Sudden Impact

Greg Chako

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Sudden Impact Review

by Dave Nathan

Guitarist Greg Chako's second album is somewhat different than his first. In addition to the usual trio format, horn and percussion have been added on some tracks. While the first release was a laid-back, relaxed session, this one has more tension with many of the tunes done with a Latin beat. The final significant change is that four Chako originals have been added to the musical program. What remains the same is the distinctive sound that Chako gets from his box. Eschewing a pick for his thumb allows Chako to achieve a soft attack and frees his fingers to construct his cleanly produced harmonies, resulting in a warm, graceful sound. This technique is heard on all the cuts and is especially effective on "Everything Happens to Me," where the presence of percussionist Tama Goh and Norman Talbert's bongos result in a toe-tapping bolero version of this classic standard. Sticking with the bolero tempo, the group turns out a lovely, languorous version of "People." Of Chako's melodies, "Sudden Impact" is the most audacious, with changing harmonics and the thrusting stringent sax of Otrie B. Barrett all constructed to reflect some major emotional changes in Chako's personal life. Barrett is also on the front line for another Chako composition, "Jones'in," a colloquialism which means a strong craving or addiction. Darryl Ervin's drums carve out a strong Elvin Jones-like niche on this track. Perhaps nowhere is the flying-fingers virtuosity of the guitarist better displayed than on "Fried Curry Pies," a blues number based on a tune by one of Chako's major influences, Wes Montgomery, and where he engages in a call and response with himself. With this release, Chako continues to rapidly advance himself up the ladder of contemporary guitarists.

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