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Haque, Fareed and The Flat Earth Ensemble: Flat Planet

Fareed Haque has quite a resume having performed with many classical and jazz musicians and has been involved with many side projects and musical endeavors while still having time to be a professor of jazz and classical guitar at Northern Illinois University. He is also the founding member of Garaj Mahal, a well known jazz rock/fusion band. Having a father from Pakistan and a mother from Chile exposed Haque to many different musical styles in his youth. On his new cd entitled Flat Planet Haque has assembled a long list of jazz musicians and has produced a finely crafted instrumental album of jazz with definite Pakistani and Indian influences. Helping to give this music a touch of the exotic are instruments such as sitar, tablas and Kanjira. There is no doubting Haques' ability on the guitar as he deftly exhibits great skill in both lead and rhythm. Everything from ultra fast runs to interesting chord progressions ensures musicians will be able to appreciate his talent. I like the fact he is able to provide a good dose of melody along the way.

This album is on the longish side with three tracks over ten minutes in length. There is plenty of space for Haque and his band to show their combined skills. The piano playing of Rob Clearfield is the highlight of "Uneven Mantra" to go along with fluent classical guitar from Haque. The sitar drenched "Bengali Bud" really ups the Eastern influence. The interplay between guitar, tablas and sitar is exceptional and makes for some virtuoso performances.

"The Four Corners Suite", containing three movements, is an ambitious offering of angular rhythms and discordant guitar, entering fusion territory with a smattering of progressive elements. Haques' fluid jazz guitar runs are very evident. The "West" movement in particular has some interesting percussion.

Overall, this is a good release of Eastern influenced jazz with quality performances by all involved. Jazz lovers should love this release and is one I can confidently recommend.

Track Listing:
1. Big Bhangra (10:02)
2. The Chant (7:03)
3. Uneven Mantra (10:12)
4. Blu Hindoo (5:29)
5. Bengali Bud (5:01)
6. Fur Peace (11:08)
7. The Hangar (7:35)
8. 32 Taxis (4:00)
The Four Corners Suite
9. North (7:20)
10. South (2:57)
11. West (4:51)

Added: March 8th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2101
Language: english

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