Garaj Mahal Live Vol. 1
Kai Eckhardt: Bass
Fareed Haque: Guitar
Eric Levy: Keyboards
Alan Hertz: Drums
*Zakir Hussain: Tabla
Gulam Sabri* (17:37) [Haque] Semos* (11:59) [Eckhardt] Intro Jam* (1:53)
Celtic Indian* (12:36) [Hertz] Ivory Tower (15:15) [Eckhardt] Of a Simple Mind (7:31) [Haque]
Recorded August 23, 2002
Live at The Great American Music Hall (San Francisco)
Recorded by Charlie Miller
Mastered by James Lee at www.soundscripturestudio.com
Released by: Harmonized Records #HAR-006
With: Home Grown Music Network
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, GARAJ MAHAL!
Happily, this band has true synergy. In the classic sense of the words that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Garaj Mahal has no weakness. The band is capable of supreme moments of clarity where time and space expand and you are one with the music. In addition the soloing capabilities of each member is at the level of talent where you are simply mesmerized by how good these guys really are.
The band is an interesting combination of elements with a touch of humor that makes them hard not to like. Kai Eckhardt, probably most noted for his work with the John McLaughlin Trio, and Fareed Haque having a stint with The Zawinul Syndicate under his belt lead this quartet through some Jazz Rock jamming that rivals any “well known Jazz Rock musician(s), and is by far and away the very best of the now profusely proliferating “Jam Bands scene. There are other great Jazz Rock Jam Bands to be sure, such as Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Derek Trucks Band, Bela Fleck, Charlie Hunter (Garage A Trois), and of course Phish. But none of these bands can rival the speed, dexterity, and tastefulness of Garaj Mahal. Garaj Mahal are great musicians that can jam at an incredible level, listening closely and reacting quickly, they make it all seem so easy and it always sounds so tasty.
I chose to cite their live release simply called “Garaj Mahal Live Vol. 1 to post this review as an example for a description of the band itself and all four of their official releases. They have a unique sound that is at once recognizable and yet smacks of many great bands and styles. From Grant Green’s “Jan Jan, to the Zappaesque “Poodle Vamp, and Alfred James Ellis’s “The Chicken, this band knows no limits. Their original compositions such as Hertz’s “Make A Hippy Happy, Haque’s “Gulam Sabri, and Eckhardt’s “Never Give Up, and “Semos (the father of all “apes in Tim Burton’s remake of “The Planet of the Apes) are perfect vehicles for the unified talent of this band and have an earthy quality that can be summed up in two words “good music.
For Jazz Rock fans, Garaj Mahal is the best thing to happen musically since the 80’s. Think about that for a moment. And if I’m exaggerating, may the lord strike me de-, no, no, blind… (Thank you Mel…)
Fortunately, I have a cable connection to my Internet and have downloaded about 30 of their legally taped concerts. I still can’t get enough of these guys. What’s nice about their official releases “Mondo Garaj their 2003 studio release, and the three live releases “Vol. I, “Vol. II, and “Vol. III is the significance of having different songs on each Cd and the recording quality is first class. Even though the band has over 100 concerts for download, you should consider the official releases for the reasons already cited in addition you’ll be supporting the band and that’s the best way to say “thank you to a very special band.
In conclusion, no matter where you came from musically, if you’re into Jazz Rock, Prog Rock, Jam Bands, Funk Bands, or playing flutes barefoot in a tree (thank you Firesign…), you’ll like these guys a lot. Bet you can’t buy just one!