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Midnight Noon by Craig Chaquico

Smooth jazz in the purest sense has always been a contradiction, due in small part to its universal radio appeal. Some of the artists who play that type of music can easily transition themselves into other jazz styles. Others languish in the dull and mundane trying to find a platform to speak from. When it comes to guitarist Craig Chaquico, you have to wonder how he was able to make the jump from Jefferson Starship to become one of the most prominent musicians in smooth jazz today. Successfully jumping from a rock band into jazz is no small endeavor. As a Grammy nominated guitarist, Craig has consistently charted in various categories of smooth jazz since 1993. As a crossover artist, he has continuously charted a path for himself as a New Age and an Adult Alternative musician. Over the last 11 years, Craig has either recorded or worked with Richard Elliot, Boney James, 3rd Force, John Klemmer, Rick Braun, The Rippingtons, Peter White and Douglas Spotted Eagle, a Grammy award winning Native American flutist. He has recorded a number of highly successful albums of his own, all of which has led to a number of other accolades, including being named by Jazziz as one of history's top compositional/technical guitarists. His latest release entitled 'Midnight Noon' is another topical view into the multi-faceted realm of Craig Chaquico.

On this latest effort, Craig attempts to describe what happens as day turns into night. The title of the CD is derived from the expression "jazz noon," known by some to be midnight. In the music world, as with other professions, most people are not employed on regular 9 to 5 jobs; instead, their work day begins at midnight. It is doing these hours that most people have their most reflective moments. The dynamics of that idea caused Craig to ponder those thoughts into an album filled with varying influences of jazz, Latin and 1950s bebop. He even threw in a bit of rock music to draw upon his days as a guitarist for Jefferson Starship. This recording was so reflective, Craig used 50 different guitars to weave his tapestry. He also employed a number of playing styles and numerous mood swings to create ten luscious tracks of impressionistic grooves. From the onset, Chaquico jumps out swinging with "Her Boyfriend's Wedding," an uptempo cut describing a true story about an ex-girlfriend who is invited to his wedding because their friendship remains intact. Craig even plays a wedding march on guitar at the end of the track. "Always With You" is another track that lets the other know that their love will remain no matter what. With a melodic vocal from songstress April Hendrix, Craig adds a Latin flavor of mellow funk and backward playing sonic rhythms to create a catchy tune destined for radio airplay. These are just two of the songs that standout in my mind, the other tracks are just as compelling, especially with Craig's utilization of strategically placed guitar flavors. The other eight songs mirror a wide variety of ideas, all of which are designed to focus upon a myriad of human experiences.

Trying to describe Craig Chaquico's music can be an enigma of sorts because he wears so many musical hats. My impression of him was changed while observing one of his live performances. The stagnant radio airplay I often heard on smooth jazz stations became lost in translation because of that opportunity. On stage, Craig flexes a musical muscle that is not ever heard over the airwaves. On 'Midnight Noon,' Craig Chaquico draws upon everything emotionally driven during the preponderance of thought. These are the times inspiration occurs and plans are made, while the intuitive spirit that guides all of us is most prevalent. This latest CD speaks volumes to what occurs when day turns into night.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Craig Chaquico
  • CD Title: Midnight Noon
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Higher Octave
  • Rating: Three Stars
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