Intimate guitar duets with piano and voice from the Great American Songbook. Recorded live in Japan.
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Kaoru Uchida, Japan – January 22, 2016:
“I’ve listened to your new CD. The guitar sounds like the piano, and the piano sounds like the guitar. Like two creeks joining into a river. I find myself to be there, a river joint, and I hear the sounds running through me, stirring my soul. Can you see what I want to tell?” – Kaoru Uchida, Japan
Mihoko Wada, Japan – January 22, 2016:
“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!!” – Mihoko Wada, Japan
J Sin, Smother Magazine Review – January 22, 2016:
Jazz guitarist Greg Chako apparently plays with only his thumb. He enlists a fine piano player in both Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka while Andrea Hopkins delivers a perfect vocal accompaniment. Recorded in Japan this year, “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd” is an uplifting jazz centerpiece. – J Sin, Smother Magazine Review
Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvue Drive In – January 22, 2016:
The Jazz guitarist Greg Chako has come up with two new CD releases. One is interesting, while the other is even more ambitious and wide ranging. The PCM 16Bit/44.1kHz 2.0 Stereo sound is good on both. – Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvue Drive In (Dual Review; Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd & Where We Find Ourselves)
D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz – January 22, 2016:
This is straight ahead jazz, bebop performed in twos. Guitarist Chako pairs himself with pianists Hiroshi Tanaka and Homei Matsumoto or vocalist Andrea Hopkins. The five tracks with Matsumoto were recorded live in January 2006. The other eleven tracks were laid down in the studio. The music is excellent and fulfilling owing to the true talents of each of the musicians. The music is pleasing to listen to as background or for full engagement. – D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap – January 22, 2016:
Chako does duets but not in the way you think, pairing off with different piano players here, a vocalist there… With a set card of classics that can easily veer way too close to cocktail music, Chako keeps it jazz and keeps you on board. Showing another side of what he can do, and do well, this is one jazzbo that you have to be sure and keep an ear open for. It’s not easy to make these tunes sound new, but he does that and does it well within the confines of just being able to bounce off one other player. – Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap
Eric W. Saeger, Skope Magazine – January 22, 2016:
Chako’s an American jazz guitarist who’s spent a lot of time in Japan, and two of the natives with whom he hooked up there are pianists Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka, both of whom have little difficulty keeping pace with Chako. The tracks with Matsumoto – generally lighter and more romance-friendly – were recorded at a live Japanese club possessed of better acoustics than what many jazz bums get in the studio. Andrea Hopkins lends her Baptist soprano to seven tracks that move along breezily, most endearingly so on “Almost Like Being In Love.” – Eric W. Saeger, Skope Magazine
Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz – January 22, 2016:
Two’s Company, Three’s A Crowd offers a rewarding experience for afficionados of the piano/guitar duet setting. Both of the pianists acquit themselves quite well, but the guitar is the primary instrument featured on most of these tracks. The theme of Henry Mancini’s opening tune, “The Days of Wine and Roses,” is, however, stated by Matsumoto. When Chako steps forward for his solo, he employs the Wes Montgomery octave-style approach in a most facile fashion. The album consists of a number of romantic and intimate ballads like Bruno Martino’s “Estate” and Robinson/Burdge’s “Portrait of Jenny,” where the guitar weaves the lyrical melody with gently flowing single-line solos. – Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz
Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide – January 22, 2016:
The latest album from Greg Chako, a guitarist specializing in jazz standards from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, is a collection of duet performances with his comrades. These are essentially jazz trio pieces, but without the bass. Despite the absence of a bass, Chako’s performance style lends itself to rhythmic accompaniment, using his thumb for the majority of the notes, a la Wes Montgomery. Playing in alternating combination with Chako’s guitar are a pair of pianists, Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka, both of whom can accompany quite well. – Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide (AMG)
Jim Carlton, Just Jazz Guitar – January 22, 2016:
This CD, he features two of his favorites, both splendid talents, Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka. They’re sophisticated and inventive soloists, and either would be an asset to any first-rate jazz group. And I’m sure Chako is thrilled to be working with such superb talent. But then, there’s the issue of keeping a bass line moving, something no doubt endemic to American musicians. Chako is really earning his money because, when he’s not soloing, he’s not laying out. Sure, both pianists get a left hand line going, but it’s without the authority in timbre or resonance that a bass line on a guitar produces, much less a bass fiddle.
When Chako solos, his lines are original and imaginative, with a crisp attack, but mostly a big, warm tone. Any jazz guitar enthusiast should have Greg Chako on radar. He has a cool situation in the Far East where he’s found some extraordinary piano players. But he’s worthy of any jazz group anywhere and has something that’s often elusive among guitarists: a style! More power to him. – Jim Carlton, Just Jazz Guitar
"Full of spirit"
"Just warm, sensitive, uncluttered lines"
"Colored with understated funk"
"He creates a new style!"
"Hugely enjoyable stuff"
"A trip around the jazz galaxy"
"Exciting and exotic"
"Muscular sound wrapped in gloves of velvet"
"An essential jazz experience"
"Groove that will make your head bounce"
"Superb, Exquisite, Delicious"
"A sumptuousness and extensiveness in the music that is rarely found in any genre"
"Transcends geographic and cultural barriers"
"Communicates the happiness and friendship that all music should provide"
"A world-class player!"
"There's joy, pain, heartbreak, and love within these songs"
"Hard to resist"
"Among the most elite jazz guitarists"
"Full of nuances"
"His guitar shines"
"Guaranteed to keep listener attention"
"Uniformly heartfelt performances"
"A musical gem"
"The very best of cultural, ethnic, and musical sensibilities"
"Soaring solos and a happy feel"
"Catchy, memorable melodies"
"Well-crafted, harmonically strong"
"Tone and phrasing are exceptional"
"A jazz mosaic"
"Constantly inventive lines"
"The music swings compulsively at all times"
"Melodies that open like wings into the solo spaces"
"He employs tension and release masterfully"
"Contrast, accurate, athletic, sultry"
"Very unique, melodic, very emotional"
"A Master guitarist!"
All music © Greg Chako
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