No words necessary for these offerings
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
Instrumentals take the limelight this week. One CD marvelously captures the prevailing jazz quartet in town; another, a slack-key compilation by one of the most prolific creators of new music.
So it's possible to create pictures and evoke moods without words.
"SOUNDS OF THE CITY" by the Honolulu Jazz Quartet; HJQ Records.
Distinguishing notes: Bassist John Kolivas, who performs with Keola Beamer and the Honolulu Symphony, has an enriching life as a jazz musician. His Honolulu Jazz Quartet is one of Honolulu's most active and visible ensembles.
Seasoned and productive, he's traveled extensively and this perspective has influenced his vision as a combo member. With Dan Del Negro on piano, Adam Baron on drums and Tim Tsukiyama on saxophone, the HJQ clearly has crawled beneath the skin of jazz enthusiasts with its smart, fresh take on life's pleasurable moments.
Kolivas wrote eight of the 10 songs here; Del Negro contributed two. The flavor is old-school, the feeling is current, and titles read like a scrapbook of frisky memories, exemplified in "Ole Buddy," a tribute to Buddy Banks; "Remembrance," an homage of pivotal Island jazzmen Trummy Young, Ernie Washington and Paul Madison; "Woody's Blues," a nod to Woody Shaw; and "Mt. Fuji," a recollection of a bullet train ride when Kolivas saw the majestic Japanese peak.
The outlook: A Four instrumental "voices" blend with ease and assurance, creating a distinctive and colorful tapestry of emotions.
Our take: HJQ is Hawai'i's version of the MJQ Modern Jazz Quartet and the nucleus of all that's jazz in the Islands.
|"Ole Buddy" by Honolulu Jazz Quartet. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.|
"HAWAIIAN SLACK KEY GUITAR" by Daniel Ho; Daniel Ho Creations.
Genre: Instrumental slack key.
Distinguishing notes: Daniel Ho has become one of the major players in the ki ho'alu sweepstakes; the ex-Islander has assembled 80 glorious minutes from three previous CDs, "Watercolors," "Beyond Blue," and "Voyage Home," which translates into 23 titles that revive some traditional cuts ("Kanaka Waiwai," "Hawai'i Pono'i," "Whee Ha Swing") and introduces some of his original compositions ("A World Away," "Dreams of Eternity," "Lia," "Napili Meditation") that elicits new-age impressions in the old-style tradition.
The outlook: Evocative, uniformly romantic fare abounds here; a splendid collection to discover Ho, if you've yet to tune into his artistry. The instrumentals are mounted with dedication and care, with keyboard, koto, bass, and sax accompaniment; liner notes could have explained some history of the tunes and why they were written or recorded.
Our take: Ho-Ho-Ho! Christmas arrives early this year, with Ho's anthology of his best ki ho'alu stylings. A gift that will keep on giving pleasure.
Reach Wayne Harada at firstname.lastname@example.org, 525-8067 or fax 525-8055.