|Although he was born in Cincinnati, Greg Chako has spent quite a few years living in Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore and more recently Japan. Otherwise he would be better known in the United States for he is a first-class straightahead jazz guitarist with an attractive sound and a swinging style. On Two's Company, Chako performs four duets with pianist Hiroshi Tanaka, five with pianist Homei Matsumoto and seven with Andrea Hopkins, a fine singer from Atlanta. The lack of a string bassist is not really felt for Chako, when he is not soloing and challenging the other musicians, often provides bass lines. Both Tanaka and Matsumoto are fine two-handed pianists so there is never a time when the music sounds incomplete. The 16 selections are all veteran standards with the highpoints including "The Days Of Wine And Roses," "Almost Like Being In Love," "Autumn Leaves" and "Take The "A" Train." The songs are well served by the musicians, the results sound fresh, relevant and lively.
- Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
On the whole, the album has a consistently high level of musicianship, yet is still easy listening. Listening to it two or three times will show more of the skill behind the duo's harmonious sound.
- Lorelei Clarke, Jazzreview
This CD, he features two of his favorites, both splendid talents, Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka. They’re sophisticated and inventive soloists, and either would be an asset to any first-rate jazz group. And I’m sure Chako is thrilled to be working with such superb talent. But then, there’s the issue of keeping a bass line moving, something no doubt endemic to American musicians. Chako is really earning his money because, when he’s not soloing, he’s not laying out. Sure, both pianists get a left hand line going, but it’s without the authority in timbre or resonance that a bass line on a guitar produces, much less a bass fiddle.
When Chako solos, his lines are original and imaginative,
with a crisp attack, but mostly a big, warm tone. Any jazz
guitar enthusiast should have Greg Chako on radar. He has
a cool situation in the Far East where he’s found some extraordinary
piano players. But he’s worthy of any jazz group anywhere
and has something that’s often elusive among guitarists: a
style! More power to him. - Jim
Carlton, Just Jazz Guitar
The latest album from Greg Chako, a guitarist specializing in jazz standards from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, is a collection of duet performances with his comrades. These are essentially jazz trio pieces, but without the bass. Despite the absence of a bass, Chako's performance style lends itself to rhythmic accompaniment, using his thumb for the majority of the notes, a la Wes Montgomery. Playing in alternating combination with Chako's guitar are a pair of pianists, Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka, both of whom can accompany quite well.
- Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide (AMG)
Two's Company, Three's A Crowd offers a rewarding experience for afficionados of the piano/guitar duet setting. Both of the pianists acquit themselves quite well, but the guitar is the primary instrument featured on most of these tracks. The theme of Henry Mancini's opening tune, “The Days of Wine and Roses,” is, however, stated by Matsumoto. When Chako steps forward for his solo, he employs the Wes Montgomery octave-style approach in a most facile fashion. The album consists of a number of romantic and intimate ballads like Bruno Martino's “Estate” and Robinson/Burdge's “Portrait of Jenny,” where the guitar weaves the lyrical melody with gently flowing single-line solos.
- Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz
Chako’s an American jazz guitarist who’s spent a lot of time in Japan, and two of the natives with whom he hooked up there are pianists Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka, both of whom have little difficulty keeping pace with Chako. The tracks with Matsumoto - generally lighter and more romance-friendly - were recorded at a live Japanese club possessed of better acoustics than what many jazz bums get in the studio. Andrea Hopkins lends her Baptist soprano to seven tracks that move along breezily, most endearingly so on "Almost Like Being In Love."
- Eric W. Saeger, Skope Magazine
Chako does duets but not in the way you think, pairing off with different piano players here, a vocalist there... With a set card of classics that can easily veer way too close to cocktail music, Chako keeps it jazz and keeps you on board. Showing another side of what he can do, and do well, this is one jazzbo that you have to be sure and keep an ear open for. It's not easy to make these tunes sound new, but he does that and does it well within the confines of just being able to bounce off one other player.
- Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap
This is straight ahead jazz, bebop performed in twos. Guitarist Chako pairs himself with pianists Hiroshi Tanaka and Homei Matsumoto or vocalist Andrea Hopkins. The five tracks with Matsumoto were recorded live in January 2006. The other eleven tracks were laid down in the studio. The music is excellent and fulfilling owing to the true talents of each of the musicians. The music is pleasing to listen to as background or for full engagement.
- D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz
The Jazz guitarist Greg Chako has come up with two new CD releases.
One is interesting, while the other is even more ambitious
and wide ranging. The PCM 16Bit/44.1kHz 2.0 Stereo sound is
good on both. - Nicholas Sheffo,
Fulvue Drive In (Dual Review; Two's Company,
Three's a Crowd & Where We Find Ourselves)
Jazz guitarist Greg Chako apparently plays with only his thumb. He enlists a fine piano player in both Homei Matsumoto and Hiroshi Tanaka while Andrea Hopkins delivers a perfect vocal accompaniment. Recorded in Japan this year, "Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd" is an uplifting jazz centerpiece.
- J Sin, Smother Magazine Review
"I listened to ' Two's company, Three's a crowd'. This CD
is also fantastic! From the first music, I was fascinated
with the cool intro of the piano. The guitar and the piano
are on an equal footing and each are moving energetic and
lively, but don't collide, unite completely. I felt that strong
especially in track #14. The guitar and the piano merge and
make one magnificent world. I could see many stars... beautiful!!"
- Mihoko Wada, Japan
"I've listened to your new CD. The guitar sounds like the
piano, and the piano sounds like the guitar. Like two creeks
joining into a river. I find myself to be there, a river joint,
and I hear the sounds running through me, stirring my soul.
Can you see what I want to tell?" - Kaoru