This 2nd session features more of a fusion sound with tabla, didjeridu, and African percussion. Recorded in 2000.
Jazz Newsletter O’s Place, USA – January 21, 2016:
” Integration II continues the trend (of Integration I), but with more fusion elements. Solid and entertaining modern jazz with Latin, straight ahead, and contemporary/fusion based songs. Performance 4 stars, Sound 4 stars” – Jazz Newsletter O’s Place, USA
Sound Waves Magazine, Don Sikorski, USA – January 21, 2016:
“Greg Chako is a dynamic American jazz guitarist and Integration II features the entire spectrum of swing, Latin rhythms, blues, ballads, and Brazilian drum sounds. It’s an exotic mix of diverse jazz melodies, each offering a unique sound and feel. The guitar playing is delivered with a warmth and precision, providing an inspirational element to all tracks. Chakos’ tropical island inspirations can clearly be heard on aptly titled tracks like French Island Fantasy and Afro-Asian Chant. With Chako covering nearly every jazz style in one package, this is ideal listening for first time jazz listeners as well. It’s enjoyable from start to finish, with Chako and his band delivering well-crafted melodies and harmonies with a unique combination of instruments played to perfection! ” – Sound Waves Magazine, Don Sikorski, USA
Straits Times, Singapore, 2001 – January 21, 2016:
Integration II: “Chakos’ strongest recording to date. “Tokong Burung”, is a locally-inspired extended composition. The inclusion of didjeridu adds to the exotic sound mix while drums, percussion, and tabla maintain the restless underlying beat. On “The Sweet One”, Chako shows off his sensitive side both as a composer and a guitarist. “Smooth Ride” is a confident swinger with a catchy call and response theme. French Island Fantasy has soaring solos and a happy feel, despite an underlying tension set up by the spacious first theme and the agitated funk of the second theme. Fine Aussie Weathered is neatly swinging. Ocean Blues marks a return to Chakos’ trio roots, with a touch of Wes Montgomery. The Hunny Lady is the only piece on the album not written by Chako, and this breezy number is graced by good solos.” – Straits Times, Singapore, 2001
Keith ‘MuzikMan’ Hannaleck, JazzReviews, USA, 2002 – January 21, 2016:
“Integration I & II is the culmination of many studio hours, tremendous discipline, concentration, and the ability to employ all musical strengths in every composition. These two recordings are a jazz mosaic painted with the very best of cultural, ethnic, and musical sensibilities. That striking combination provides a sumptuousness and extensiveness in the music that is rarely found in any genre.
Whether it’s the be-bop of ‘Funky Monkey’ or the gentle acoustic flow of ‘Smooth Ride’ ala Joe Pass, this collection of songs has something for everyone’s taste. Every jazz discipline, or parts thereof, is given an acknowledgement. Chako is up to the task on the electric or acoustic six-string, allowing the necessary elasticity for each song to build upon itself and congeal. After over 130 minutes of a trip around the jazz galaxy, I think it’s safe to say that Greg Chako and his magnificent band are one of the world’s best kept secrets. The word is now out; don’t hesitate in seeking out this essential jazz experience.” – Keith ‘MuzikMan’ Hannaleck, JazzReviews, USA, 2002
Jazz Dimensions, Germany, 2002 – January 21, 2016:
“Greg is a proven guitarist and a great talent. Integration II is full of nuances, integrating fusion, blues, and swing. His guitar shines and he creates a new style, breathing exotic jazz-ethno music full of spirit and solid musical foundation” – Jazz Dimensions, Germany, 2002
Professor Vince Lewis, for Just Jazz Guitar, USA Feb 2002 – January 21, 2016:
“…This is music that transcends geographic boundaries and cultures, and communicates the happiness and friendship that all music should provide… Chakos’ tunes are well-crafted, harmonically strong, with catchy, memorable melodies (unlike many contemporary offerings today). Chakos’ tone and phrasing are exceptional! Thoughtfully created and and perfectly executed, this is a very positive musical statement from an extremely talented composer and performer…” – Professor Vince Lewis, for Just Jazz Guitar, USA Feb 2002
Larry Nai, Cadence, New York, 2002 – January 21, 2016:
“Guitarist Greg Chako has a fat, aggressively beautiful tone… Whether pushing delicious lines along like he’s in a Bop dream state (“Smooth Ride”), or passing pianist Michael Stanton a subtly different color feel to work from at the end of his “Hunny Lady” solo, Chako’s playing is consistently satisfying. As a writer he has a talent for scoring long, involved melodies that open like wings into the solo spaces. Check out the opening ” Tokong Burung” for instance, whose winding melody employs tension and release masterfully. “French Island Fantasy” could almost fit onto Pharoah Sanders “Thembi”. The superb “Afro-Asian Chant”, reminiscent of McCoy Tyners “Sama Layuca”, heats up to boiling, staying on the stove through a potent combination of cross rhythms and kicks. The one traditional Guitar trio piece, “Ocean Blues”, is appropriately spacious, with Edmond Bransons’ fine cymbal work evoking the shimmer of white-capped waves. With a vibrant recorded presence, this is HUGELY enjoyable stuff!” – Larry Nai, Cadence, New York, 2002