A unique mix of originals, bebop and standard jazz, featuring Delfeayo Marsalis, Don Byron, and Greg Lyons.
Larry Hollis, Cadence, NY – January 22, 2016:
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 Chakos 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
J Sin, Smother Magazine Review – 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!!” – J Sin, Smother Magazine Review
Musical Performance 4 out of 5
Recording Quality 3.5 out of 5
Overall Enjoyment 4 out of 5
Joseph Taylor, Soundstage – January 22, 2016:
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
music-reviewer.com Nov `07 – January 22, 2016:
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
Bruce Von Stiers – January 22, 2016:
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 jazz guitarist.
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 earlier.
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. – Bruce Von Stiers
Oscar, O`s Place – January 22, 2016:
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
Joost van Steen – January 22, 2016:
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
Music for America, by da bookman – January 22, 2016:
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)
Edward Blanco (EJAZZ NEWS) – January 22, 2016:
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 – Edward Blanco (EJAZZ NEWS)
Sari N. Kent Improvijazzation Nation – January 22, 2016:
“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