First Appeared at The Music Box, November 1999, Volume 6, #11
Written by John Metzger
When Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young released Deja Vu in 1970, it became an instant classic — something the quartet has been striving to live up to ever since. In 1997, guitarist Fareed Haque dared to reinvent the album for Capitol Records' Blue Note Cover Series. At first glance, this might appear to be a bit sacrilegious, but one listen to what Haque has produced is sure to change one's point of view.
Haque's version of Deja Vu is nothing short of sheer genius. He transforms the grooves and melodies first laid down by CSN&Y nearly thirty years ago into a multi-ethnic excursion that straddles the boundaries between jazz, classical, and rock. His rendition of Carry On crackles with electricity as he builds upon the jazz fusion of Miles Davis, while on Teach Your Children, he makes it easy to drift downstream on the song's floating rhythm. For Neil Young's Helpless, Haque slips slide guitar (played with a Bic lighter) over David Onderdonk's rhythmic textures and Larry Gray's gentle cello accompaniment.
Is it possible to improve on CSN&Y's original album? Probably not, but Haque's understanding of the original album is remarkable, and his talent as a guitarist is nothing short of spectacular. Consequently, his Deja Vu is stunning, brilliant, and downright incredible.
Deja Vu is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box