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Greg Chako: Where We Find Ourselves

Jim Santella By

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With his sextet of jazz improvisers and program of original tunes, guitarist Greg Chako stretches out with a smooth session of aural impressions. Warmth, inner passion and heartfelt charm pervade his writing, which addresses matters of the heart.

The ensemble casts a varied shadow that's dominated by the sound of saxophone, trombone, guitar and a flowing rhythm section. Chako's fluid guitar brings cool harmony and mellow improvisation to the scene, while his band colors the performance with surrounding walls of consonance.

Takachan, a contrafact of "Emily, features bassist Mark Tourian in a lovely soliloquy that jibes well with solo spots from guitar and soprano sax, each portraying lyrical depth through the song's graceful melody.

Singer Kaleb James interprets "Creators of Life and "Where We Find Ourselves with a light demeanor that sails smoothly through reflective lyrics. The latter piece, Chako's title track, employs acoustic guitar in a duet with a personal message. April Wind, a reinvention of "I'll Remember April, features drummer Mark DeRose in a driving ensemble interpretation and finds Chako picking staccato phrases with leaping intervals to emphasize the song's underlying surges.

You of All, which is based on "All of You, features bass clarinet, trombone and tenor in a hot ramble. This intense and direct piece, the best part of Chako's session, allows plenty of room for adventure. Dirge for Didge features Andy Bevan on didgeridoo along with tabla, bongos, and other exotic sounds from the realm of world music. Pat Hallaran's muted trombone solos cry out in anguish, complementing Bevan in a thrilling display of unbridled passion.

Josephine, a contrafact of "Beatrice, features soprano saxophone, trombone and bass clarinet in a lush, evenly flowing arrangement. Chako lets his guitar gently weep with strong rhythmic support at his side. Love Goes Fourth, from the changes to "Love for Sale, features tenor and trombone in an up-tempo romp that has Chako moving incessantly with guitar splashes in rapid-fire motion. Fast and quick, but always seamless and fluid, the guitarist paints a peaceful landscape throughout this two-CD release that's recommended for its smooth countenance and adherence to tradition.

Track Listing: Voyage Down; Wave of Love; Winter Solstice; Takachan; Love Goes Fourth; Creators of Life; April Wind; It

Personnel: Greg Chako: guitar; Mark Tourian: bass; Mark DeRose: drums, congas, bongos, percussion; Andy Bevan: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, didjeridu; Robbie Belgrade: bass clarinet, pandeiro, tabla, percussion; Pat Hallaran: trombone; Kaleb James: vocals.

Title: Where We Find Ourselves | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: CPB

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