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New JGT Review: “Sudden Impact” From Greg Chako



JGT guest contributor Vince Lewis reviews Greg Chako’s reissued release, “Sudden Impact”.

After several years of releasing independent label high-quality music, guitarist Greg Chako has formed an association with Mint 400 Records.  This record company is not only releasing new material but also reissuing Greg’s entire body of work.  “Sudden Impact” was originally released in 1996 and certainly deserves greater exposure than any independent artist can normally secure.

The opening title track is an energetic excursion through interesting chord changes and solid rapid fire melodic line.  Billy Martinez (Bass), Don Gomez (Piano), Darrel Ervin (Drums) and Orrie B. Barrett Jr. (Tenor Sax) are the perfect complement to Chako’s full sound and excellent ideas. “Nancy With The Laughing Face” is up next and given a very pretty Latin treatment.  Opening with a pretty chord melody statement in a trio setting, Martinez’ solid bass line is supported by Tama Goh (Percussion) and Norman Talbert (Bongos). Chako shows an excellent respect for the original intent of the tune in his solo lines which is the mark of a quality player for sure.

“Sassy’s Song” is a mellow Jazz Waltz once again in a trio setting.  Chako weaves solid improvised single note lines showing his thoughtful approach to modern sounds while maintaining traditional respect for harmonic structure.  Ervin provides a creative percussive foundation without being overbearing and adds to the excitement and motion of the tune.

Other Chako originals include “Fried Curry Pies”, “Jones’in”, and “Morning.” Each of these compositions shows his excellent skill combining standards based structure with his own unique approach to melodic and rhythmic development.  

The remaining selections are an excellent collection of Jazz Standards from The Great American Songbook.  These include “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, Everything Happens To Me”, “People”, Gone With The Wind” and “I Remember You”.  Each tune reflects Chako’s excellent interpretive ability to make the songs his own while continuing the traditional phrasing and development of solid solo lines.

To summarize, Greg Chako is a fine and high-quality player, composer, and arranger.  His original material is interesting and will definitely appeal to a majority of mainstream jazz fans, as well as those looking for new and more modern music.  Mint 400 Records is definitely to be commended for recognizing and helping to expose a larger audience to Greg’s music.

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