Garaj Mahal has confirmed two new releases. The band, whose current lineup includes Kai Eckhardt (bass), Fareed Haque (guitar/sitar), Eric Levy (keyboards) and Sean “the Rick” Rickman (drums), will release the new Owl Studios recording More Mr. Nice Guy.
“This CD marks the recorded debut of drummer, composer and vocalist Sean ‘the Rick’ Rickman with Garaj Mahal. His contributions are stunning,” Hasque said in a statement. “‘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.”
“I first began performing in the Bay Area with guitarist Shawn Lane in ’92,” Rickman adds. “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.”
In addition, Garaj Mahal appear on the new Moog Music release Discovery: Garaj Mahal and Fareed Haque Present The Moog Guitar. Hasque recently started playing the new Moog guitar, which led to the band’s involvement in the project.
According to the band, “ Discovery was inspired by Garaj Mahal’s exploration of the Moog Guitar’s sonic palette and the limitless ways that it can be incorporated into traditional and modern playing and production styles. The result is a vibrant, eclectic yet coherent body of work from players at the top of their game. The songs span a range of styles from clubby euro/electro and jazz/rock to traditional jazz and classical. Whether overdubbing seven Moog Guitar parts to recreate a Vivaldi lute concerto or sampling, processing and remixing The Moog Guitar with Ableton Live (by Garaj Mahal keyboardist and Moog synth wiz, Eric Levy), Fareed and company never sacrifice musical expression for technical showmanship.”