Fareed Haque – Out of Nowhere (2013)

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Fareed Haque boasts a pallette accustomed to varied musical tastes. Raised in Chicago by a Chilean mother and a Pakistani father, he grew into roving cross-cultural genius on guitar. But this is not that kind of record.

Instead, Haque — making his debut on Charleston Square — is joined by jazz stalwarts George Mraz and Billy Hart on bass and drums, respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the menu follows along a more straight-forward set of ingredients, as this base trio reinterprets a series of standards including Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” and Perry Como’s “Lollipops and Roses” and the title track, most memorably handled by Bing Crosby. Elsewhere, Haque is joined by pianist Rob Clearfield, bassist John Tate and drummer Corey Healey for runs through Duke Ellington’s “I Got It Bad,” John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and Grant Green’s “Flood in Franklin Square.”

In keeping, what with all of Haque’s many career explorations, Out of Nowhere feels aptly named. This is the sound of a musician returning to his roots, back to the old neighborhood, amid utterly familiar sights and smells. Yet the disc never settles into comfy nostalgia. Haque brings back a wealth of experience, and a chef’s eye for fusing the expected with the unusual.

For instance, if it hadn’t been completely revealed before, this impishly improvisational setting showcases the deep depth of influence that Pat Martino had on Haque through zippy moments like “Waiting for Red” and “Tex Mex.” There are also spicy dashes of John McLaughlin, and of Jim Hall. The Ellington piece is given a slow-fired makeover with the addition of an organ. Haque grabs a Moog guitar for his look in on Coltrane. Even when he switches to acoustic, as on the Crosby standard, it’s with a fizzy sense of adventure. Turns out you can go back again — if only for the home cooking.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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