Monday, September 05, 2011

Craig Chaquico delights crowd at The Coach House

Guitarist Craig Chaquico utilized the laser-guided Beamz during several original compositions at The Coach House on Sept. 3, 2011.

Photos courtesy of Bob Steshetz

Craig Chaquico has carved two careers out of his skill and love of playing guitar.

From 1974 to 1990, Chaquico was the lead guitarist of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship (later dubbed simply Starship), with his masterful work on his instrument enlivening classic tracks such as the beautiful "Miracles," hard rocking "Jane," popular rock ballad "Sara" and my favorite Jefferson Starship song, the Chaquico-penned "Find Your Way Back."

At the dawn of the 1990s, Chaquico embarked on a solo career crafting instrumental music, which has earned him an equally-strong appreciation with the release of a number of strong releases, including Acoustic Highway (1993), Acoustic Planet (1994), Midnight Noon (2004) and Follow the Sun (2009).

Chaquico took a break from work on his upcoming album (set for release in early 2012) to perform a full-length concert at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday night, Sept. 3, with the 75-minute performance serving as a celebration of his solo career.

Although this night found Chaquico performing on stage by himself, his use of technology allowed him to effortlessly perform with the accompaniment of a full group via backing tracks. But it was Chaquico's live playing that most impressed, including some of his best-known compositions. Indeed, "Cafe Carnival," "Acoustic Highway," "Sacred Ground" and "Return of the Eagle" allowed him to showcase his guitar skills blending his virtuoso skills on the fretboard with musical landscapes incorporating jazz, rock, Native American music, blues and flamenco.

A naturally-gifted storyteller, he often provided the inspiration and stories behind his selections. In several works, including "Gathering of the Tribes," he used his laser-guided Beamz (see the image at the top of this review) to add another dimension to his piece inspired by an invitation to perform and attend at a Pow Wow. He also had a fan in the audience come up on stage and use the technology-minded instrument to play with him during the show.

Chaquico ended his concert with an impressive version of "Return of the Eagle," with his guitar playing soaring like the track's namesake.

For more information on Chaquico, visit his official Web site.

For more information on photographer Bob Steshetz, visit his Bob By Request site.

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