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Garaj Mahal - More Mr. Nice Guy CD (album) cover


Garaj Mahal


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.66 | 4 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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.

Anon-E-Mouse | 3/5 |


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