|Chako has established himself as a
guitar man to be reckoned with. On his latest outing, he ropes
in some dead solid cats that round out the sound and make his
work even more of a jazz record than a busman's holiday. Immersing
himself in a group identity, the cats he's brought on board
raise his game and he's there for the challenge.
A hard hitting date from a guitarist
that's making sure he has a place in
jazz that will be remembered. - Volume
30/Number 272, July 30, 2007, MIDWEST RECORD
first listen to Greg's wonderful guitar work is deeply satisfying,
& (without doubt) an excursion into the adventure that
his music imparts... over half the tracks are originals, and
(as many who read this 'zine know), that makes it an automatic
winner for this reviewer. There is just something about tunes
penned by the artist that lets you know right where they are
coming from! My favorite original on this outing is "Murtabop"
- influences all the way from NYC to China & back (including
some Indian food, which is where the title comes from). This
cut is like a trip 'round the world in 6:32, & is relentless
in the energy it conveys for getting ones' fingers wrapped
'round LIFE... certainly brings out the theme of the title
- I can see those outdoor markets I used to cruise through
in Thailand, or Korea, very clearly when I listen to this
sweet little tune. Another favorite is track # 7, "What
da' Funk"... some real (& legitimate) groovin' happening
here; when the rhythm doubles up, you'll be itchin' to get
on yer' FEET, peepz! True jazz aficionados will HAVE to have
this one in their collection - Greg is a master! I'm impressed
enough to declare this one the "PICK"
of this issue for "best all-round jazz" - without
qualification, it is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- Rotcod Zzaj recvd Aug 1 Celebrity Cafe
“Paint a Picture, Tell a Story” from Greg Chako is a jazz album that includes whimsy and sensual tunes. The instrumentation displayed on the record definitely tells anecdotes and no words are needed.
“Cycles” has cool percussion work along with what sounds like a saxophone. The guitar work has an electronica splash to it, which gives the song a unique twist. The light drumming in the background also makes the track quite catchy.
On “Next” the vibe changes to a more arousing one. A smooth jazz rhythm is produced by the deep beats of sax and guitar. This song could be one played in a motion picture where two drifters meet by chance and the encounter breeds a smoldering relationship.
“Murtabop” has high-pitched instrumentation beside a big band tone. The drum, percussion, guitar and cymbal play all mesh together to form a melody that might confuse some and rally others.
On “Ballad for Andy” a tribal rhythm takes over as what sounds like bongos are being lightly beaten. Bongos are two small drums attached to each other. The drums are different in size, the larger drum is called a hembra, and the smaller drum is called a macho.
“Marilyn’s Dilemma” is an expressive song with lively sax, guitar and percussion play. The zealous instrumentation impugns the title of the song, but her conundrum might be one that is easily rectified.
Greg Chako’s “Paint a Picture, Tell a Story” does just that. Chitchat is not a necessity as Chako’s jazz prowess forms joyous melodies as well as steamy ones. - Reviewer: Sari N. Kent Improvijazzation Nation
American-born guitarist Greg Chako now lives and plays regularly
in Tokyo, Japan and has seven previous recordings produced
in Asia from Malaysia to Singapore and China.
“Paint a Picture, Tell a Story,” is Greg’s eighth album and
clearly one of his best. A master composer as well as guitarist,
Chako provides six original charts and includes standards
from Frank Wess, Billy Higgins and the legendary tandem of
Rodgers/Hammerstein covering ten wonderful tunes.
Chako’s quartet consist of a cadre of players with whom the
leader has called upon for various projects and include Mark
DeRose (drums), Christy Smith (bass), and the versatile Greg
Lyons (tenor and soprano sax). For this recording the guitarist
also employs the help of special guests Delfeayo Marsalis
(trombone), Don Byron (bass clarinet, tenor), Joe Jayaveeran
(tabla) and Jayagowtham (mridangam).
To tell this story, Chako opens the music with “Cycles,” one
of his favorite compositions in which he plays beautiful melodic
lines on the guitar as the horns form the harmony. This is
followed by one of the best cuts here with his interpretation
of the Frank Wess tune “Next,” featuring nice bass line work
from Smith tastefully engaged by Chako’s finger play on the
strings. The result is a soft and warm melody and clearly
a standout number.
“Ballad for Andy,” is essentially a light ballad featuring
a soprano solo from Lyons and a guitar run from the leader.
The band turns to a little swing with drummer Billy Higgins’s
“Marilyn’s Dilemma,” a nice bebop score. No other tune on
this album showcases the talents of Chako like the eighth
track, Redding’s “The End of a Love Affair,” a beautiful love
ballad that’s all Greg Chako.
The set ends with the bluesy “With Full Heart and Teary Eyes,”
and the Rodgers/Hammerstein standard “People Will Say We’re
In Love.” Chako and crew succeed
in painting a masterpiece with “Paint a Picture, Tell a Story.”
The story told here is quite simple, intelligent charts, excellent
musicianship and a fine cast of players that results in one
enjoyable musical tale. - Year:
2007 Artist Web: www.gregchako.com
- Edward Blanco (EJAZZ NEWS)
Greg Chako is a guitarist whose style is smooth but never
weak. His thumb plucking style (i.e. no guitar pick) will
please those who love the softer playing of Wes Montgomery
and George Benson. The sound is great to hear, and on
Paint A Picture, Tell A Story... (Chako Productions) he does
so with a little help from his friends.
The album features his band, which includes Christy Smith
(bass), Mark DeRose (drums), and Greg Lyons (tenor and soprano
sax). Lyons is a player who knows how to create color within
a song, or to add his presence in an already vivid picture.
Sometimes he'll play in a way not unlike Sonny Rollins, while
other times his playing would make it possible for Chako to
get some smooth jazz radio airplay. One song that may not
get smooth jazz airplay, but should get attention on many
jazz radio shows, is "Murtabop", an Indian-flavored
track complete with tabla and mridangam, along with a great
bass clarinet solo from Don Byron, whose presence on the album
is nothing but some nice incregients to Chako's already impressive
stew. For a bit of that gumbo, Delfeayo Marsalis brings a
bit of the New Orleans spices into the mix, especially when
he solos in "Hurry Up And Wait", "What da'
Funk!" and "With Full Heart And Teary Eyes".
In a way, it's everyone in the studio waiting in line for
lunch, and they all have to play in order to get in, and these
guys can play their asses off.
The music on Paint A Picture, Tell A Story... moves in a lot
of different directions, or at least the stories being told
are different from one another. Different stories, different
flavors, coming from a unique collection of musicians who
are different and yet the same, playing for a common cause.
There's joy, pain, heartbreak,
and love within these songs, and hopefully Chako will continue
to "paint" more audio pictures for years to come.
- Music for America, by da bookman
(Paint A Picture, Tell A Story...
is available from CDBaby)
Now there is another task to perform for Greg Chako, namely
with his new CD; Paint a Picture, Tell A Story but don’t worry,
we don’t have to do so because Greg does that for us together
with some highly skilled (as Greg himself) musicians. This
CD takes a few different directions in styles, resulting in
never a dull moment when listening to this CD, and as far
as my opinion goes; The title for this CD is not complete,
it should have been;….. Paint
a Picture, Tell A Story…. And…..Enjoy The Music!
..I would also like to give this CD a subtitle, same as the
title of the 2nd hour of my program Jazz & Blues Tour;
…. “Lean Back and Enjoy”, and if you do you will discover
the finesse of this production. - Joost van Steen, Host/Producer Jazz & Blues Tour with ASFM105.4 in The Netherlands
O's Notes: “...Guitarist Greg Chako is a worldly jazz musician
who spends a great deal of time in the Pacific. And this recording
was done in Singapore, a collection of mostly originals with
selected covers. He has good company with guest artists Delfeayo
Marsalis (tb), Don Byron (cl, ts) joining him, notably on
"Murtabop". The core band is also above par with
Mark DeRose (d), Christy Smith (b) and Greg Lyons (ss). This
is Greg's album but he shares the spotlight, which makes the
experience rich and enjoyable. However when the time is right
for him to insert his ax, he steps up as on "The End
of a Love Affair". It's
a cool session... - Oscar, O`s Place
I have reviewed a couple of albums by Greg Chako. He is an
excellent jazz guitarist. Now I get to review yet another
album by Chako. This one also features the talents of Christy
Smith and Mark DeRose. The title of the album is Paint A Picture,
Tell A Story….
Greg's style has been called straight ahead jazz with a swinging
style. His playing has been described as warm, spontaneous
and respectful, with imaginative and original lines. Quite
nice things to say about a jazz guitarist. But once you have
heard Greg play, especially on this new album, You will tend
to agree with what others are saying; Greg Chako is a fantastic
Not only did Greg grab up the talents of bassist, Smith and
drummer DeRose, he also has saxophonist Greg Lyons playing
on songs. And if that isn't enough, there are a couple of
guest performers. Don Bryon plays bass clarinet on several
songs. Joe Hayaveeran plays tambla on one song. Joe's nephew
Jayagowtham plays mridangam on the same song. And the great
trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis plays trombone on the album.
Cycles is the first song on the album. An original composition
by Greg, this is a nicely paced tune. It kind of reminded
me of an old ‘60's movie street scene, with the female leading
meandering down a busy street.
The second song, Next, has a lot of nice bass and tenor sax.
This is complemented well by Greg's guitar.
Murtabop is a very busy song. This is the one that features
the mridagam and tambla. In the liner notes for the album,
Greg says that the song is named after the Indian food dish
called Murtabok. In the same note, Greg tells us that a bit
of the song will remind the listener of Coltrane's Countdown.
I would tend to agree. Some parts of the song do sound a bit
like they might have been done by Coltrane.
Ballad For Andy begins with an interesting drum solo and then
provides the listener with some really good soprano sax and
guitar solos. The sax is long and lingering. It might remind
you of a lost love lament.
Marilyn's Dilemma brings the pace back up. It is a fun song
with nice tenor sax and drum solos. Greg also has a decent
guitar solo in the song.
Hurry Up and Wait has a wonderful trombone solo.
I think that my favorite song on the album is What da Funk!
The song is quite a bit like the title suggests, a funk laden
tune. There are cool bass lines, fantastic sax and trombone
mixed in with guitar and bass clarinet. In other words, a
tough smorgasbord of hot jazz sounds.
Things slow down with a slow and easy love song called The
End of A Love Affair.
Moderately paced, With Full Heart and Teary Eyes, might remind
you of another one of those 60's movie scenes that I mentioned
The album ends with a really nicely done rendition of the
Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, People Will Say We're In Love.
Greg Chako is indeed a great
jazz guitarist. With the music on this album, and the talent
that supported his guitar playing on it, fans are sure to
be delighted. And if you haven't had a chance to hear Greg
Chako's music before, this is a great way to get introduced
to it.” - Paint A Picture, Tell A Story… is available at CD
Baby, iTunes, Emusic and other online and digital outlets.
To learn more about Greg Chako, visit www.gregchako.com
. - Bruce Von Stiers
Working in the jazz genre is more often than not a labor
of love. There is a joke about how many jazz musicians it
takes to change a light bulb, the answer being three hundred:
one to change the bulb and two hundred ninety-nine to explain
how they would have done it better. Yet there are few things
that match the thrill of walking into a club and hearing a
bunch of players meshing perfectly, in the pocket, getting
it right without getting too far out.
So we come to Paint a Picture, Tell a Story by guitarist Greg
Chako, with bassist Christy Smith, drummer Mark De Rose, and
saxist Greg Lyons. Paint a Picture, Tell a Story walks that
fine line where the borders of improvisation and accessibility
overlap, making this one of those rare discs that the jazz
aficionado and the casual listener can both listen to and
appreciate. Made up primarily of Chako’s compositions, Paint
a Picture, Tell a Story consists of ten intricate tracks which
are always considerate of the listener, from the opening Cycles,
an intricate guitar piece beautifully augmented by additional
solos by guest musicians Don Byron (clarinet) and Delfeayo
Marsalis (trombone) to the closing, respectful jam on the
classic People Will Say We’re In Love. The tone of the disc
overall is quiet, though very energetic, even approaching
frenetic at times. Chako, however, maintains that perfect
balance that results in moderated improvisation; nothing every
becomes discordant or unlistenable, and while Paint a Picture,
Tell a Story doesn’t enter any new territory, it explores
nicely the ones it visits.
Paint a Picture, Tell a Story is the perfect disc for someone
who wishes to jump into improvisational jazz and to actually
enjoy it while studying it. Chako’s track-by-track liner notes
are simply fabulous for that purpose, a considerate touch
with a disc that is always considerate of the listener. Recommended.
- music-reviewer.com Nov `07
American jazz guitarist Greg Chako has been living and working in
Asia since 1992, which might explain why he’s not better known
here in the US. The three musicians who round out his quartet
are also westerners based in Asia. Drummer Mark DeRose and
bassist Christy Smith are from the US, and sax player Greg
Lyons is from England. Chako must be respected among musicians,
since two prominent players, Don Byron and Delfeayo Marsalis,
are guests on six of the ten tracks on his new disc, Paint
a Picture, Tell a Story…. Chako is a gifted composer and improviser
whose attack on the guitar is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery’s
-- not surprisingly, since Chako also uses his thumb rather
than a plectrum, just as Montgomery did.
Chako doesn’t copy Montgomery, although he shares the latter’s
impressive command of the guitar. Chako’s single-note and
chord-based solos are emotionally rewarding and clearly developed,
true to the title of the disc. His melodic tunes are richly
complex, and his formidable command of the fingerboard allows
him to present his musicians with harmonically challenging
foundations. They respond with intelligent, sensitive performances.
Byron’s bass clarinet on "Murtabop" and "What
da Funk!" mesh nicely with Chako’s warm, fluid tone,
as does Marsalis’s bluesy trombone throughout the disc. Lyons,
a highly inventive player, holds his own with the more famous
guests, and the rhythm section is responsive and fluid throughout.
Paint a Picture, Tell a Story… was recorded in Singapore by
John Herbert at Lion Studios, "The warm home of analogue
sound in Singapore." While I might wish for slightly
more forward sonics, the instruments are cleanly separated
and presented without artifice. Indeed, the disc’s space and
atmosphere won me over quickly.
Greg Chako is a world-class
player, and I hope to check out more of his extensive discography.
- by Joseph Taylor, Soundstage
"I listened to ' Two's company, Three's a crowd'. This CD
is also fantastic! From the first music, I was fascinated
with the cool intro of the piano. The guitar and the piano
are on an equal footing and each are moving energetic and
lively, but don't collide, unite completely. I felt that strong
especially in track #14. The guitar and the piano merge and
make one magnificent world. I could see many stars... beautiful!!"
- J Sin, Smother Magazine Review
Musical Performance 4 out of
Recording Quality 3.5 out of 5
Overall Enjoyment 4 out of 5
From World Music to Bossa Nova to Smooth Jazz, this remarkable
guy is the epitome of eclectic, but what we have here is a
Jazz album with a few exotic tinges. I hear the faint influence
of Jim Hall and Raney in Chako`s deft finger work, and it
is to his credit that although he uses his thumb instead of
a pick, there are no blatant Wes Montogmery references to
be heard. Chako has enlisted the aid of a few heavyweights
to bolster his core quartet, but not everyone plays on each
selection. Don Byrons` bass clarinet is featured on several
tracks, as is the good trombone of Delfeayo Marsalis. The
disc comes complete with handy, extensive liner notes all
written by the leader himself. The
life story of this extremely gifted guitarist has all the
required ingredients to make for a super screen play, and
after this first exposure to his music, I`ll be watching him
like a hawk on a chicken! - Larry Hollis, Cadence, NY