None of the typical jam-band cliches -- patchouli, spinning dancers, aimless soloing -- really applies to Garaj Mahal. Yet the act often gets unfairly lumped into that unsavory bucket. Far from aimless, this improvisational quartet kicks out bad-ass, well-structured grooves and blazing, coherent solos that mine the fertile territory in which Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra collide with Medeski Martin & Wood and the Steve Kimock Band. The result is a uniquely satisfying jazz/rock experience with lots of Middle Eastern spices. And unlike many of their peers, the players in the Garaj possess the jazz chops and compositional skills to keep the party entertaining and groovy for hours -- even for those who aren't spinning.
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