|"Guitarist Greg Chako has a fat, aggressively beautiful tone...
Whether pushing delicious lines along like he's in a Bop dream state ("Smooth Ride"),
or passing pianist Michael Stanton a subtly different color feel to work from at the end of his
"Hunny Lady" solo, Chako's playing is consistently satisfying. As a writer he has a talent
for scoring long, involved melodies that open like wings into the solo spaces. Check out the opening "
Tokong Burung" for instance, whose winding melody employs tension and release masterfully.
"French Island Fantasy" could almost fit onto Pharoah Sanders "Thembi". The superb
"Afro-Asian Chant", reminiscent of McCoy Tyners "Sama Layuca", heats up to boiling,
staying on the stove through a potent combination of cross rhythms and kicks. The one traditional Guitar
trio piece, "Ocean Blues", is appropriately spacious, with Edmond Bransons' fine cymbal work
evoking the shimmer of white-capped waves. With a vibrant recorded presence, this is
HUGELY enjoyable stuff!" - Larry
Nai, Cadence, New York, 2002
"...This is music that transcends geographic boundaries and
cultures, and communicates the happiness and friendship that
all music should provide... Chakos' tunes are well-crafted,
harmonically strong, with catchy, memorable melodies (unlike
many contemporary offerings today). Chakos' tone and phrasing
are exceptional! Thoughtfully created and and perfectly executed,
this is a very positive musical statement from an extremely
talented composer and performer..." - Professor
Vince Lewis, for Just Jazz Guitar, USA Feb 2002
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"Greg is a proven guitarist and a great talent. Integration
II is full of nuances, integrating fusion, blues, and swing.
His guitar shines and he creates a new style, breathing exotic
jazz-ethno music full of spirit and solid musical foundation"
- Jazz Dimensions, Germany, 2002
"Integration I & II is the culmination of many studio hours, tremendous discipline,
concentration, and the ability to employ all musical strengths in every composition. These
two recordings are a jazz mosaic painted with the very best of cultural, ethnic, and musical
sensibilities. That striking combination provides a sumptuousness and extensiveness in the
music that is rarely found in any genre.
it's the be-bop of 'Funky Monkey' or the gentle acoustic flow
of 'Smooth Ride' ala Joe Pass, this collection of songs has
something for everyone's taste. Every jazz discipline, or
parts thereof, is given an acknowledgement. Chako is up to
the task on the electric or acoustic six-string, allowing
the necessary elasticity for each song to build upon itself
and congeal. After over 130 minutes of a trip around the jazz
galaxy, I think it's safe to say that Greg Chako and his magnificent
band are one of the world's best kept secrets. The word is
now out; don't hesitate in seeking out this essential jazz
experience." - Keith 'MuzikMan'
Hannaleck, JazzReviews, USA, 2002
Integration II: "Chakos' strongest recording to date. "Tokong
Burung", is a locally-inspired extended composition. The inclusion
of didjeridu adds to the exotic sound mix while drums, percussion,
and tabla maintain the restless underlying beat. On "The Sweet
One", Chako shows off his sensitive side both as a composer
and a guitarist. "Smooth Ride" is a confident swinger with
a catchy call and response theme. French Island Fantasy has
soaring solos and a happy feel, despite an underlying tension
set up by the spacious first theme and the agitated funk of
the second theme. Fine Aussie Weathered is neatly swinging.
Ocean Blues marks a return to Chakos' trio roots, with a touch
of Wes Montgomery. The Hunny Lady is the only piece on the
album not written by Chako, and this breezy number is graced
by good solos." - Straits Times,
"Greg Chako is a dynamic American jazz guitarist and
Integration II features the entire spectrum of swing, Latin
rhythms, blues, ballads, and Brazilian drum sounds. It's an
exotic mix of diverse jazz melodies, each offering a unique
sound and feel. The guitar playing is delivered with a warmth
and precision, providing an inspirational element to all tracks.
Chakos' tropical island inspirations can clearly be heard
on aptly titled tracks like French Island Fantasy and Afro-Asian
Chant. With Chako covering nearly every jazz style in one
package, this is ideal listening for first time jazz listeners
as well. It's enjoyable from start to finish, with Chako and
his band delivering well-crafted melodies and harmonies with
a unique combination of instruments played to perfection!
" - Sound Waves Magazine, Don
" Integration II continues the trend (of Integration
I), but with more fusion elements. Solid and entertaining
modern jazz with Latin, straight ahead, and contemporary/fusion
based songs. Performance 4 stars, Sound 4 stars" - Jazz
Newsletter O's Place, USA