What? Another tribute band?

Today's blog piggy-backs on the publication of my most recent article for Just Jazz Guitar, a marvelous online magazine of which I'm an author of instructional and inspirational articles (https://jazzguitartoday.com/author/gregchako/).

In the past week or so, I've seen advertisements for performances in tribute of: Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Ella, Horace Silver and others. These particular shows cost more than double the cost of all the other shows happening regularly that are not necessarily playing the music of one particular dead artist. In my own hometown of Cincinnati in fact, I just noticed a couple shows featuring the music of Horace Silver. 

Now, I love me some Horace Silver . . . In fact, I'm an expert on his music! I arranged and performed four of his songs which appeared on my first CD in 1994. I sent copies to Horace and he replied that he dug what I did with them. I transcribed much of the material on some of his albums, such as The Stylings of Silver, and performed it live with my (Cincinnati) Doc's Place house band in the early 1980's. I attended Silver's funeral ceremony in NYC, sitting next to Louis Hayes and Benny Maupin, who I interviewed along with numerous other Silver sidemen for an academic research paper that I got an “A” grade on at Eastman. I did extensive research, read numerous books, analyzed much of his writing, and conducted as many interviews with his sidemen as I could. The bibliography alone is 3 pages. I can email anyone interested a PDF of my paper, or you can go to the “Academic” page of my website: https://gregchako.com/academic and scroll down just a little and click on the hyperlink which looks like this: Horace Silver: A New Definition of Greatness 252 KB 

There are numerous examples of my own writing that are inspired by Silver, most notably I believe, is my original quintet song Smooth Ride, from my Integration II album. It's a song that I also performed as a big band arrangement for my final Doctoral recital at Eastman. That recital is the 10th video on the following video page link of my website, and it's track 7 (the final track) of the entire recital: https://gregchako.com/video

But as much as I obviously love Silver, why would I pay $20-25 cover charge to go see one of my former sidemen play the music of Horace Silver? If I want to hear the music of Miles, Blakey, Silver, Ella, or that of any other dead Master jazz artist, I prefer to hear the original versions on recordings or videos. Besides, I know that for a fact, NOBODY in this town or anywhere else plays like Horace Silver. I can guarantee that were I to go to such a concert, it'd be too many notes played, and the wrong ones to boot! Even if my assumption is wrong and they played Silver's compositions accurately and with authority, would it be as good as the original?

There's a marvelous man named Andrew White who passed away just a few years ago. A saxophonist and Coltrane scholar, who in his own words, possessed “various artistic gifts of excess,” he achieved the most remarkable feat of transcribing over 800 Coltrane solos. There was, then and now, nobody on the planet who could match his hands-on knowledge of Tranes' sax playing, yet . . .  How many Andrew White albums do you have? 

It seems to me, and is confirmed to me by industry leaders in the know who sometimes advise me, that were I to put together a Horace Silver show, that in and of itself, would guarantee me a higher level of success than what I have now. I personally know guitar-playing peers who were always good, but only after releasing an album of Thelonious Monk songs did the media begin to pay more attention to them. Isn't that what happened to Master player and composer Joe Henderson? After classic albums featuring his own wonderful writing: In ‘n Out; Inner Urge; Mode for Joe; The Kicker; Power to the People, Black Narcissus etc., it was the music of Billy Strayhorn (Lush Life), Miles (So Near So Far) and Jobim (Double Rainbow) that won him 3 Grammy’s and the most critical success of his life.

I love the music of Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, Wes Montgomery, and Horace Silver, so I do see the appeal and and I feel the desire of doing tribute albums to artists I admire like them; but at the same time, I also realize that going on 66 years of age in June, and having nearly died of Sepsis a couple weeks ago, my time and energy is limited; there's still an infinite amount music in the cosmos that I want to tap into and channel through my own lens, in other words, there's plenty more music inside of me waiting to be composed. And as much as I wish to be part of a musical community that shares (socializes) and supports each other (comes to each others shows), I and all of us I presume, must use our time and money wisely . . . therefore I will not be attending your tribute show . . . 

Actually, of all the dead Master jazz musicians mentioned in this blog, Miles, Blakey, Henderson, Cedar & Silver, I'd bet money that as much as they'd appreciate the remembrance we pay them, what they'd want even more is to hear something NEW and ORIGINAL . . . what are we bringing to the table?

For the album cover pictured above, I borrowed 4 already existing covers for my 2007 release, Everybody's Got a Name, one from Wes, one from Herbie, one from Sam Jones, and one from Philly Jo Jones, then had our names and pictures inserted into the original designs. I hope you appreciate the humor and message of the title. I'll never forget Maestro Mulgrew Miller telling me in person, after hearing this album, “Your shit's . . . (long pause) . . . DIFFERENT!” Grew said I'd be more famous if I had recorded with him and some of his NY-based contemporaries - ha ha! Don't I know it! 

The reissue will be released this Friday April 12th at 12am but the cover has been redesigned:

Greg Chako, Mon Apr 8, Blog #14 from “What's on my Mind?”