My 1st blog post – Welcome!

The thing I love most about the internet is the feeling of connectedness I get by reading and sharing posts in “real time,” and occasionally, even getting re-acquainted with old friends I’d lost contact with over the years. Even though many of my Facebook friends I have never met in person, I still feel that some are now friends, and in those cases, given the chance, I would really welcome meeting them one day in person.

I am passionate about honesty and communication. I love conversing, and even debating, about a wide range of topics with a diverse group of people, whether they be strangers or friends, and whether we agree completely on what we’re discussing or not. Some of my favorite subjects include music and creativity (of course), philosophy, health and wellness (mind, body and spirit), food, business, history, politics, sports, animals and nature, etc.

Jo Jo Golden Retriever and Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Jo Jo Golden Retriever and Cherry Blossoms in Japan

 

I love all that brings us together in humanity and abhor all that divides us. Patience is not one of my most developed virtues, but I am working on it. What riles my impatience the fastest is dogma and pomposity. One encounters plenty of that on the internet, but I believe the positives of the internet outweigh the negatives. So, in an effort to modernize my website (LONG overdue!) and internet presence, and to celebrate my love of outreach, communication and sharing, I hereby initiate my first ever blog! With your help, I will learn how to do this (I am such a dinosaur at 57 years of age), so please post a comment or two, and I will respond accordingly. No subject is off limits.

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Healing Music

There is a widespread belief that music is medicine. I subscribe to that belief, not only at a basic “gut” level, but also because throughout my academic studies that culminated with a Doctoral Degree program at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, I researched sound evidence of its truth.

Please consider that, and me, as and when you discuss events and entertainment with your colleagues and clients.

I am at your service on demand with the gift of music!

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Greg “Jazzman” Chako new trio gig

I, hereby dubbed “The Jazzman,” am thrilled to announce two upcoming trio gigs at The Pythodd Jazz Room (http://www.pythoddjazzroom.com/#!contact-us/ehxkj) in Charlotte (Rochester, NY).

I am playing on Thursday Sept. 15th and 29th 2016, 8-11pm, performing jazz standards from The Great American Songbook and some of my originals, with some very highly seasoned pros: bassist Fred Stone and drummer Bobby Blandino. There is NO cover charge. This trio is an extension to a duo Fred and I formed for up-market parties and functions, called The Great American Songbook. Billed The “Jazzman” Trio with Bobby, we will branch out with more bluesy Chako originals, waltz’s, and modern-jazz selections by composers like Cedar Walton, Wes Montgomery, and Horace Silver.

If you play and would like to sit in for a song or two, bring your axe and let me know. Hope to see you there for fine food, swinging jazz, drinks, and an overall exceptional environment!

gt:headshotsm

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I Found My Soul-Mate on Facebook

Recently, the jazz radio station where I live had a contest for Valentines Day. All one had to do to win a marvelous series of prizes, was to write an email to the station stating why our loved one deserved to win their prize. I tried it. I did not win. The winner’s letter was read aloud on the show. That letter described a scary flirt with death the winner had after 28 years of marriage, and how his wife helped and supported him during that experience. It was touching. But I concede that I felt jealous, not because I didn’t win something marvelous for my wife; but because he had 28 years with his loved one before his serious health trouble, and given my own marital circumstances, I will be very lucky indeed to have more than 28 years of blissful marriage with the love of my life.

My letter describes our story very briefly, and I thought some of you might be keen to know of it. Here it is:

I Found My Soul-Mate on Facebook

By Greg Chako, Jan. 24th, 2016

Exactly 1 year ago, I was finally reunited with my beloved wife, when she arrived at Rochester International Airport from Singapore. We had been painfully separated for two years due to the USA’s immigration regulations, just after getting married in Singapore Jan. 8th 2014, on my winter break from DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) degree studies at The Eastman School of Music. When we got married, we had no idea we would be forced to live apart for so long!

Our story is poignant and bittersweet, and that is only 1 reason I believe my wife deserves such a wonderful Valentines gift from 90.1. The other reason is because of her character: she is generous and compassionate to a fault. She has spent a lifetime helping others, even when her own personal circumstances might seem to have demanded more concern for her own wellbeing instead of that of others. Let me briefly tell you how our love affair developed.

Roughly 20 years ago, I was a steadily working jazz musician in the tropical island paradise of Singapore. Gigging nightly and managing a successful music production company, I could afford some basic housekeeping help much more than I could the time to do it myself, so I hired a Filipino maid part-time on the advice of my roommate, an American sax player who knew of this woman’s “side” work cleaning houses. I knew her then as Josie, and for a year or so, she came to my apartment once a week to help clean and straighten things up. We were both intimately involved with other partners at the time, so our relationship was only of a friendly business nature. She was oddly attractive to me then, but I had no notion that at the time, she harbored quite a fascination with me! This I learned only after we got married 20 years later. Josie left my employ for better work and we lost touch with each other for a long time.

In October of 2013, I got a private text message on Facebook from a Jocelyn Eswagen, asking me if I remembered her. I replied, “No, I didn’t,” and it was what she said next that really intrigued me: she wrote, “oh . . . I used to clean your underwear!” We started texting each other, sharing a lot about our lives, and after a while, I asked if I could “see” her using Skype. Eventually, she complied with my request, and honest to God, I fell in love the moment I saw her. Many more conversations ensued long-distance, and I wanted to see her in person very much. She could not visit America because of her “24-7” retail business (and 3 kids) in Singapore, so I came to her. When she met me at the airport, she approached me and hugged me tight. Honestly, I knew in that moment that I had never before been hugged like that before . . . and I felt that the emotions were real. I stayed with her there for about 3 weeks, actually marrying before having to return to Rochester to continue my doctoral studies. Had I known then that it would be a two-year separation, as opposed to merely a few months, I would never have come back; because in that moment, nothing was more important than being by her side.

There were many ups and downs (mostly downs) which occurred during our immigration ordeal, but ultimately, we prevailed and are together now in Rochester, NY. Getting settled in has not been easy, but we have quickly adapted. I am no longer the (relatively) “rich and famous” jazz musician she admired in times past, but I long to give her everything she deserves, and this prize from 90.1 sounds fantastically romantic and deserving of the gifts she provides me with selflessly in the course of her daily life. She deserves this gift, and our love and dedication to each other is fitting for this timely Valentines Day reward. Let us welcome this remarkable (please take my word for it!) individual to Rochester, NY in STYLE, ok?

Below you can see a couple pictures of the two of us, shortly after getting married . . .

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Integration 1 & 2

int 1 and 2 combined cd cover

Please check out my newest release, Integration 1 & 2. It’s finally on sale with more details and audio from the online store in this website. Here are some critical CD review excerpts:
Greg Chako creates a new style, breathing exotic jazz-ethno music full of spirit and solid musical foundation – Jazz Dimensions of Germany

A jazz mosaic painted with the very best of cultural, ethnic, and musical sensibilities. That striking combination provides a sumptuousness and extensiveness in the music that is rarely found in any genre. I think it’s safe to say that Greg Chako and his magnificent band are one of the world’s best-kept secrets. The word is now out; don’t hesitate in seeking out this essential jazz experience! – Keith ‘MuzikMan’ Hannaleck, Jazz Reviews

The music transcends geographic boundaries and cultures and communicates the happiness and friendship that all music should provide – Vince Lewis, Just Jazz Guitar

Recalls those exciting hard blowing sessions of the 1960’s which featured Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, and Jackie McLean . . . with an effective mix of hard bop and Latin rhythms guaranteed to keep listener attention – David Nathan, All Music Guide

Chako, the composer, takes his inspiration from the rich Blue Note Iode, with echoes of Shorter, Hancock, and Dorham reverberating through his uniformly heartfelt performances, all of which sound like they could have found a home in the Jazz Messengers’ book – Cadence Magazine

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CDs in 2015

Greg's CDs and office

Greg’s CDs and office

I worked very hard (with lots of love!) to produce and release 10 different CDs, that included solo guitar, duo, trio, up to to 10-piece in format (with horns and percusion); some featured vocals, including my own song lyrics; standards; Horace Silver tunes; and 50 of my own original compositions; and the professional reviews were (and continue to be) consistently rave, to say the least. So, when I tell folks I am now giving them away to anyone who is interested in checking them out, some of my friends and family say I’m crazy! They say the CDs contain such good music and are so valuable as a product, why don’t I sell them for a fair price instead of letting them go for nothing? I realize they’re good and valuable – I created and paid for them – in more ways than one.

"Partial" CD storage

Greg’s (partial) CDs in basement storage collecting dust

Well, the reason I have offered to give them away is really quite simple. I’d rather have anyone anywhere in the world listening to and enjoying them, than having them sealed and sitting in boxes in my basement collecting dust.

I’ve found it too hard to sell them, so I’ve given away over 300 CDs in the past year, and have many more to share with listeners. Sincere thanks and appreciation for those who did send me a check, a barter-in-kind, or just a note of thanks saying you liked them. That means the world to me! I suppose the digital revolution, schedules, and time-space limitations are some reasons why more people do not want more CDs on their hands, regardless of their artistic and production quality, but, here is another good reason for me to start my own blog and update (slowly slowly . . . ) my website: to help get the word out that you can buy my CDs directly from this website very cheaply, or, contact me by Email, Facebook, Skype, Phone, Letter (does anyone even write and post letters anymore?), to let me do whatever possible to share this jazz with your ears, hearts and minds.

 

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