Craig Chaquico
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Craig Chaquico

Ashland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Ashland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Craig Chaquico of Starship, Gary Hoey & Vernon Reid of Living Colour at The Canyon"

WOW. Fantastic. Loved the guitar work. Chaquico is amazing. Gary Hoey is absolutely sensational. That man is having a good time and he is a virtuoso on the guitar. Great, great show..David Z Joseph

The show was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Craig was marvelous as usual and it was my first time seeing Gary Hoey and he BLEW me away!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great guitarist, showman, etc.........................Always had a smile on his face. He has new fan forever!! I will see him again again and again! - Tom

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!!! What a fricken treat to see these guys. My husband told me to buy tickets, cuz it was his turn to pick. I had no idea who these guys were, until I heard them. I knew. I play guitar and apparently I suck! These guys were AMAZING. The best part of the show was the jam session at the end with Craig Chaquico and Gary Hoey with their guest singer, who by the way, had the most amazing pipes EVER!!! Wow, I was totally blown away. We stayed until the very last second of the show. I'm a Gary Hoey fan now. Rock on!!! I'll be at every concert going forward. AMAZING!!!!!! - Melissa Carlsen

Craig Chaquico was also really good- he played some really good rock and jazz. He also had a good singer there to belt out a few Jefferson Starship tunes. I got to talk to him about the movie "Skateboard" that he was in in the 70s with Leif Garrett, so that was really cool. Gary Hoey rounded out the show and did a set that was pretty similar to his last appearance at the Canyon. 3 solid performances- a great night of guitar!! - Concert Guy


"Craig Chaquico - Follow The Sun"

This whole album is just a joyous celebration of music. People that know me understand that I'm just not into jazz, but if this piece of work is defined as "smooth jazz", then count me in! I think that most of my pleasure listening to this album is largely rooted in the latin element which I am a big fan of. The opener "Lua Da Mae" is the only song on the album that has any of the Starship Craig elements in it. A very strong track. "Azores Lisboa" sounds like vintage Santana from the mid 70's and is a strong track as well. "Circus Beach" has a strong foundation of bass/drums with a nice melody. It has, what I believe to be a guitar synth which adds interest to the tune. Ends with amazing harmonic lick. This song is truly a clinic in playing guitar.

"Barefoot in the Sand" is a horn-based bluesy jazzy tune with call and answer. It possesses a strong melody and good tune. The melodies are strong on most of the albums. The closer "Solar Wind" possessed a strong melody which I enjoyed, although you could almost imagine this song as a tv theme song from the 80's!

Believe it or not, the highlight on the album for me is the only song with vocal "Lights Out in San Francisco". It is a nostalgic song that is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous. I believe Rolf Hartley is the vocalist on this well-written tune.

If you like latin music or smooth jazz, I can't imagine you NOT liking this album. If you're not usually into that type of music, pick it up and be converted! - ePinionated Music

"2010 Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival"

..."The crowd had been whipped up for the next act. Guitarist Craig Chaquico is a veteran performer with over thirty years of rock and roll, new age and smooth jazz performances under his belt. He took up where Dotsero left off. His years with Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Starship have marked him indelibly and his performance was filled with references to his songwriting success, and rock and roll life-style. The fans were treated to another debut at this festival as Chaquico introduced the “Beamz”, a LASER activated, computer controlled music generator that is intended for use in music therapy and music education. The skit used to introduce the technology jokingly alluded to aliens and the “Area 51” program as the origin of the instrument. Chaquico then gave a proper demonstration of the device and employed it during the performance of his chart-topping cover of the Kenny G hit “Songbird”. One could imagine the usefulness of this simple device to engage young musicians. With little transition, Chaquico delivered what the crowd had been awaiting, the Starship songs! Rolf Hartley, a good friend of Chaquico and a vocalist with killer stage presence, posing as a stage hand, in a routine that has taken many forms, joined Craig for a searing version of “Jane” and “Find Your Way Back”. Leave it to the ever-entertaining Chaquico to go back to the future, with the Beamz and the Starship tunes." - Jazz Review. com


Not surprisingly, Chaquico's guitar style has evolved over the years..." - Grammy

"With a fine rock lineage ands relentless work ethic to boot, guitarist Craig Chaquico is one of the great sales success stories behind Smooth Jazz. It's standard for Craig to sell six figures with each new CD...."
- Gavin

"Already one of Smooth-jazz's best-selling artists, guitarist Craig Chaquico..." -Jazziz

"Since touring the world with Jefferson Starship in the '70s and '80s, Chaquico has made a solo name for himself as one of smooth jazz's most acclaimed players of the '90s..." - Jazziz

"Chaquico is a star on Smooth Jazz radio..." - Gavin

"The keyboard and percussion accompaniment is sparse enough to allow Chaquico plenty of room to exercise his melodic judgment or his warp-speed scales, both of which he does with aplomb..."
- Billboard

"The music places a premium on lyrical melodies, active rhythms and rippling, glistening, fluid tones..."
- Los Angels Times

"Despite his having achieved a remarkable degree of technical prowess, it's the feelings that he elicits that gives his music magic..." - Washington Sunday Times/Los Angeles Times Syndicate

"Whether you liked him as a rocker in the old days or not, Chaquico is pure dynamite now..."
- Music Connection

"There is no doubting the dexterity of the solos... the pretty melodies are executed with flawless, fleet-fingered-ease..." - Washington Post

"Chaquico doesn't completely discard the rock'n'roll esthetic. It's still a part of his music..."
- Desert News/Salt Lake City
Universal Studios City Jazz

Orlando FL
October 13, 2005

The perfect way to hear Craig Chaquico is outdoors under the stars and as far away from a city as you can get. If that's not possible, no problem, because that's where he'll take you regardless of where you actually are. City Jazz at Universal Studios doesn't exactly have a sitting around the campfire atmosphere. After all, it is in the middle of a theme park, but it is a great place to hear live music; casual, intimate and classy. Craig did two shows, and as he always does, he rocked the room. He hit the stage with the opening notes of "Cafe Carnival" and immediately veered into Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" adding a few Hendrix riffs for good measure, all on acoustic guitar. That is the essence of his performances. He may have switched from electric to acoustic in the early 90s and brought that tone and texture into his work, but he didn't quit playing rock guitar. He just does it with wood and steel now.

The tone and texture are what has brought him into the smooth jazz realm, though. After a rousing segue back into an extended Latin-flavored jam with long time collaborator Ozzy Ahlers on keyboard and Kevin Palladini on sax, he went back to the song that defined this phase of his career, "Acoustic Highway," each note pure, clear and haunting. "Dream Date" had him rockin' again and making some blistering speed lead work look totally effortless. Introducing "Autumn Blue," he spoke of his father, who played sax, and his parents’ romance which was underscored by the classic song "As Time Goes By." "Autumn Blue" started with Kevin Palladini's emotive sax staying close to the original melody. Then it showcased his skills across a broad range of styles as it shifted into straight-ahead jazz territory and bebop improvisation leading gracefully into "As Time Goes By," and back into the original melody. Again, so effortlessly the audience didn't know they'd been hit by some deep, complex stuff. They just knew it felt and that it sounded wonderful.
The next two songs and the stories that surround them have long been the heart of the Craig Chaquico concert experience. Introducing "Return of the Eagle," he talks about eagles, their close brush with extinction and translating into music the feeling of camping in the shadow of eagles and seeing them soar. This song and "Gathering Of The Tribes" are driven by clear acoustic harmonies that shape-shift into sizzling rock riffs. Percussionist Marquinho Brazil and drummer Wade Olson tear it up in the background as the ceiling is covered with a moving starscape and the stage is transformed into a campfire setting, complete with an authentic looking faux-fire. The whole experience ends with one big drum roll, and before you can catch your breath he is off the stage and working the crowd with his new take on the Starship classic "Find Your Way Back." He ran from table to table playing to dancing and sometimes screaming groups of fans. Then he jumped on top of a table near the front and delivered a rousing guitar tour-de-force complete with hair flying and rock star poses. In my opinion, there is simply nobody else who plays acoustic guitar like him. Some can play as fast, but the clarity is missing. Some can hit the power chords but it doesn't sound this natural or effortless. He is one of our truly original artists, and although he comes close - Craig Chaquico


Below is a partial discography that will take you through a tour of some of Craig’s huge body of work. Many of these listings are linked to sections about Craig and his career, with more to come each month so check back often!

As A Solo Artist:

* 1993 Acoustic Highway - Higher Octave
* 1994 Acoustic Planet - Higher Octave
* 1996 A Thousand Pictures - Higher Octave
* 1997 Once in a Blue Universe - Higher Octave
* 1998 From the Redwoods to the Rockies - Windham Hill
* 1999 Four Corners - Higher Octave
* 2000 Panorama: The Best of Craig Chaquico - Higher Octave
* 2002 Shadow and Light - Higher Octave



Born September 26, 1954 in Sacramento, CA; raised in Sacramento, CA; married to Kimberly; one son, Kyle, born 1991; Addresses: Adresses: Record company-Higher Octave Music, 23852 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 2C, Malibu, CA 90265.

Craig Chaquico gives credence to the oxymoron "rock and roll prodigy." Indeed Chaquico wrote his first song at age 12, played professionally in a popular San Francisco band at age 14, and joined in a professional studio session at age 16. Immediately upon graduation from high school, Chaquico joined the celebrated Jefferson Starship band and played with the group until 1990. He never missed a performance nor a recording session. After the demise of Starship, Chaquico embarked on a solo career in the musical genre of new age jazz, writing and performing uniquely poetic melodies for acoustical guitar.

Craig Chaquico (Cha-kee-so) was born in Sacramento, California on September 24, 1954 and was raised in a close-knit family environment with his parents who were particularly fond of music. His mother, a pianist and organist, played at church and his father played saxophone semi-professionally. Chaquico's admiration for his parents flourished over time. Although he idolized his first rock and roll heroes, "... Hendrix, Page, Clapton and Beck," Chaquico confided in retrospect (to E.K. of the Rock N' Roll Reporter), "Now that I have a family and am older, I realize my parents were my real heroes."

As a child, growing up on a farm in northern California, Chaquico imagined himself as a singing cowboy with a guitar on his knee. He first started to play acoustical guitar when he was in grade school, around ten years old. He loved the instrument and one day it became particularly precious to him. It was his guitar that kept his young life from falling apart after a serious auto accident when he was 12 years old. The Chaquico family, out in the family car, was struck by a drunk driver. The three were lucky to escape alive, although Chaquico himself suffered two broken wrists, a broken thumb, a triple fracture of one leg, and a cerebral hemorrhage which left him unconsciousness for three days immediately following the accident.

Guitar as Therapy

For some time afterward his life was a blur of wheel chairs, crutches, and corrective shoes. Unable to return to school for three months; Chaquico passed the time playing the guitar. He didn't simply strum the guitar but played riffs and arpeggios all over the frets. His doctor, along with his parents, encouraged him to play as much as possible as a form of therapy to help recapture the dexterity in his wrists and thumb. All he could really use was one finger because of the casts that confined his hands and fingers. Chaquico's father promised to buy him a new guitar, an electric model, as an incentive to work hard and recuperate fully. Dauntlessly, Chaquico practiced, his fingers flew. He composed his first substantial melody during that painful convalescence,with his arms still wrapped in casts. The tune, "E-lizabeth's Song," was named for the doctor who brought him through that difficult time and for the E-string on the guitar, because that was all that he could reach with his fingers wrapped up in plaster. Although the entire song was composed for one string, high E, it is nonetheless lively, a busy song with an astonishing profusion of melodic riffs. In time, the creative 12-year-old healed, and he received the coveted electric guitar as a gift from his father. So dramatic was Chaquico's recovery in fact, that by the time he started high school he was truly a skilled guitarist, despite the debilitating accident.

Chaquico was only 14 when one of his teachers, Jack Traylor, invited him to join a band called Steel Wind, a popular combo in the San Francisco bay area. Chaquico was so young that he disguised his appearance with pasted-on whiskers in order to work in the clubs late at night. Steel Wind meanwhile caught the ear of Gracie Slick and Paul Kantner of the top-selling rock group the Jefferson Airplane. Slick and Kantner invited Chaquico to join in a recording session to back up Airplane violinist Papa John Creech for a solo album release called Sunfighter on Grunt Records-Slick and Kantner's own label. Chaquico, only 16 years old, was honored to play in the session with rock and roll greats David Crosby, Graham Nash, and the late Jerry Garcia.

Jefferson Starship and Starship

In 1974, after Chaquico finished high school he went straight to a world-class rock group, the Jefferson Starship, a reincarnation of the former Jefferson Airplane, under the direction of Slick and Kantner. Years of practice as a youngster, playing his old wooden guitar while healing from the auto accident, and jamming on his electric guitar as a teenager with Steel Wind paid off for Chaquico who stepped onto the stage and played lead guitar behind the world famous singer Gracie Slick. Chaquico's first performance with the Jefferson Starship was truly me