Greg Chako

Integration II

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This album is a sequel to the Singapore-based guitarist's initial release, Integration. He has beefed up his band, the most prominent being sax player Greg Lyons, who shows on such cuts as "Tokong Burung's-Nazri's Place" that he can handle alto, tenor, soprano and baritone with equal facility. Also new is Reggie Perera playing the Australian Aborigine native instrument, the didgeridoo, which gives off a resonance similar to a jew's harp. Chako continues his exploration of harmonies and rhythms which helps assure each track has something new and different to offer. The catchy, groovy "Ocean Blues" has Chako and his guitar in a Kenny Burrell mode. Some good bass plucking by Chako's regular bass player, Christy Smith, is heard here as well. Horns playing mostly in unison come to the fore on the boppish "The Hunny Lady," where a subtle Latin beat is added to give the tune some bounce to add to the fluidity of the playing. This is the only tune that is not the product of Chako's creative composing pen. Creatively mixing major and minor chords, "The Sweet One" fulfills the promise of its title as Chako's deftly plucked guitar leads the way on a plaintive musical recitation. "Smooth Ride," which Chako wrote while on a ferry, is the album's swinger with good contributions by David Humphreys' tenor sax and Brian Hill's trombone. Chako continues to write music that both performers and audience can sink their teeth into, providing real, not artificially contrived, variety with each cut. Recommended.

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