Garaj Mahal's "More MR. Nice Guy" Released on Owl Studios


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There is always something new and progressive coming from Garaj Mahal. Featuring guitar and sitar virtuoso Fareed Haque, world-renowned bass master and educator Kai Eckhardt, gospel-inspired funky jazz keyboardist Eric Levy, and newly-added drummer/vocalist Sean “the Rick" Rickman, Garaj Mahal creates a sound that's always growing and always smoking hot.

Since their formation in 2000, Garaj Mahal continues to earn critical acclaim and to grow their fanbase thanks to their ability to deliver serious “shut-up-and-listen" grooves while simultaneously bringing the dance floor alive. Their collective musical experience allows them to constantly push the envelope of composition and improvisation. Their sound - a convergence of jazz-style improvisation, mystical Middle-Eastern atmospheres, and danceable American funk - attracts music lovers from all parts of the spectrum.

Garaj Mahal's exciting new Owl Studios recording is called More Mr. Nice Guy, and marks the debut of drummer/vocalist Sean Rickman. “The Rick" shared some info about his background: “I first began performing in the Bay Area with guitarist Shawn Lane in '92. Then I returned with saxophonist Steve Coleman and spent a lot of time in the Bay Area during a residency where I met many new friends. I later performed with Dapp Theory, M'eshell Ndegeocello, and now Garaj Mahal. I've developed a family of friends and a love for the city of San Francisco and the Northern California region. It's a different lifestyle than the East Coast where I'm originally from. Doing the record in a studio tucked in the woods an hour north of San Francisco was a great experience where we got to focus on making this CD. I was happy to add a vocal touch to the band, which had previously drenched itself in serious instrumentals. What can I say other than we had a great time recording, partying, geeking out and hanging. Was it work? Yes, but it was fun. This is a new phase for the band and I'm glad to be part of it."

Bassist Kai Eckhardt added his own summation of the Garaj Mahal experience: “'The music of Garaj Mahal goes boldly where no music has gone before' Is the shortest accurate description of this courageous endeavor anchored firmly in a solid foundation laid by it's seasoned and accomplished members. No other band gets away with a sonic experience stretching across a landscape from dance to funk to rock and jazz while seamlessly integrating African, Indian, Middle Eastern and modern Electronica flavors into it's vast repertoire Every show is unique and the band's live interplay borderlines on telepathy. If the United States is the premier land of cultural diversity, Garaj Mahal is the premier band of the future in the United States today. In the words of the late great American bassist Jaco Pastorious: 'It's not bragging if you can back it up'. The band will stretch your imagination, make you dance and leave you with a smile on your face."

Eric Levy, when asked about his contributions to More Mr. Nice Guy, responded: “When I chose my two compositions to record, my intention was to make them sound natural and live, this due to having only eight days to finish the tracking, editing and mixing stages of the project. The exception was 'Faster Than The Speed Of Light', which is actually just a :45 intro to 'Tachyonics', but it's so different I felt compelled to make it a separate track. 'Tachyonics' is perhaps the least complex tune I've composed for the band. 'Alison's Pony' was recorded with drums in a small room, while I was in the big room on the piano with Kai and Fareed. I'd originally planned to layer this track a bit with acoustic guitar and percussion, but when I asked Fareed and Sean individually, they both said they weren't really feeling it. I'm happy I switched gears at that moment. I love the openness of the track and shiver a bit thinking that I almost covered it all up. Each band member has an opportunity as producer of their compositions to shape them in their own creative ways, and since we're so diverse, so culturally contrasting, all of our records feature a bit of variety - as does this paragraph."

Guitarist/sitarist/banjoist Fareed Haque added these notes about the album and his compositions: “This CD marks the recorded debut of drummer, composer and vocalist Sean 'the Rick' Rickman with Garaj Mahal. His contributions are stunning. 'Frankly Frankie Ford' is a tune that is my attempt at writing something American, Country, anthemic and mysterious... something where I get to play banjo, an instrument we think of as purely American but is in fact rooted deep in West African tradition. For 'The Long Form' I kept thinking there are lots of short cool funky rock tunes and lots of long complex Indian tunes. I wanted to write something that was a long complex cool funky rockin' Indian tune. The plan is to add one section every few months until it's so long it keeps getting more and more bizarre."

This story appears courtesy of Michael Bloom Media Relations.
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