280

Greg Chako: Two's Company, Three's A Crowd Jazz Duets

By

Sign in to view read count
Greg Chako: Two's Company, Three's A Crowd  Jazz Duets Having lived and worked in Singapore and Japan, guitarist/composer/entrepreneur Greg Chako takes this occasion to provide us with a series of duets with vocalist Andrea Hopkins and pianists Hiroshi Tanaka and Homei Matsumoto. When Chako arrived in Japan in 2004, he found a steady guitar/piano duo gig at the famed Imperial Hotel—the first time he worked without a bassist. Chako dubbed the ensemble "The Imperial Duo." On this recording he adds several vocals provided by the Atlanta-based Andrea Hopkins. Chako met the singer on one of these "bass-less" events and was impressed with her flexibility and stage presence.

Two's Company, Three's A Crowd offers a rewarding experience for afficionados of the piano/guitar duet setting, and listeners should prepare themselves for a lengthy stretch, inasmuch as these sixteen tunes take up some 75 minutes. Both of the pianists acquit themselves quite well, but the guitar is the primary instrument featured on most of these tracks.

The theme of Henry Mancini's opening tune, "The Days of Wine and Roses," is, however, stated by Matsumoto. When Chako steps forward for his solo, he employs the Wes Montgomery octave-style approach in a most facile fashion. I did not hear this technique on Chako's concurrent release, Where We Find Ourselves. Likewise, on the Kosma/Mercer standard "Autumn Leaves," Matsumoto takes the melody line and cleverly emulates the late 1950s Bill Evans trio's arrangement of the tune.

The album consists of a number of romantic and intimate ballads like Bruno Martino's "Estate" and Robinson/Burdge's "Portrait of Jenny," where the guitar weaves the lyrical melody with gently flowing single-line solos. The eight vocal pieces with Andrea Hopkins (named by Chako as the "Smooth As Silk" duo) are a diversion and occupy almost half of the album. It is refreshing to hear Hopkins' take on such tunes as Charles Trenet's "I Wish You Love" or her soulful version of David Gates' rock ballad "If"—but, while the singer provides to be more than up to the task, these pieces seem to detract from the guitar/piano chemistry. Half of these vocals could have easily been eliminated.

Track Listing: The Days Of Wine And Roses; I Could Write A Book; Estate; Almost Like Being In Love; Portrait of Jenny; Mean To Me; Some Other Spring; I Wish You Love; Autumn Leaves; In My Solitude; You're My Everything; If; Who Can I Turn To?; So Many Stars; Time After Time; Take The "A" Train.

Personnel: Greg Chako: guitar; Homei Matsumoto (1,5,9,14,16) or Hiroshi Tanaka (3,7,11,13):piano; Andrea Hopkins (2,4,6,8,10,12,15): vocals.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: CPB | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Schönbrunn" CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Triadic Episode" CD/LP/Track Review Triadic Episode
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by John Kelman
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Sir Nebula" CD/LP/Track Review Sir Nebula
by Doug Collette
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "In Praise of Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review In Praise of Shadows
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Three Miles From Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Three Miles From Avalon
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2016
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!