449

The Fareed Haque Group: Cosmic Hug

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
The Fareed Haque Group: Cosmic Hug When guitarist Fareed Haque first came onto the scene in the late '80s, he revealed his impressive technique and placed diverse musical interests, including classical and Indian music, within a more improvisational jazz context. It seemed as though he'd be the next big thing. With a melodic sensibility that brought to mind certain elements of Pat Metheny, along with the blinding technique of an Al Di Meola (albeit more restrained and, consequently, less bombastic), it just seemed like a sure thing. Sadly, following three efforts for Blue Note that included an imaginative reinvention of Crosby, Stills Nash & Young's Déjà Vu, Haque seemed to disappear off the radar.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Haque hasn't been busy. His distinctive approach, especially to classical guitar, has found him as a guest on recordings by artists including Karl Denson, David Sanborn, and Paquito D'Rivera. And while it's been some time since he's released an album under his own name, he's been an integral part of the fusion group Garaj Mahal, which also features bassist Kai Eckhardt.

Gradually, Haque has become better known on the jam band scene, and so it's no surprise that his latest effort, Cosmic Hug—his first in eight years and the debut of his new Fareed Haque Group—fits comfortable within that aesthetic. Sceptics who might imagine that this means endlessly meandering solos couldn't be farther from the truth. Cosmic Hug certainly revolves around the admirable talents of all involved—keyboard players Dan Nimmer and J Cappo, bassist Jon Paul, drummer Don Leoli, and percussionist Kalyan Pathak—but everyone demonstrates a remarkable amount of self-control, making every solo meaningful and to the point.

While New York guitarist Rez Abassi's Snake Charmer fused Indo-centric sensibilities with a more openly harmonic jazz approach, Haque blends a similar sensibility with approachable and compelling grooves. Given that Indian music is more centred on rhythm and linear melody, this is a powerful mix. Cosmic Hug has the kind of imaginative soloing that one would expect from Haque and anyone he would associate with, but it's also infectiously danceable. Live, this group must surely smoke.

That's not to say that all tracks are based on Indian concepts. "Brd is a powerful piece of fusion with a convoluted unison theme and frenzied feel that harkens back to Return to Forever. "Sassi Lassi likewise sports a funkier fusion front, with a lighter façade. Still, the riff-based "Gulab Jammin, "FH/SK, and "Lahara, all featuring Pathak's tablas and vocals, clearly weigh in with a strong eye eastwards.

Throughout, Haque—on assorted electric and acoustic guitars, as well as a sitar guitar—demonstrates a remarkable ability to blend a variety of influences. At the end of the day, Cosmic Hug is a jam band/fusion record, but it doesn't rely on longwinded excess. Loose in approach yet never overstaying its welcome, the Fareed Haque Group is certainly one of the more interesting and distinctive units to hit the jam band scene.

Visit Fareed Haque on the web.


Track Listing: Gulab Jammin; Pairs; Brd; Fade into Oblivion; A-yight; FH/SK; Cosmic Hug; Raj; Lahara; Short Suite; Sassi Lassi.

Personnel: Fareed Haque (electric guitar, steel string guitar, classical guitar, sitar guitar, keyboards and loops), Kalyan Pathak (tabla, percussion, voice), Don Leoli (drums), Dan Nimmer (fender rhodes electric piano), J Cappo (keyboards and electronics), Jon Paul (bass guitar).

Title: Cosmic Hug | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Magnatude Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Leaving Everything Behind" CD/LP/Track Review Leaving Everything Behind
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Keep Me Singing" CD/LP/Track Review Keep Me Singing
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Blackwater
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 27, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.