Pushing Sonic Envelopes

Creating music without borders is Fareed Haque’s specialty. His core desire is to seamlessly weave South Asian classical music, including Indian and Pakistani influences, with jazz, rock, and Western classical forms. His forthcoming album The Flat Earth is an impressive realization of that goal.

The album showcases Haque’s formidable combination of compositional prowess and creative guitar chops that makes this merging of cultures possible. It finds the Pakistani-American musician performing on classical guitar, a sitar-guitar hybrid, as well as electric guitar in both fiery and reflective contexts. His sound—a unique amalgam that owes as much to Grant Green and John McLaughlin as it does to Ravi Shankar—is at the heart of the record, but he leaves plenty of space for his stellar band, The Fareed Haque Group, to shine. The diverse ensemble includes Kala Ramnath on violin; Salar Nader and Kalyan Pathak on tabla and percussion; Rob Clearfield on keyboards; John Paul and John Tate on bass; and Dan Leali and Cory Healy on drums. The team of virtuosos takes Haque’s meticulously constructed compositions and infuses them with exhilarating solos, intricate interplay, and plenty of energy.

Haque is well steeped in pushing sonic envelopes. Since the late ’80s, he’s recorded several high-caliber jazz-world fusion albums for Blue Note Records and Sting’s Pangaea label. He also recently composed and performed From the Eye of a Hurricane, a Spanish guitar concerto commissioned by Chicago’s Fulcrum Point New Music Ensemble. In addition, he plays acoustic Macedonian guitar music in a duo with guitarist Goran Ivanovich. He’s also routinely breaking boundaries with jam-supergroup Garaj Mahal and saxophonist George Brooks’ Summit, an Indian-fusion act which features the legendary tabla master Zakir Hussain.


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