Haque was born in Chicago in 1963. His father was from Pakistan, his mother from Chile. When he was a child, Haque traveled with his parents all over the world, spending time in SpainFrance, and Iran, in addition to Pakistan and Chile. In 1981 he was given a guitar scholarship from North Texas State University, where he studied jazz guitar. He left after a year and studied classical guitar at Northwestern University. At Northwestern, he joined Howard Levy‘s jazz fusion group. Levy introduced him to Cuban saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, who became a lifelong friend and mentor.[1]

Early albums

In the late 1980s, Rivera introduced Haque to Sting, who had recently founded the record label Pangaea. Haque recorded two albums for Pangaea, Voices Rising and Manresa, and toured with Sting. He recorded Majestad, an unreleased album for Warner Bros. Records which included John Patitucci, Lenny Castro, Russell FerranteMichael Landau, and Carlos Vega. Then he signed with Blue Note Records, made the solo albums Sacred AddictionOpaque, and Deja Vu, and recorded three albums with Javon Jackson. He also played with Joey CalderazzoJoe HendersonBob JamesHerbie Mann, and Cassandra Wilson.[1]

Diverse groups

At Northwestern, Haque was a member of Chevere, a Latin fusion group, and on their album Reunion he played with Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, and Puerto Rican percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo. He joined the jazz fusion group Zawinul Syndicate after he was introduced to Joe Zawinul by Bob Belden, a producer at Blue Note. The Syndicate included Armenian vocalist Arto Tunçboyacıyan, drummer Paco Sery from the Ivory Coast, and American bassist Matt Garrison. He was a member of the Indian fusion band Summit, led by saxophonist George Brooks and including Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain.[1]

In 2001 Haque founded Garaj Mahal, a jam band that played a combination of jazz, rock, and funk that evolved from the members’ diverse musical backgrounds. The band included German bassist Kai Eckhardt.[2] Garaj Mahal toured the U.S. for ten years, releasing several albums. In 2007 it won an Independent Music Award. Two years later Haque was named best world guitarist by Guitar Player.[1]

While recording for Garaj Mahal, Haque discovered the Moog Guitar and electronic music and formed the band MathGames.[1] He started The Flat Earth Ensemble as an exploration of his Indian roots.[2] Because of his parents’ heritage, he grew up hearing music from India and Pakistan. He also cites as an influence the band Shakti, led by John McLaughlin, and their album Natural Elements (1977).[3]

Haque recorded with Goran Ivanovic, whose music is sometimes called Balkan jazz. Ivanovic was born in the former Yugoslavia to a Serbian father and Croatian mother, though, like Haque, he is based in Chicago.[4] Haque and Ivanovic played classical guitar on their duets, Macedonian Blues (2003) and Seven Boats (2004).[5]

Classical music

Haque wrote the “Lahara Double Concerto” for guitar, sitar, and tabla. He performed it in 2004 with the Chicago Sinfonietta and tabla musician Ustad Zakir Hussain. He composed the “Gamelan Concerto” as a commissioned classical guitar piece for the Fulcrum Point Ensemble. With the Chicago Philharmonic he gave a concert in which he performed guitar concertos by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Aranjuez.[1]

In 1988, he was hired by Northern Illinois University to teach jazz and classical guitar. He also gives interactive guitar lessons over the internet.[1]


  • Voices Rising (Pangaea, 1988)
  • Manresa (Pangaea, 1989)
  • Sacred Addiction (Blue Note, 1993)
  • Opaque (Blue Note, 1995)
  • Déjà Vu (Blue Note, 1997)
  • Macedonian Blues with Goran Ivanovic (Proteus, 2001)
  • “Cosmic Hug” (Magnitude, 2005)
  • Flat Planet (Owl, 2008)
  • Trance Hypothesis (Delmark, 2013)
  • Out of Nowhere with Billy Hart and George Mraz (Charleston Square, 2013)
  • New Latin American Music for Guitar and String Quartet with Kaia String Quartet (Delmark, 2018)
  • IndoBalkan with Goran Ivanovic (Delmark, 2020)


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e f g “Fareed Haque – NIU – School of Music” Archived from the original on 28 July 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. Jump up to:a b Leslie, Jimmy (1 March 2009). “Fareed Haque” Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  3. ^ Prown, Pete (9 February 2010). “Fareed Haque: Worldly Jazz Virtuoso”Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  4. ^ Walton, Jack (11 February 2016). “There’s more to guitarist Goran Ivanovic’s music than ‘Balkan jazz'”South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  5. ^ Steinberg, Aaron (July 2004). “Jazz Albums: Seven Boats Goran Ivanovic/Fareed Haque” Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.