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CCM Jazz Orchestra: In Search of Garaj Mahal (featuring Fareed Haque)

Garaj Mahal is one of the hardest working bands in jazz rock, having toured extensively for eleven years and playing numerous events and festivals. According to the band's website they will not appear live again. The band's leader Fareed Haque is a wonderful guitar player and is/was a major part of the band's sound. Scott Belck, the head of CCM (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music) approached Fareed and In Search of Garaj Mahal took shape.

Saxophones, trumpets and trombones form the bulk of the orchestra and this disc has a big band sound that really shapes these tunes in a marvelous way. The opening track "Chester the Pester" begins with a beguiling horn which is soon interjected with Haque's rapid fire guitar. The soundscape is layered with horns before the band settles into a funky groove. The excellent musicianship cannot be understated, especially Haque's clear and precise notes and a wonderful bass solo from Bill Wagner. "The Shadow" is another great track featuring lightning fast chopped up rhythms and tasty flashes of lead guitar. Again, the funky vibe is led by another superb solo from Wagner. His tone and technique is second to none. Every aspiring bass player needs to hear this man play. A keyboard solo also adds to the fireworks. On "Hindu Gumbo" the horns are incredibly intense, almost sounding like a bullhorn at the start before another great groove and big band flurry takes hold. An excellent guitar solo accompanied by riveting drum work takes us home. Never have I heard such a full bodied horn section as in this piece. The exotic sounding "Uneven Mantra" is a little more calm showing these musicians are indeed multifaceted and Haque's acoustic gets a serious workout. Tabla and soprano saxophone solos round out the package.

In Search of Garaj Mahal is one of the more enjoyable instrumental albums released this year. Fareed Haque continues to be a leader in cutting edge guitar sounds. Jazz and big band fans should be on the lookout for this one.

Released on Harmonized Records.

Track Listing:
1. Chester the Pester
2. The Shadow
3. Hindi Gumbo
4. Uneven Mantra
5. A Fur Peace
6. The Chant
7. Alvin
8. Witchdoctor

Added: August 5th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 2104
Language: english

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