Gratitude for a life FILLED with MUSIC and good folks!

My newest group, David and the HeartStrings, competed last Sunday in the Cincy Blues Challenge @Elements Eatery. We didn't win, but we had a good time as we always do when we perform together! We begin recording our first album as a unit next week, and we have a CD-release party scheduled for Aug. 14th @Caffe Vivace:

You can see this new group perform w/our “HeartBeat” Michael Meloy Sun June 23rd: 

Later today (June 14th), I'm driving down to Lexington, KY to play with my brother-in-arms, Brooks Giles & his group at Creaux, a New Orleans inspired cocktail bar. Brooks & I are pictured below in Brooklyn, NY.

I celebrated my 66th birthday just two days ago (June 12th) and I am reflecting on how fortunate I am to have surrounded myself with really good people and musical projects. I can honestly say that (to me) it doesn't matter how good a player you are if you're difficult to be around . . . I want nothing to do with you if the vibe ain't right for me. All the guys (and gals) involved with all my music are really good folks and like me, they put their music AND their positive attitude (and humility) first and foremost. I won't give the best performance if I'm not feeling the best with my stage-mates. It's my hope that such positive vibes and the professional camaraderie that we share is evident in our performances . . . I've always believed that we as musicians cannot expect our audience to have fun listening to us if we aren't having the time of our lives onstage in each and every performance we give. Any audience can feel whether the band is having fun or not, and how the individual performers are feeling as they play, makes a huge impact on how the audience will feel when observing and/or listening to them. By the way, the same goes for the people I'm associated with (on my team) who aren't band members . . . the head of the label I'm on, Neil Sabatino of Mint400 Records, Joshua Deitner, the head of the Great Wave Recording studio I've been using, our photographer Joe Simon, and of course, my wife Jay! All of these people are crucial to my happiness and success. 

Another fantastic partnership I am so fortunate to enjoy is that which began as merely a teacher-student relationship, then developed and is continuing to evolve into a ever-more successful and notable musical collaboration, and that is my association with vocalist and Life Coach, Al West Jr. (pictured above at one of our recent performances). He's just launched his own new company called Ferrous Will here: AND we are working on Al's 2nd album, to be titled, “Hi-Fly,” which we will premier LIVE this summer on Aug. 17th @Caffe Vivace. Al's first album was released just a few months ago . . . you can see the video we made from one of our shows here:

All of these great musical associations which inspire my gratitude and thanks began with my meeting bassists Matt Holt and Mason Daugherty and drummer Michael Meloy. Pictured on the left below are Matt and I at the drummer Philip Pauls' house just weeks before Paul passed . . . and on the right I'm pictured with my recording trio members, Mason & Michael … we just released Standard Roots, my 17th album.

I'd be remiss if I failed to mention my two most loyal jazz guitar students, Max Erwine and Rick Jordan, whom I'm proud to count, like everyone else pictured herein, among my most valued friends. You can see them in the foreground of the picture below, taken during one of my weekly jazz ensembles. Teaching is a huge part of what makes me feel fulfilled and that I'm ‘giving -back’ as it were. My last blog was titled, Teaching, the Noblest of Professions, & you can read it here: 

Pictured below from left to right are drummer Michael Meloy, photographer Joe Simon, myself, seated is Joe's wife Catalina, and on the far right is my wife Jay. Taken at our last live show @The JazzSpoon Cantina in Forest Park. FYI, I will be appearing there again June 28th with Brooks Giles:  Hope to enrich YOUR life with music as it has certainly enriched mine! 

Greg Chako, Blog Post #17, from “What's on My Mind?"”


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