Happy National Coffee Day, first of all!
One of the things that I love most about jazz is the element of surprise. Artists take a familiar melody, play it and improvise around it. They ebb and flow in both the compositions and the bands that they perform with.
For instance, I just knew I had the answer to the Smooth Jazz Coffee Break Quiz one morning – all the clues seemed to line up to a blog piece I had started, so with my Encyclopedia of Jazz at one hand and a cup in the other, I waited to hear the answer.
Holy Kona, Batman, was I ever wrong!
Across the airwaves came one of my late father’s favorite smooth jazz cuts, Craig Chaquico’s "Sacred Ground. "
My trusty six pound reference book published in 2007 didn’t have Craig Chaquico in it at all. They did have the jazz group called Hot Tuna which another guitarist from Jefferson Airplane formed. Grabbing another less weighty but still jammed packed (pun intended) reference book, I found that Craig wasn’t in there either. That meant they were defining him as a rocker, not a jazz man. Off to do some research.
First, I went to Wikipedia, where I found out that when he was twelve years old, he was badly injured in a car accident. It broke his arms and hands very badly. His father, who was in the accident too, told Craig that Les Paul had used playing his guitar as a form of physical therapy when he had a bad injury and if Craig would do the same, he would buy him a Les Paul guitar when his casts came off. He did and to this day, Craig believes in the power of music to heal. He’s an avid supporter of the American Music Therapy Association, member of Bikers for Charity, Harley Davidson's charitable effort supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association and when the Carvin Corporation makes one of Craig’s signature model guitars, a tree is planted.
At 16, Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane asked him to join the band. Craig stayed with them through all three phases of the band, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship. With the band and as a studio musician, he has played with some of the biggest and the best, from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to Santana and Russ Freeman of the Rippingtons.
Next, I went to his website. Here I was stopped in my tracks. After checking out the pictures, I found that his next gig, on October 11th is as a featured speaker, not a performer, at the Portland Creative Conference aka Cre8con.
The about section of the Cre8con website explains the event as follows: Cre8con . . . is an interdisciplinary exploration and celebration of the creative process across various creative industries. The conference features keynote presentations from leading creatives who reveal their work and talk about their process, secrets, influences and inspirations.
No wonder he defies definition. Check him out here.
~Lydia Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our Smooth Video of the Day: Craig Chaquico plays "Sacred Ground" live.