Haque_cosmic_span3
July/August 2005

The Fareed Haque Group
Cosmic Hug
Magnatude

Cosmic Hug sports album art depicting two Indian women fondling each other's breasts, nearly giving away roughly half the album's game-plan: to excite with tabla-underpinned, sitar swarming grooves. But the sitar turns out to be a sitar-guitar-played by classically trained guitarist Fareed Haque-not quite the real thing, which ends up being justifiable as the movements of "Gulab Jammin" and "Fh/Sk" aren't meant to be traditional Indian ragas by any stretch.

Haque's concept is modern: programmed beats augment those laid by drummer Dan Leali, and Dan Nimmer's Fender Rhodes stylings evoke Miles in the Sky-era Herbie Hancock. The controlled expanse of the title track should have been the stuff of the session's focus, but tossed-off and useless fusion-jazz mazes like "Brd" and "A-yight" soil continuity. Cosmic Hug has a background-music quality overall-surely something to support the ongoing exploitations of those album-art lovelies, but not enough to warrant a reciprocating hug.

Originally published in July/August 2005
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