Fareed Haque and Goran Ivanovic Credit: philamonjaro

Chicago-based guitarists Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque collaborated on two albums in the early 2000s, but they’ve since focused on other projects; Ivanovic leads a trio with Matt Ulery on bass and Pete Tashjian on drums, while Haque, a mainstay on the festival circuit, released an album in 2018 with local chamber ensemble the Kaia String Quartet. Lately the guitarists have been playing more shows together, and it always feels like a treat when they share the stage. The sound of the duo’s first album, 2003’s Macedonian Blues: Laments and Dances, favors Ivanovic’s Croatian heritage, mixing Balkan influences with classical, jazz, and flamenco. Tracks such as “Saddest of All” make these diverse styles feel natural together, introducing dissonance to resolve them into the guitars’ meditative interplay. The stylistic range of 2004’s Seven Boats is even broader: “Solitary Waltz” playfully skips along with an incessant rhythm that gives the two guitarists room to string together runs before locking into the next step. The fleeting two-minute “Toccata” gives a sense of what Bach might have done if he’d specialized in Romani folk music instead of Baroque concertos; it’s like listening to geometry that’s learned to dance. In concert, Ivanovic and Haque watch each other for cues and one-up each other’s rhythms and licks in a friendly, exhilarating give-and-take. It’s hard to resist performers who so obviously love playing together.   v