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GARAJ MAHAL

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Garaj Mahal biography
GARAJ MAHAL is an American jazz/rock fusion band formed in 2000. They are a four piece instrumental band, consisting of Kai Eckhardt (bass), Fareed Haque (guitars), Alan Hertz (drums), and Eric Levy (keys). They play a wide range of music, ranging from Indian influences, to rock, to jazz, and even funk. Their sound is very distinct, and they are one of the most renowned modern jazz/rock fusion bands. They are mostly a jam band, and their 2007 album Blueberry Cave won The 6th Annual Independent Music Award for best jam album, proving them to be an excellent band.

They released their debut album Mondo Garaj in 2003, showing their talent and virtuosoity on their respected instruments. The released a live album with 3 volumes in 2003, and two more studio albums titled Blueberry Cave (2007) and w00t (2008).

They are a band that continues to impress, and show their talent in ways many other bands can't. They will appeal to a wide range of people, even outside of this genre of music. I am not a huge jazz/rock fan, I'm actually a prog metal fan, and yet this band impresses me with almost everything they do. Highly Recommended to anybody looking for some great music!

WHY THIS BAND IS ON PA:
Approved by the Jazz/Rock Fusion Team

- Written by Jeff Ballew (J-Man)

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Buy GARAJ MAHAL Music


Blueberry CaveBlueberry Cave
Harmonized 2005
$10.21
$9.22 (used)
Live, Vol. 3Live, Vol. 3
Harmonized 2003
$10.80
$6.38 (used)
Mondo GarajMondo Garaj
Harmonized 2003
$5.35
$6.47 (used)
Live, Vol. 1Live, Vol. 1
Harmonized 2003
$9.91
$5.50 (used)
WootWoot
Owl Studios 2008
$27.99
$8.18 (used)
More Mr. Nice GuyMore Mr. Nice Guy
Owl Studios 2010
$15.27 (used)
Live, Vol. 2Live, Vol. 2
Harmonized 2003
$10.57
$5.97 (used)
Blueberry Cave by GARAJ MAHAL (2005-11-01)Blueberry Cave by GARAJ MAHAL (2005-11-01)
Harmonized
$41.41
$28.71 (used)
Live 1 by Garaj Mahal (2003-03-18)Live 1 by Garaj Mahal (2003-03-18)
Harmonized (2003-03-18)
$38.25
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GARAJ MAHAL discography


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GARAJ MAHAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
Mondo Garaj
2003
3.26 | 6 ratings
Blueberry Cave
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
w00t
2008
3.66 | 4 ratings
More Mr. Nice Guy
2010

GARAJ MAHAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live Vol. I
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live Vol. II
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live Vol. III
2003

GARAJ MAHAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GARAJ MAHAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GARAJ MAHAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GARAJ MAHAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blueberry Cave by GARAJ MAHAL album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 6 ratings

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Blueberry Cave
Garaj Mahal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For some strange reason, "Blueberry Cave" by the band Garaj Mahal has not received the love it deserves on this site. The band is a jazz fusion band that relies on a progressive rock, funk, trip/hip-hop style to keep things current. They also experiment with traditional Indian music as it is sometimes intermixed into the overall picture. The use of sitar in some of the band's jams is a nice touch, and when it is used as an improvisational instrument, it is nothing short of amazing. Sometimes the band gets a little off track on this album as it tries to make things too current with Rap or 2nd rate lyrics, but this doesn't happen often and is easy to overlook considering the amount of talent these musicians have. This album also won the 6th Annual Independent Music Award for Best Jam Album, which is quite well deserved. This band is one of the tightest when it comes to their solos and jams.

"The Shadow" starts things off on a funky upbeat track, with "Hit me!" and some wordless funky vocals that fit right in to the jam. There is a cool, playful organ with drums that play right along with the organ notes. Then the guitar takes the reigns for a while before returning to the opening motif. Throughout this stop/start tricky progressiveness, things still remain funky and very danceable. Everything shines here, bass, guitar, keys and drums, all playing at full bore, with some tricky passages thrown in to keep it all interesting. The ensemble is tight and the improvised solos are right on point. The excitement of the track makes the 9 minute opening track move by quite quickly.

"Alvin" has a more solid walking beat, or should I say strut. It is a strong and confident number with a strong back beat, a scratching effect and a lot of great organ and keys carrying the tune and staccato style supporting vocals. Later when the guitar and bass play off of each other, things only get better.

Next is the 8 minute title track "Blueberry Cave". This starts off with a fast paced, descending guitar pattern that repeats itself. After a minute of this, a more smooth jazz sound takes over with a nice guitar melody and excellent bass line that vies for the spotlight and takes over the solo later. Then guitar and keys play in counterpoint to each other in rapid-fire improvised notes in a call and answer pattern while the bass continues to churn out a craziness of its own. As it continues, the band just plays off of each other trading quick solos while the drums continue unceasingly. You get to finally catch your breath in the last minute when it returns to the main theme.

" 'Spect Rap" is next, and is a short piece utilizing sitar and a more Indian-inspired funkiness with percussion and synth supporting. A rap starts later with a trip-hop feel that gets funkier the further it goes. This moves immediately into "No 'Spect" which keeps the funkiness moving along with some greath synth effects. It gets a bit heavier as electric guitar starts taking over, then singing vocals start up sometimes involving the entire band. Nice guitar effects and synth soloing comes in later with the heavy percussion continuing throughout. The last solo features a heavy guitar sound that approaches a more fusion-like style.

"Massive" features electronic effects, a sitar arpeggio pattern and a fast driving beat and bass. When the sitar drives the melody, this is a pleasant surprise as he keeps up with the rapid tempo without flinching. The sitar continues to be the centerpiece through this one even on the improvised section, while it is supported by the usual rapid fire base and percussion and some synthesizer. Later, intensity builds when the guitar adds heavier ambience, but the sitar continues to drive the track.

"Cosmic Elevator" is the next track. Starting out like it's going to be more like an atmospheric piece, synths establish a chord pattern and a start/stop percussive rhythm start bringing in other instruments and soon another funky background is established. Silly vocals come in, which could have been left off of this one. It gets better when the vocals stop and a keyboard followed by a synth solo takes over. Unfortunately, the cringe-worthy vocals and lyrics keep returning, like they are trying to be the Ohio Players or something. But these guys are better than this and would have been better off without the silly vocals. After that, the track kind of meanders like it doesn't know where to go for a while, then another nice organ and keyboard follows, but those stupid vocals come back as they sing "Come on and ride it!" Ugh!!

"Paladin" saves the day next, after that embarrassing track. This one is a fast paced jazz track with bass and keyboards playing together in an amazing showstopper. Later, a jazzy guitar solo follows as it flirts around with the theme and plays all around it in a cyclone of notes. Bass and keys return again later. And what is that in the background, wah-wah? Very cool.

"Bicycling in Bombay" comes next, and you can expect the sitar again of course, as it starts in a psychedelic style, almost creating a free form jazz feel at first, until the drums and bass signal a start to a solid beat. DJ Fly adds the turntable scratches again and this actually works with the twangy sitar sounds. Staccato vocal effects are created with the scratching effects making for an Indian-influenced hip-hop jazz feel. It's a nice mix of culture jazz.

The last track is the 11+ minute track "Celtic Indian". It establishes a complex riff and keyboard thematic elements. A nice guitar pattern is established against a heavy low end created by the bass. Then jazz guitar with effects against a smooth organ that acts as support. An interesting keyboard plays an offbeat solo while the bass tries frantically to get it on pace. When the bass bridges it all together, it mellows out a bit but it's just a short reprieve. Drums and guitar work to intensify and the band catches fire as the track continues. Just when things seem to want to go out of control, a sudden left turn slows everything to a slow tempo, but the guitar isn't happy with this and suddenly, in a progressive frenzy, everything catches fire again and actually gets rather heavy, before the drums take everything back to a steady slow tempo, but the guitar continues to fight. This time, however, everything stays calm to the end.

I don't know how in the world this album has managed to stay so low in the ratings. This band, even though they have some hiccups in the form of lyrics that should have been left out, is tight. The performances are quite amazing. And things never really let up much. It is too bad that there are those lyrical weak spots, but with performances like this, its easy to look past them. Hopefully people aren't avoiding this album because of those 2 tracks where lyrics are involved. The album goes by as quickly as the sometimes frenzied pace, the solos are amazing and spot on, the sitar adds an exciting flavor to portions of the album and even expands the genre into a new area, and the members of the band are extremely talented. This is a fun album that bubbles with excitement. I think it might be time for people to really look at this album, because it hasn't even had a decent review on the site and most of the low ratings are not even supported with a written explanation. Easily a 4 star album which would have been even higher if it wasn't for the 2 songs with lame lyrics. Not only is it amazing, it is entertaining.

 Blueberry Cave by GARAJ MAHAL album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.26 | 6 ratings

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Blueberry Cave
Garaj Mahal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

2 stars That this album has won the 6th Annual Independent Music Award for Best Jam Album shows why awards are not to be taken seriously. Also, that the music business remains badly compromised for no good reason.

Firstly, this is not a Jam album at all, but a mix of dated Funk. Disco(!) a slight touch of Indian elements alongside the rare stretching out. But it's performed confidently, nevertheless.

Many great artists (John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham and the very Miles Davis along some others) have "strayed" from the path before. The difference is that they didn't receive an award for that - and this album shouldn't have, either.

A great disappointment and a prime contender for a de-listing on PA, if a blacklist of individual albums were to be introduced. It barely fits the category of "Collectors/fans only".

 More Mr. Nice Guy by GARAJ MAHAL album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 4 ratings

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More Mr. Nice Guy
Garaj Mahal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars It's hard to tell if it's a collective of highly skilled musicians, or an actual band. Considering that the members remain the same, it's likely that they became a band in the process of just having some fun in the beginning. Known about their generally excellent live performances - something that caught my attention a while ago - this is the first studio material I've ever listened to. Indeed twice in a row, if only because I couldn't believe my ears as I expected something rather different.

Firstly, the name Garaj Mahal is somewhat meaningless and rather misleading as it implies Indian style music - which it is only to a negligible extent at times It's a mix of Jazz-Fusion and other approaches thrown together in no particular order, at least on this album.

Brilliant musicianship permeates the whole work, but one has to pay attention to realize that beneath some rather lame compositions. Jazz-Fusion is present, but it's dangerously close to elevator music. Slick, smooth, but not quite as cheesy as releases by GRP Records (Dave Gruisin, Lee Ritanour, Eric Gales and the likes). Disregarding the framework to focus on the otherwise credible playing requires some effort, also represents a degree of irritation for having to do so.

But before you could ease into it with some resignation, a couple of tracks that sound as close to Dixie Dregs (minus violin and Steve Morse's permanent wrist vibrato) as it gets. Not bad at all, but a bit out of place. Further fragmentation occurs with the needless addition of two vocal tracks. Not really disturbing voice, only pointless addition that further disrupts the (non-existent) flow. The final tune by Eric Levy (p) is thoughtful and very pleasant, reminiscent of Lyle Mays (of Pat Metheny Group) and perhaps the only one that really pleases on this album.

The conclusion is that great playing onto disjointed and weak framework leaves nothing much memorable here and represents a wasted opportunity. 3.5 stars.

 More Mr. Nice Guy by GARAJ MAHAL album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.66 | 4 ratings

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More Mr. Nice Guy
Garaj Mahal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another interesting jazz fusion release from 2010. The band are mixing (and very professionally) vintage atmospheric keyboards -driven jazz fusion ( influenced by Hancock) with strong Middle-East and Indian music influences. If basic sound is often vintage fusion with funky feeling, there are many excurses to electronics, heavy rock guitars and more commercial jazz territories.

Some compositions sound still as great nostalgia to Headhunters, but in a fresh and slightly modernised way. At the same time album includes some less serious material, including even some openly danceable funky-soul vocals songs (as "Today" or "What My Friends Say"). Being a mixed bag, I think this release could attract different listeners by its freshness. Possibly not the best example for progressive fusion purists, this music still have enough pleasant moments for them to offer as well.

One of really non-boring jazz-fusion work from this spring, could be nice entrance for genre newcomers.

Thanks to J-Man for the artist addition.

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