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Garaj Mahal At Greenhouse Grille

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highlightsThe Greenhouse Grille is doing something different this Saturday night. When the south Fayetteville restaurant moved to a much larger space this summer, the owners promised that they would occasionally roll back the rug and transform the popular eatery into a music venue. That is precisely what’s happening Saturday when touring band Garaj Mahal will play the venue.

The last dinner seating on Saturday will be at 8 p.m. and the band is scheduled to take the stage at 10:30 p.m. Although the regular menu won’t be available during the music, Jerrmy Gawthrop, one of the restaurant owners, said that some of the regular appetizers (and of course the full bar) and maybe some new appetizers will be available for hungry dancers.

Garaj Mahal is one of the most popular bands that comes through Northwest Arkansas. The band is guitarist and sitar player Fareed Haque, bassist Kai Eckhardt, keyboardist Eric Levy and drummer Sean Rickman.

Garaj Mahal delivers an improvisation show that is a blend of funk and jazz with a Middle Eastern influence. It’s the Middle Eastern touch and the sheer talent of the players that sets Garaj Mahal apart from the bevy of other jam improv outfits. And yes indeed, the music is dancable.

Haque studied at North Texas State University under a jazz guitar scholarship and then transferred to Northwestern University to study classical guitar. He became a fixture in Chicago jazz circles and has performed or recorded with many big names including Sting, Dizzy Gillespie, Cassandra Wilson, Ramsey Lewis as well as with several symphony orchestras in the U.S. and abroad. He is an associate professor of jazz and classical guitar at Northern Illinois University.

The son of two Chicago musicians, Levy was exposed to a variety of musical styles at an early age. His father was a well-known local jazz flautist, and an early programmer of synthesizer sounds. Eric programs all of his patches, a result of his father’s teachings.

Guitarist, bassist and drummer Sean Rickman toured and performed with his father, guitarist Phil Upchurch, before playing with Angela Bofill from 1994 to 1996. After that he performed with Maxwell, Steve Coleman and MeshellNdegeocello.

Eckhardt, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, has performed with Randy Brecker, Stanley Clarke, John McLaughlin Trio, Bela Fleck, Al DiMeola, Bill Evans, Omar Hakim, Patrice Rushen, Larry Williams, Teri Lynne Carrington and Trilok Gurtu among others. Some of his work as a composer and arranger is currently being performed by the vocal ensemble SoVoSo, formerly known as Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra.

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