Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, March 12, 1999

Crandall Trio rewards
jazz audiences

"Till Further Notice": Rich Crandall Trio, Music Formats

Rich Crandall follows his 1995 album, "CCDDSoothsayer" with another impressive collection of "piano sketches." Some are bluesy solo journeys. Most use Steve Jones (bass) and Rory Flores (drums). Whether caressing a tune solo or working it out with Jones and Flores, Crandall does excellent work.

Crandall uses no synthetic filler. The natural space between the notes adds organic soulful undercurrents and a smooth sophisticated ambience. Jazz fans will find him once again well worth a spin.

"Plain Brown Wrapper": Gregg Hammer, Neos Productions

Gregg Hammer's 1996 cassette, "Caught In The Act," fell far short of his on-air work with Rory Wild and Shilynne Cole at I-94. It was like almost every other recent local comedy album in rehashing ideas and characters invented by Booga Booga in the 1970s. His second effort is slightly better.

Hammer plumbs Frank DeLima material with two song parodies, "Johnny Mahu" and "Hana Bata," but his best bits are spoofs of late-night commercials. "Peanuts Videos" and "Dr. Seuss Books" show commendable imagination but the homosexual kumu hula and "auntie" characters are stale.

"Guava Skies": Jeff K, Kamananui

Jeff Kloetzel won a spot on "Homegrown '97" with a carefree yet subtly risque song, "Piko Baby" (Piko is often translated as "navel" but can also refer to genitals). His album has the same clean acoustic rock sound.

Lost love is a recurring subject. "Number On Me" and "Lonely Heart" tell of a woman who loved him and left him without explanation. "Nothing Works" frames a similar scenario more humorously.

Love of Hawaii is another theme. "Ancient Water Flow" bemoans the ugliness inflicted by excessive development. "Guava Skies" mourns time away from Hawaii, while "Waimanalo On My Mind" localizes James Taylor's classic.

See Record Reviews for some of John Berger's past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Home Zone
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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