Guitar Trio Reigns - A Return to my 'Standard Roots' - New Album Press - Final February Gigs.

I played two nights in a row this weekend in a guitar-led trio with bass and drums. I and everyone there had a blast! When you're playing with musicians you like for a receptive audience, it's so much fun, and not ‘work’ at all. Playing jobs like that is my favorite form of therapy!

The G/B/D trio is how I became a professional, it's my ‘roots’. That's the format I started working with in 1995, when I began playing 6-nights a week for literally year after year after year! In the beginning, I played all covers. But, as I became more experienced composing, and later recording my own songs and, as I met a variety of horn players and percussionists, I began moving away from the traditional G/B/D trio format. The varied and vibrant musical community, and the exotic, locale environment of Singapore where I lived then inspired new sounds I began hearing in my head, and I needed more instruments and larger ensembles in order to flesh those ideas out. My albums, Integration, Where We Find Ourselves, and Paint a Picture, Tell a Story, featured larger ensembles and all-original music scored with unique instrumentation.

Having re-located to my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio in 2017, I no longer live in a tropical paradise with such an open and culturally-diverse musical community as Singapore, nor since I returned to the States have I enjoyed the marvelous opportunity to work 6-nights a week with the same hand-picked players night after night over a period of years. And obviously, since I'm not working as much as I used to, I can't afford to make the records here that I did when I was living and working abroad in Singapore and Japan, even if I could find the players.

But G/B/D trio gigs like the ones I had this weekend are such a joy! My love for the format is awakened. Even though I treasure my own song-writing above all else, I have never tired of playing the standards. Songs from The Great American Songbook (GAS) are still popular, and given the writing quality of composers such as Porter, Arlin, Hammerstein, etc., there is always ample opportunity to flex ones' improv and arranging chops on the GAS repertoire. This weekend, we got and fulfilled requests from customers asking for: Any Luiz Bonfa, Mingus, or Sinatra; Autumn Leaves, Green Dolphin Street, and Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most. It's not called The Great American Songbook for nothing! These songs are masterful, at-once fun & popular, and playing them while leading a guitar trio with (the right) bassist and drummer is beautiful!

My recording trio of Michael Meloy on drums and Mason Daugherty on bass have finished tracking my 17th album. After recording so many albums featuring my own compositions, this new one is a return to the type of music I played at the outset of my career more than 25 years ago, and it'll include some of the songs that we often play locally, like on the gigs I played this weekend. The new album will feature all covers, alternating in Swing and Latin feels. True to my own history, as well as to the material covered on the record, it's going to be titled: Standard Roots, and I expect it'll be released this summer by Mint400 Records and Raining Music.

We'll be mixing and mastering Standard Roots in just a week from now, but meanwhile, we just received more positive critical acclaim for my last album, released just a month and a half ago (with the same trio), Life After 40 The brand new review can be read here:

I'm also excited to have 6 new gigs in the remaining days of Feb. 2024. Two are private and the other four are open to the public. The upcoming gigs start this week and feature a wide variety of formats (trio to sextet) and styles (Blues/Latin/Vocal). Find out where I'm playing and who I'm playing with here: and please come to one or more of the shows and say hello! I guarantee we'll be having a BLAST!

I hope you enjoy my blog posts - I love doing it! Please leave a comment and/or share it with friends.

Greg Chako, Sunday Feb. 18th, 2024. Blog #8 from “What's on My Mind?”


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