Greg Chako

Intergration

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An American-born guitarist/composer, but now living in and working out of Singapore, this is Greg Chako's fourth self-produced CD. The title matches the musical objective of the session: a mixing of solid hard bop, Latin rhythms, and the dreamy sounds created by didjeridu, a very long wind instrument native to Aborigine people of Australia. This album is the first for Chako's regular group, also named Integration. Hard bop is the focus of most cuts, often mixed with rhythms and sounds of the Far East. The biting, driving caustic tenor of Otrie Barrett, Jr. has a major role throughout. He's heard to good effect on the title tune, where his sax weaves in and out with Chako's guitar and Singaporean native Joshua Wan's piano. This cut recalls those exciting hard blowing, small group sessions of the 1960s which featured Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, et al. There's an effective mix of hard bop and Latin on "Coming Home," with Otrie Barrett's sax and former Miles Davis percussionist Steve Thornton's bongos leading the way on an exciting eight-plus-minute album opener. The didjeridu is featured along with the percussion on the exotic "Sulawesi Sky," with the Australian instrument emitting sounds of the Australian outback. Matters turn blusey with "Inspiration Blues" and the jazz funk on "Funky Monkeym" with Barrett's sax taking on a Jimmy Forrest mien on the latter. Chako's single-stringed guitar playing highlights a lovely ballad "From the Heart." Chako wrote all compositions but one. All show a flair for imaginative application of tempo and harmony filled with some unexpected jagged rhythmic diversions guaranteed to keep listener attention. Integration is recommended.

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