Paint a Picture, Tell a Story

The title of this CD is inspired by my approach to the guitar and music. It echoes the kinds of comments I've gotten from other musicians about my playing. I've been told over the years on more than one occasion, "...you paint a picture...", or "...your solo tells a story...", and each time I hear that, I take heart that my musical goal may have been achieved. I contrast those comments with: "...nice lick!...", or "...you have amazing technique!...". For while most players are pleased to know their technique is admired, the more important aspect of one's playing is, do you SAY anything! Do you have a style that is significant and your own? This is what I aspire to. Each time I put together a CD, I think long and hard about making a unique statement, which tunes to include, in what order to present them, the instrumentation, etc... I have always done this, but I hope this CD in particular exemplifies that ideal, and satisfactorily displays the culmination of my recording, composing and playing experience.

I hope for you, the listener, it paints a picture, or tells a story...

Greg Chako Jan. 2007


Thanks to:
Each band member, especially Mark, who assisted with logistics, and special guests Delfeayo, Don, Joe, and Jay, for lending their talents to my project; Singapore friends Michael, Alina, Joe and Patty; valued friend and most gifted engineer, John Herbert.


Tracks:

1. Cycles - by Greg Chako..........7:45
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Don Byron (solos) - tenor; Mark DeRose - drums;
Christy Smith - bass; Delfeayo Marsalis (solos) - trombone; Greg Lyons - soprano sax

This was the first song I wrote after completing my double CD in 2005. I love playing on it, though it's quite challenging. The intro vamp is in 4/4, and the main melody in 3/4, with one 4/4 bar inserted just before the bridge to keep everyone alert! Guitar plays the melody, trombone a counter-line, and the other two horns play guide-tone harmony.


2. Next - by Frank Wess..........5:26
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Christy Smith (solos) - bass; Mark DeRose - drums; Greg Lyons - tenor sax
In the early 80's, I was a teaching assistant for Billy Taylor's Jazzmobile at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. There, I had the chance to meet Frank Wess, and he gave me a lead sheet to this marvelous song. I never heard anyone play it, but it deserves to be heard and everyone I introduce it to loves it. Starting with a bass ostinato and vamp in Dflat, the chords begin to change quickly, resembling Coltranes' Giant Steps. A challenge to solo on, it is both melodic and ethereal, simple and complicated at the same time.


3. Murtabop - by Greg Chako.........6:33
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Don Byron (solos) - bass clarinet; Mark DeRose - drums;
Christy Smith - bass; Joe Jayaveeran - tabla; Jayagowtham - mridangam; Delfeayo Marsalis - trombone; Greg Lyons - soprano sax

This altered rhythm changes is titled after the Indian food called Murtabok, a type of Roti Prata bread stuffed with egg and meat or vegetables, fried on a flat grill and served with curry sauce on the side for dipping. We like to eat this in Singapore! The line is bebop-ish, but the changes resemble Coltrane's Countdown. It has a 4-bar bridge, instead of the traditional 8, and is in the key of A rather than the usual B-flat. Joe brought along his 15 yr. old cousin to play the double-headed Indian drum, called the Mridangam, and they lay down a great, Indian-flavored backdrop for Don's free improvisation (while I solo on the tricky Coltrane changes). The free-style intro is played again as an interlude into the next song. It seemed that Joe and his cousin brought good luck because they nailed this song in one take, setting the trend for the day!


4. Ballad for Andy - by Greg Chako..........8:43
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Greg Lyons (solos) - soprano sax; Mark DeRose (solos) - drums;
Christy Smith - bass; Delfeayo Marsalis - trombone; Don Byron - bass clarinet

This song was titled with Andy Bevan in mind, the sax player who came with me to Singapore two years ago to record my double CD, "Where We Find Ourselves". Beginning with a finger solo on the drums, it progresses freely and lyrically with solos by soprano sax and guitar.


5. Marilyn's Dilemma - by Billy Higgins..........6:11
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Don Byron (solos) - bass clarinet; Mark DeRose - drums;
Christy Smith - bass; Joe Jayaveeran - tabla; Jayagowtham - mridangam; Delfeayo Marsalis - trombone; Greg Lyons - soprano sax

This is a bebop song I've been playing recently with my trio in Japan. Since it was written by a great drummer, Mark pays tribute with a tasty solo using only brushes. Its happy swing feel and the loose, one-take arrangement contrasts nicely with the preceeding songs.


6. Hurry Up and Wait - by Greg Chako..........5:25
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Delfeayo Marsalis (solos) - trombone;
Christy Smith (solos) - bass; Mark DeRose - drums; Greg Lyons - tenor; Don Byron - bass clarinet

This is a song dedicated to the type of jobs we can play in Japan as working musicians. It's my humorous attempt to musically capture the nature of being told by an agent to hurry, then wait, then hurry, then wait. Though I've experienced my own fair share of such gigs, an extreme example was told to me by a sax player in Japan. He was flown to a far away province only to be sent home the next day without actually ever playing a note, despite being asked to go onstage three times, standing there for awhile with instrument, before being sent home! The fast line, prompted by the drummers' stick hits, is like being told to hurry, the following melody is like the feeling that we're maybe getting into a groove, then, the fast line interrupts again, sending us into a slow blues which expresses frustration. There are different solo changes and an odd-bar form that represents the high degree of uncertainty and change typical on such gigs.


7. What da' Funk! - by Greg Chako..........8:03
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Mark DeRose (solos) - drums, congas/bongo, percussion;
Christy Smith (solos) - bass; Greg Lyons (solos) - soprano sax; Delfeayo Marsalis (solos) - trombone; Don Byron (solos) - bass clarinet

This song starts with a driving, straight quarter note beat with snare accents on three. Underlying 12/8-feel percussion and a bass ostinato is added. After the initial melody is played by the horns, the tempo doubles and a funky section provides the groove for open, ensemble horn solos, a guitar solo, and a short bass and percussion solo, before the original intro is stated again to take the tune out. This one is fun to play!


8. The End of a Love Affair - by Edward C. Redding ..........6:41
Greg Chako (solos)- guitar; Mark DeRose - drums; Christy Smith - bass
Christy Smith - bass; Joe Jayaveeran - tabla; Jayagowtham - mridangam; Delfeayo Marsalis - trombone; Greg Lyons - soprano sax

This is one of my favorite ballads and we feature the guitar trio in a once-down improvisation.


9. With Full Heart and Teary Eyes - by Greg Chako..........5:13
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Delfeayo Marsalis (solos) - trombone; Mark DeRose - drums; Christy Smith - bass; Don Byron - bass clarinet; Greg Lyons - tenor
This tune pre-dates all the other originals on this release. I wrote it a long time ago, but recall the melody prompting a melancholy-bluesy feeling in me. Trombone is perfect to express this, so it doubles the melody and shares the solo space, while the other two horns play close-harmony. This is a first-take too.


10. People Will Say We're in Love - by Rodgers-Hammerstein..........6:38
Greg Chako (solos) - guitar; Mark DeRose - drums; Christy Smith (solos) - bass
After my originals were recorded, we had a little time to simply jam, so I called a couple tunes to blow on - this one being the first. It sounded fresh, with energetic swing, so I decided it was the perfect way to end the CD.

Total time: 66:53


Band members:
Greg Chako - guitar
Mark DeRose - drums, percussion
Christy Smith - bass
Greg Lyons - tenor, soprano sax

Plus very special guests:
Delfeayo Marsalis - trombone
Don Byron - bass clarinet, tenor
Joe Jayaveeran - tabla
Jayagowtham - mridangam


All songs and arrangements composed by Greg Chako,
except where otherwise indicated.
Recorded Jan. 12th - Jan. 14th 2007.
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by John Herbert,
Lion Studios Singapore.
Manufactured and Printed in Singapore.
Cover design by Jamie Belton.

CP 88-8 All Rights Reserved. P & C by Chako Productions Pte Ltd



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