George Brooks Summit at Yoshis
By Gary Zellerbach on Oct 15, 2005
I hang out at Yoshis a lot -- what a great jazz club! (Easy parking, great Japanese food, and an intimate, clean sounding room with no bad seats.) I almost (but not always) go to see guitarists, and last Saturday night (October 8) was no exception.
Fareed Haque first came to my attention on one of my favorite Latin jazz recordings of all time, Paquito D'Rivera's Reunion. The second cut, Reunion, is simply brilliant -- incredible solos by Paquito, Arturo Sandoval, and Fareed. If you like that kind of music, get that CD by all means -- you won't be sorry! In reading through Yoshi's calendar, I saw that Fareed was playing with the George Brooks Summit, so I went. Frankly, I wasn't at all familiar with George Brooks. I looked at his site and was a little leery when I read about the heavy Indian influence. I like Indian music on its own but generally prefer my jazz straight ahead. But it's good to try new things, and I am so glad I went.
Brooks is an excellent composer and the tunes were pretty magical, jazz with a heavy (but not overwhelming) Indian influence. The mix really worked, and the band was exceptionally tight, whether playing 4/4 or more challenging 15/8 rhythms. The rhythm section (Kai Eckhardt on bass and Steve Smith on drums) were solid and blended brilliantly with the amazing playing of tabla master Zakir Hussain.
Fareed did not disappoint. He has incredible technical skills on both the electric and amplified acoustic guitar. (He's supposed to be a heck of a classical guitarist as well.) He drifted between blazing jazz riffs and burning Indian scales and tonalities, combining for a unique sound. You could say that about the whole band -- a really unique sound propelled at the audience by a super tight band of exceptional musicians. Makes for a great night of entertainment!