Craig Chaquico - Four Corners

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Higher Octave
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:35:00

As beautiful and well played as Craig Chaquico's Four Corners is, there is something strange going on - there are musical passages that are hauntingly familiar, reminding of other, non-Chaquico tracks. There is a guitar phrase in "Turquoise Moon," for example, that is quite similar to verbal phrases in "Fire And Rain" by James Taylor. Not the chorus, though, but lines from the verse, specifically: "I just can't make it through another day." Deliberately quoting or coincidence? A similar thing happens in "Forbidden Love" which precedes "Turquoise." The Carole King tune "You Belong To Me" is what I hear, the phrase, "You don't have to prove to me?" almost quoted, though it tails off in a different direction, leading me to believe it is coincidence, as the track itself sounds nothing like it.

John Halblieb plays fugelhorn on "Red Rocks" with a tone and feel like Rick Braun (who provides some programming on the closer "Borders"). And, what I find amazing is how identifiable the sound of a soprano sax is, as on "Forbidden," and how often it sounds like Kenny G. Not being familiar with the instrument from a playing perspective, maybe this is an inherent quality to the instrument that is unavoidable. Unlike a guitar which can be tuned and adjusted, the sound changed by string choice ? maybe the sax doesn't have the same options.

None of that is by way of a complaint, or a suggestion that Chaquico isn't an original and gifted artist, but more an observation by someone who listens to a lot of music.

There is so much warmth here in the album, a depth of feeling and expression, and some spectacular guitar work by Chaquico. His guitar tone has given him a distinctive voice in music, where any guitarist plucking steel (or at least steel toned) strings, is going to be compared to Chaquico. Most guitarists who release "solo" material present their material as if is solo - just a man and a guitar, narcissistic. Chaquico has been able to create that ensemble feeling, where each instrument supports the other, augmenting the sound, giving it a completeness, a fullness. But, never forgetting that the guitar is the lead instrument, the voice out front.

"Arizona Daybreak" rolls along with a very country-western feel ? as Chaquico's guitar has a twang to it, all accented by the jaunty keys. Whether this is Ozzie Ahlers or Bill Heller, I'm not sure. Actually, the band I thought of was Bruce Hornsby and The Range. It has that same easy, mid-west quality - open land and tumbleweed.

The Rippingtons' Russ Freeman guests on the lead off track, "The Drifter" (which he composed), providing guitar, keys, bass and programming. He, along with Chaquico, Ahler, and William Aura produced most of the album, the other exception being "Borders," which was produced by Rick Braun and "Haight Ashbury," produced by Paul Brown (see musician credits below for other guests).

This album also includes a reworking of the Jefferson Starship classic "Somebody To Love," with guest musicians 3rd Force. This version is so reworked, you don't spot the original in there right away. The first part of it has a very Rippingtons flavour to it. This is no muzak version, but really seems more like a reworking of the ideas, though on a close listening that familiar chorus becomes apparent. Well done.

The Drifter (4:30) / Forbidden Love (5:20) / Turquoise Moon (4:19) / Red Rocks (5:06) / Arizona Daybreak (5:35) / Somebody To Love (3:52) / A Mother's Heart (7:14) / Haight Ashbury (3:15) / Samba Del Rio (5:23) / Borders (4:26) / Four Corners (5:55)

Craig Chaquico - guitar
Ozzie Ahlers - keyboards, percussion, vocals, and bass
Bill Heller - keyboards and programming
Alex Marlowe - additonal percussion
Russ Freeman - guitar, keyboards, bass, and keyboard programming (1)
Derek Jones - bass (2, 4, 9)
Jim Reitzel - bass (3, 11)
David Christopher - soprano sax (2)
Kevin Paladini - tenor sax (3)
John Halblieb - fugelhorn (4)
William Aura - bass (6)
Craig Dobbin - keyboards (6)
Alain Eskinasi - grooves and keyboards (6)
Richard Hardy - soprano sax (6)
Paul Brown - Programming and arranging (8)
Mark Ellis Stephens - keyboards (8)
Rick Braun - programming (10)
Greg Karukas - keyboards (10)
Everett Harp - saxophone (10)
Wade Olson - drums (11)

Acoustic Highway (1993)
Acoustic Planet (1994)
A Thosand Pictures (1996)
Once In A Blue Universe (1997)
Four Corners (1998)
From The Redwoods To The Rockies (w/Russ Freeman) (1998)
Shadow And Light (2002)
Midnight Noon (2004)
Holiday (2005)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: January 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 775
Language: english


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