Imagine sitting in world-renowned guitarist Fareed Haque’s living room as he jams with fellow jazz musicians.
That’s what audience members will experience during Haque’s upcoming performance with Tony Monaco at 2 p.m. June 9 in the Listening Room at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake.
“This is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime chance, I think, for music fans to hear someone like Tony and myself up close,” said Haque, who has performed with Sting and is known as a virtuoso in the music world and through his numerous classical and jazz collaborations.
“Usually on the jazz festival stage, you’re seeing a few dots,” he said. “One of the nice things about this room is we can play not only the straight-ahead jazz, but also some music that’s a little more intricate, featuring the classic guitar with the jazz organ.”
Not only does the intimate setting, which seats about 90 comfortably, offer a unique experience, but the performance itself is a rarity.
Haque, a professor of jazz and classical guitar at Northern Illinois University, has received a wide range of accolades, including the “Most Valuable Player Award” at the 2002 High Sierra Music Festival and “Best World Guitarist” by Guitar Player Magazine in 2009.
He’s released numerous albums and continues to tour and record extensively, along with documenting his work in a series of interactive video courses through TrueFire.
Mentored by the legendary Jimmy Smith, Monaco has toured around the globe, taught private students, classes and clinics, and produced a series of instructional videos titled “Playing Jazz Hammond.” He toured and recorded with Pat Martino and has released numerous albums.
The two will perform with rising star and jazz drummer Greg Fundis.
“It’s not as often anymore that musicians in the jazz world have enough work and time together to actually develop a rapport and call it a band,” Haque said. “It’s important for us musicians to be able to do that.”
It’s also not often musicians combine both traditional and modern jazz in a performance, he said. While Monaco’s more traditional, Haque is more modern. Together, their performance is “high energy,” Haque said.
“We both share in common a real affection for groove,” Haque said. “It’s always going to swing. It’s always going to be funky. That’s where we hook up. ... We’re a modern group that’s still interested in swinging and grooving.”
Created last year, the Listening Room has developed slowly, with plans to eventually draw in more high caliber regional and national acts, said Roger Reupert, the room’s program house manager.
A “local focus series” also is planned for the fall, with two to three performances scheduled a month and a jazz open jam planned for the fourth Fridays starting in August, he said.
“It’s really one of the most well designed rooms from a musician’s standpoint because of the acoustics and the stage and the lighting,” Reupert said.
“What’s interesting about this whole building, not just the Listening Room, is that it seems to go unnoticed. It’s kind of out of the way,” he said. “The hardest thing I think is to just get people here. Once they get here, they come back.”
Reupert, a musician himself, played in a band with Haque about 20 years ago and sought him out for the Listening Room. Haque previously put on a classical guitar performance at the venue.
“I was amazed at what he could do on a guitar because he really is one of those people that you don’t run across in a normal musician environment even. He’s really something special because he can do anything on a guitar,” Reupert said.