In 2003, after finishing a successful, steady jazz gig in China with singer Dee Dee McNeil, pianist Jack Holland, and bassist Donald Jackson; American guitarist Greg Chako moved to Japan with his Japanese wife (of 2 years) to start a new life. However, shortly after arriving in Japan, he discovered his beloved wife had terminal cancer. The shocking, all-consuming experience that
followed caused a 2 year playing and recording hiatus. However, the death of his wife in 2004 threw Greg into recording again with completely new passion in 2005, starting with a double CD
called Where We Find Ourselves, dedicated to his late wife and featuring all-original compositions.
Where We Find Ourselves is played by a tight, swinging horn ensemble; the fresh, varied arrangements are predominately mainstream, with splashes of Latin and World, and even a couple
vocal tracks showing off Chakos` own lyrics, which are as thoughtful and supremely lyrical as his improvising. Less than a year later, he released his 7th CD, Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd, a series of swinging duets of guitar/piano and guitar/vocal covers with featured live cuts. Chako is now focused on extending his prolific legacy of composing and recording with two new CD releases.
In 2007 Chako released his 8th CD, Paint a Picture, Tell a Story. This release documents the continued evolution of a masterful, expressive composer and his rich, story telling abilities
conveyed through the jazz language. Featuring special guests Don Byron and Delfeayo Marsalis, the release spent time on the Jazzweek, CMJ and RMR Jazz Charts, included multiple Top Ten spots, and continues to enjoy critical acclaim from the Jazz community. His latest (2008) CD, Everybody’s Got a Name, is his strongest yet, and promises to further elevate Greg’s popularity as a guitarist, composer, and bandleader.
Born in Cincinnati Ohio in 1958, Greg took his first music lessons at the age of 9 on the accordion. Guitar soon became the instrument of choice with Hendrix an admired hero. After just one year of guitar lessons, Greg won 2nd place in the American Guild of Music contest, involving more than 1,000 contestants, and he also placed first in a local contest. Greg attended Berklee College of Music for three years on a partial scholarship, and played occasionally with top artists like Junior Cook, Bill Hardman, Othello Molineaux, Johnny Lytle, Bobby Watson, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Raney & others.
Moving to Hong Kong in 1992, Chako’s professional music career blossomed. He played in Broadway musicals including West Side Story, a concert with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra,
performed in clubs with Jazz greats Curtis Fuller and Richie Cole, and recorded his first CD Everything I Love in 1994, just before moving to the sunny, tropical island of Singapore. In
Singapore, from 1994 up till his China gig in 2001, Greg recorded 4 more CDs (Sudden Impact in 1996, Live at Raffles in 1998, Integration in 2000, and Integration II in 2001), made 6 videos, a documentary movie, and appeared on TV and at major Jazz Festivals in the area. From his first gig there in 1994 with drummer Redd Holt and bassist Belinda Moody; he worked with NY singer Jean DuShon and bassist Vistor Gaskin, till finally in 1995, he landed his dream job that was to last for almost 7 years, leading his own trio at the world-famous Raffles Hotel.
Greg’s rocky life history has enhanced and matured his music. He’s endured carpal tunnel syndrome, death, divorce, and life in foreign countries, and for a man who has been an egg-packer, construction-site worker, Industrial Real-Estate Broker, drug salesman, restaurant-bar dishwasher/gopher, Chef, English teacher, neighborhood activist, promoter/organizer,
entertainment agent, Founder and Managing Director of a Pte. Ltd. Corporation, entrepreneur, and hauler of bricks and rocks, it’s no wonder a reviewer said, “From World Music to Bossa Nova to Jazz, this remarkable guy is the epitome of eclectic. The life story of this extremely gifted guitarist has all the required ingredients to make for a super screen play!” Listen, and discover the message of Chako and his jazz poetry in the making!
“When Chako solos, his lines are
original and imaginative.”
~Jim Carlton, Just Jazz Guitar
“A first-class straight ahead
jazz guitarist with an attractive
sound and a swinging style.
The songs are well served by
the musicians, the results
sound fresh, relevant and
lively.” ~Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
“…wonderful guitar, deeply
satisfying…a trip ’round the
world… relentless in the
energy some real (and
legitimate) groovin’ happening
here…True jazz aficionados
will HAVE to have this one!”
best all-round jazz” – without
qualification, MOST HIGHLY
RECOMMENDED!” ~Sari Kent, Celebrity Cafe
“A hard hitting date from a gui-
tarist that’s making sure he has
a place in jazz that will be remembered.”
~Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“… emotionally rewarding and
clearly developed. His melodic
tunes are richly complex…
performances…Greg Chako is a
~Joseph Taylor, Soundstage