GARAJ MAHAL — Mondo Garaj (review)

GARAJ MAHAL — Mondo Garaj album cover Album · 2003 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
darkshade
It's obvious these guys love their 70s jazz-rock/fusion, and 90s/2000s jazz-funk. But these guys also like to throw in some electronic stuff, and also some world music, most notably on this album Indian music.

The album opens up with the funky title track. Lots of slap bass, and an initial favorite when I first heard this album. It's funky, but there is some interesting interplay between the keys and guitar.

There's a lot of cool tracks here featuring funky rhythms, and some Indian-influenced flavors. A couple of tracks have a strong John Scofield feel, ala Uberjam. But also Big Fun by Miles Davis comes to mind, with a lot of Sitar playing.

There's even a Frank Zappa moment in the song "Poodle Factory". (anyone get the double joke?). However I am reminded of bands like Telefon Tel Aviv when I hear the electric piano, but it only lasts a few seconds.

There is also a Soulive/Lettuce feel too. Great beats and a little DJ scratching thrown in. Lots of funk. It's hard for me to call this "jazz-funk" though. Sure, there's a lot of funky moments, and there's almost always a groovin' beat, but there's so much more to this music than funk, you can't stick that label to it. There is a good amount of world music, mixed with classic sounds of the 70s fusion artist, but in no way is this retro-sounding. It very much sounds like a modern, progressive recording.

If you enjoy works by John Scofield, Medeski Martin & Wood, Soulive, and Lettuce, you will love this album.
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