alchemists Garaj Mahal give us a pair of premieres—one man, the other machine.”

"Garaj Mahal's sixth CD has them continuing to explore contemporary jazz fusion with an Eastern undercurrent, a funky base, and fluid dynamics."

“Their progressive, smokin’ hot sound is a convergence of cerebral jazz improv, mystical Middle Eastern atmospheres and down-and-dirty funk.”

“Yeah, Garaj Mahal is less about a specific style of music and more about an approach to music. We are all virtuosos on our own instruments and unlike most virtuosos, we’re a lot more into to having a good time and laying down a groove than we are about showing off chops all day long. The music is sophisticated and yet, fun and usually pretty danceable.”

“During the second set, my buddy Adam Ezra walked in to hang and catch the last 30 minutes of the show.After I let him soak it up for ten minutes or so, I learned over and said to him "You have to open your mind to the possibility that this is the best band on the planet." He pondered that for a moment before replying "They very well might be." ”