Everybody's Got a Name
Artists' Intro: Never have I awaited a release with as much anticipation and excitement as this. One reason is that I really like the songs I've written. Another is this particular format. It's significant not only because it's a return to the trio setting of my roots and the first time I've presented a quartet of piano, guitar, bass and drums, but also because I'm playing with the guys I'm most familiar with from my regular gigs in Japan, where I've lived for the past few years. That brings me to the point of this releases' title. Professionals in the Jazz industry have explained that I'm better off recording with so-called 'name' cats, in order to get the attention and exposure I want. While I don't disagree with that advice, this CDs' whole concept is my humorous way to respond to critics who over-emphasize 'name' recognition at the expense of listening fairly with open ears and mind. After all, everybody's got a name, or, everybody's who's got something uniquely valid to say has a right to be taken seriously. Now a few brief words about the band...Mark and I met and played together first. We met Hasegawa on a tip from another musician, and when he and Mark met, they hit it off real well musically and personally. Meanwhile, Tanaka and I met on a duet gig. Mark knew of Tanaka, so we thought, why not put the four of us together, two Japanese and two Americans, and call ourselves CJQ (Collaboration Jazz Quartet)? We love playing together, and have a healthy respect for one anothers' dedication to the Music. My sincere thanks and appreciation go to these players who accompany me. As always, I could not have done it without their love, support, and talent. The same goes for our engineer, John Herbert of Lion Studios in Singapore, Joe Jayaveeran, fellow player who lent us percussion, and Patricia Campbell, who lent us cymbals and snare. I also wish to acknowledge my spiritual guide, AMMA, from whom all good things derive. Greg Chako October 2007 Song Details: 1. Boppin' at Berlitz - 3:50 by Greg Chako I've been teaching English in Japan for a famous language school called Berlitz. One day, my students didn't show for class, so I began doodling on the guitar to pass the time. I played a bluesy lick I liked and developed this song quickly based on that melody (which opens the song in the first two bars). Mark suggested the good idea of adding conga to accent the songs' relaxed, somewhat classic groove. 2. Bop-n-Swing Thing - 4:51 by Greg Chako This song was also composed quickly during the off-time of my teaching job. My goal was to write a song inspired by Charlie Parkers bebop, but with a bass counter-line, so there would actually be two different melodies played simultaneously. Also, I've gotten positive feedback on bebop/swing style selections in the past, so I wanted to write something original in those veins for those fans. The first two selections presented accomplish that, I hope. 3. Everybody's Got a Name - 10:03 by Greg Chako As the title track, I wanted to write something that shows off the group. It had to be something challenging, to prove that we can really play. I wrote just the opening 2-bar line first, stated by guitar, piano, and bass, but then changed the melodic content following the opening line so that each instrument offers a unique melody. The main focus of the composition for me was to have an unexpected, or somewhat unconventional rythmn played as an ensemble. So I wrote the rythmn first, isolated from any melodic or harmonic content, then fit everything else around it. The result is a driving Latin-Jazz style with a complicated syncopated section that challenges our ensemble cohesiveness. The drummer uses the last solo space to build a brief Latin-flavored percussion showcase. It's so captivating I don't really notice a whole ten minutes going by! 4. All Roads Lead Home - 8:55 by Greg Chako This is one of the finest things I've ever written, and if it is as good as I think it is, then it's' inspiration surely came from my Holy Mother, AMMA (Amritanandamaya, Holy Mother of Heavenly Bliss). I wanted to write something with her in mind. The title means that we all take different paths in life at different times, yet our ultimate destination is none other than where we came from. For the sake of this title, I call it Home, but it could also be called ...to AMMA, to Heaven, to the Source, to the All That Is and Ever Shall Be, to God, to Our Original Selves. This is played tenderly, with feeling, by the duo we call The Imperial Duo, named after our regular gig in Tokyo. Meeting Hiroshi taught me how fun and easy playing only with a pianist can be. 5. The Lamp is Low - 7:07 by Peter DeRose & Bert Shefter This is a one-take trio piece with no over-dubs (Mark plays drums and percussion at the same time). I include this in memory of our steady (9 months) Monday night trio gig at the Intercontinental Hotel in Yokohama. This is just how we played there each week, making the most of what we had, our classic trio sound. I'm told the song is based on a theme by Ravel, called Pavane. It's a romantic, beautiful melody I've always enjoyed, and I think we do it justice here. 6. Apache Junction - 5:41 by Greg Chako This is derived from Cherokee, and it is the only standard-based swinger in the set. I thought at least one tune like this would be appropriate to display diversity and our familiarity with the Jazz tradition. 7. Yamanashi Snow - 5:48 by Greg Chako Yamanashi is a mountainous prefecture (like State) not far from Mt. Fuji in Japan. It's famous for spring water, clean air and wonderful views. I spent a short holiday there at the log cabin of a pianist friend of mine. While sitting outside relishing nature, I began writing the main theme of this song. After the trip, the song sat unfinished and unused until I revived it for this recording. It turned out to be one of my overall favorites of the session. Hiroshi wanted to play Fender Rhodes on one tune, so I chose this one. I hoped to create an intense, but open, airy feeling, as if one were watching a still, snowy landscape at dusk. Mark and I had fun adding the ambient percussion. 8. Mimosa - 7:36 by George Benson This is one we've recently begun playing on our trio gigs. It's got a relaxed, but cool groove, and features a sensitive bass solo and light shaker/triangle percussion. 9. A Felicidade - 6:10 by Antonio Carlos Jobim Here's one of my (many) favorite Jobim songs. 10. Blues for Redd - 5:05 by Greg Chako This blues I titled for drummer Redd Holt. My first steady 6-night a week gig was with Redd on drums (fortunately). I loved his swinging sound, and his generous, entertaining personality. The occasional hits on four and one during the head come from what I recall about his approach. But for us this time, the song was just a jam, played only once as a relaxing ('blow off steam') interlude between the preceding material. 11. From This Moment On - 6:45 by Cole Porter (Bonus Track) This was a spare track from my last CD, 'Paint a Picture, Tell a Story'. I offer it here as a bonus, because I like it and thought it would be appreciated by those who like guitar jazz. Also, I think it adds a different vibe to the rest of the CD, with some tasty brush work from Mark.