Classically-trained guitarist Fareed Haque is a gifted virtuoso whose smooth technique and world music-influenced approach to jazz reflect a childhood spent traveling, absorbing local sounds from the musicians of Spain, Pakistan and Iran. Opaque opens with the Indian-flavored rhythmic punctuations of "Unison," which features nimble percussion work by Mark Walker, then segues seamlessly into the Spanish influence of the title track. The classical approach of "Duet #2" showcases the guitarist's technical prowess, while the album's most effective cut, "Tabriz," finds Haque and Walker in Middle Eastern mode, conjuring up a mystical brew that evokes images of crowded marketplaces. The album is greatly enriched by the subtle mastery of bassist Jonathan Paul, whose sublime style reinforces Haque's sound without stepping on its toes, and guest percussionist Hamid Drake, whose dazzling tabla adds sizzling accents to "Pastoral" and "Inspiration City." An excellent exercise in jazz-world fusion.
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AllMusic Review by Bret Love