Take Five With Greg Chako
Favorite venue: There are so many, but let me use a "safe" one, from the song description of one of the original tunes (called "Hurry Up and Wait") from my newest CD: "This is a song dedicated to the type of jobs we can play in Japan as working musicians. I wrote this in a humorous attempt to musically capture the nature of being told by the agent to hurry, then wait, then hurry, then wait. Though I have experienced my own fair share of such gigs, an extreme example was told to me by my saxophonist in Japan, who was flown to a far away province only to be sent home the next day (paid amply of course) without actually ever playing a note, despite being asked to go onstage with instruments, standing there for awhile, on three separate occasions, before being sent back to the hotel!"
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? My stock answer to that question is: "...the next one!"; but I suppose, if I am forced to pick one, it would be the Integration releases, an intended double CD set released separately as Integration, and Integration II. The reason is it represented a sort of culmination of my work during one particularly important period of my life which was happy and fruitful both professionally and personally.
What's the most important thing I contribute musically: I want to say honesty, a voice, a style, a passion, a love... But perhaps that is not unique... I can say, I have not heard Jazz that is at the same time, true to the roots and traditions of the Music, yet simultaneously incorporating instruments like Didjeridu, Tabla, Surdo, etc... and front-line combinations of guitar/trombone/tenor, or, soprano/ trombone/bass clarinet, etc... One tune I wrote called The Sweet One, has guitar melody with no drums, only acoustic bass, tabla and conga. My songs are at once, complicated and simple, with depth yet easy to hum, traditional and yet contemporary.
Did you know... I love cooking and was once offered a career via a "keyhole" job at the Four Seasons restaurant in NYC and an "in" to study at the famed Culinary Institute of NY.
I was a real estate salesman who "talked his way" into a job with one of the biggest industrial/commercial firms in NYC, to set a company sales record in my first year.
I am quite the organized homebody and to some extent, enjoy housekeeping.
I sleep in the nude.
How you use the internet to help your career? I have invested a lot in my website, which is one of the more comprehensive and informative on the web I believe. I have had a bulk mail list for years. Before the internet, I used paste-on mailing labels, now I have one on my server. The site and the list have been recently updated and re-designed, so hopefully, both have never been more user-friendly. Generally, I never liked computers, and was late to get into using one. But once I overcame my childish resistance to them, I quickly became addicted (in a way) to email. I think the computers advantages have made it invaluable to my staying in touch with people, particularly since I have moved around a lot in countries where the phone lines can sometimes be unreliable. I am fairly sure that there are yet untapped benefits of the internet I have not had the time or inclination to utilize fully. I am not a techy-person, and dont like spending hours in front of the computer screen.
CDs you are listening to now: The only CD I am listening to now is my own - the rough unedited, unmixed music of my newest release due in a couple more months. To tell the truth, I rarely listen anymore due to a grueling time schedule with both work and home life. Normally, on my way to gigs, I would listen to the radio, but in Japan, theres no radio worth listening to (for me). And at home, Im usually cooking, eating, cleaning, doing emails and marketing work like this, or watching TV. In truth, at my age, I prefer silence, or natures natural sounds (birds singing, ocean waves lapping the shore).
Desert Island picks: This is a silly question. Theres a list of my favorite (jazz) albums on my website.