What happens when you throw together a West Coast drummer who was a child prodigy, a cool Midwestern keyboard jazz cat, a world-renowned classical and jazz guitarist and a German-born, West African-raised bassist? You get Garaj Mahal, one of those jam bands that has a pedigree that matches the hype: Its members can claim playing with the likes of Sting, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker and Bela Fleck. Their blend of jazz, R&B, blues, world and funk gets jam-band-loving booties in a real stir. One reviewer called Garaj Mahal one of the best kept secrets of the jam band genre. Those who have uncovered the secret call themselves--wait for it--Garaj Mahalics.
Local world music exponents Project Mastana (pictured above) blend Indian melodies and African rhythms with jazz and bluegrass: Think Bollywood Breaks but mix in some roots music. And when you hear they've got a tabla, a djembe and balafon (wooden xylophone), with vocals in Hindi, Mende, French and English, you can't say it doesn't sound exotic.
Get ready to shake off your conscious mind--easy to do with the help of The Pour House's wall o' beer--and let your gypsy-wear flow as Project Mastana opens for Garaj Mahal Monday, Sept. 23, at 10 p.m. at The Pour House in Raleigh. Call 821-1120 for details. --Laura Hatmaker