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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 20, 2007

HJQ keeps it going

Sample song: "Real Old Style" by Honolulu Jazz Quartet

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Meet the band: Dan Del Negro, 52, piano.

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Tim Tsukiyama, 47, tenor/soprano saxophone.

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John Kolivas, 45, bass, leader.

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Adam Baron, 35, drums.

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Keola Beamer

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Duke Ellington

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Miles Davis

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Nat Hentoff

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H-Town jazz saviors the Honolulu Jazz Quartet are back with a second CD, "Tenacity," and some serious critical praise from lauded jazz author Nat Hentoff. Catch the HJQ live tonight. Dig what makes 'em so cool now.


The Honolulu Jazz Quartet "Tenacity" CD release

When: 8 tonight

Where: Luke Lecture Hall, Wo International Center, Punahou School

How much: $10 general, $7 student/seniors (55+)

More information: 923-3909

Also: 9 p.m., Friday, The Hanohano Room, 922-4422


Formed a band. July 2001

Get the CDs. "Tenacity" (2007), "Sounds of the City" (2004)

The sound. Kolivas calls it "post-bop acoustic jazz."

Why the title "Tenacity"? "It means to hang on when the going gets tough," says Kolivas. "It also has to do with the group staying together, and playing jazz. We love the music. But it's not an easy thing to stick to. ... You have to be tenacious to stick with what you believe in."

HJQ motto. "Keep it going."


Kolivas: Miles Davis, Woody Shaw, Wayne Shorter; Tsukiyama: Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, inset; Del Negro: Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea; Baron: Jeff Hamilton, Ray Brown, Ahmad Jamal


All originals, no standards. Reason? To create instead of simply play music. "Duke Ellington said, 'It's all been written already. We're just rearranging,' " said Kolivas. "You have to be creative (and) make something ... to be an artist. It's important to do that."

Well, except one. The Keola Beamer composition "Real Old Style," which Kolivas admires for its focus on family life. Beamer, inset, wrote the original about his grandfather and aunties who loved to dance.


Nat Hentoff digs it. So much so, that Hentoff, inset, writes that the HJQ "exemplifie(s) the very definition of jazz a conversation of individual voices fully listening to one another and cohering into a unique, continually evolving organism."

Don Gordon does, too. The jazz aficionado and host of KIPO-FM 89.3's weeknight "Jazz With Don Gordon" show says, "Hopefully, this CD will gain recognition and grab the attention of respected Mainland jazz programmers. (It) continues the elevation of local jazz both at home and afar."


Kolivas, first turned on to jazz after reading Nat Hentoff's young-adult novel "Jazz Country" at age 12, sent a review copy of "Sounds" to the writer in 2004. Hentoff asked Kolivas to send an advance disc of HJQ's second recording when it was done. "The same day he got it in New York, he called me and said, 'The tracks are fine! ... If you'd like, I'd be willing to write the liner notes.' " In those, Hentoff writes, "I only write liner notes for recordings that make me want to hear them again and again."


Kolivas met Miles Davis in 1983 in New York while playing in the band of the Broadway musical "The Tap Dance Kid." Renowned session drummer Grady Tate introduced Kolivas to the raspy-voiced trumpet legend. Known for being a dude of few words, Davis leaned in and gave Kolivas the coolest compliment ever: "Bass sounds good." Says Kolivas, "I could've retired after that."

Jazz cat they'd all be roadies for. Miles Davis


Kolivas: "Kind of Blue," Miles Davis; Tsukiyama: "Afro Blue Impressions," John Coltrane; Del Negro: "Gershwin's World," Herbie Hancock. Baron: "Bam Bam Bam," Ray Brown Trio


Kolivas: "Songs in the Key of Life," Stevie Wonder; Tsukiyama: "Greatest Hits," Sly & The Family Stone; Del Negro: "Mozart Piano Concertos 17, 19, 21 & 25," Ambache Chamber Orchestra; Baron: "Live at the Acropolis," Yanni

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.