Matt Catingub conducts his orchestra at practice last week. Catingub's "Return to Romance" concert series runs through March 11.
Ruminations on love
Kenny Loggins returns to the isles to collaborate with conductor Matt Catingub in his "Return to Romance"
A good workman respects his tools. And Kenny Loggins' tools are well-crafted love songs. They've served him well over the years. In fact, one of his first love songs, written as a teenager, is called "A Love Song." Anne Murray had a hit out of it.
Return to Romance
The closing concert features Natalie Cole, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald and Ruben Studdard, but 10 days of events precede that finale. The highlights:
Thursday: Opening ceremonies, 5:30 p.m. at Iolani Palace. Free. The 40-piece Matt Catingub Orchestra of Hawaii and guests perform a sampling of romantic songs. You can also renew your wedding vows.
Friday: "Romantic Jazz," 8:30 p.m., Kahala Hotel & Resort and the Halekulani. Call 923-2311. Catingub and guest vocalists Deborah Lippmann and Loretta Ables will sit in with various trios playing cocktail jazz.
Sunday: "A Smooth Romance," 7 p.m., Waikiki Shell. Patti Austin, Wayman Tisdale, Kirk Whalum, Peanuts Whalum and others join the Matt Catingub Orchestra.
Monday: "Romantic Jazz," 6 p.m., Kahala Resort. Call 739-8888. Lippmann rejoins Catingub's jazz trio.
March 8: "The Most Romantic Songs Ever Written, Part 1," 7:30 p.m., Hawaii Theatre. Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lucie Arnaz, and Nick and Nina Clooney interpret the classics.
March 9: "Return to Romance -- the CD," 7 p.m., Waikiki Shell. The live debut of the "Return to Romance" album.
March 11: "The Rhythm of Romance: From Motown to Nashville to Hollywood to Oahu," 7 p.m., Blaisdell Arena. A finale that includes Cole, Loggins, McDonald and "American Idol" Studdard.
Tickets are $45 to $75 per concert, available at Ticketmaster locations, the Blaisdell box office and the Hawaii Theatre. Call 591-2211.
And so Loggins is a natural to participate in Matt Catingub's "Return to Romance" extravaganza, with Michael McDonald.
"I got invited," Loggins explains from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. "I'm looking forward to it. Matt and I did a symphony thing a few years back. He wrote some charts for me. ...
"We're probably doing three or four of my tunes and then a couple with Michael. Michael and I co-wrote 'What a Fool Believes' and 'Heart to Heart' and 'This Is It,' and we try to do those together when we can."
Loggins is a fan of Catingub's arranging skills. As he plays more symphony dates around the country, Loggins is compiling a quiver full of orchestral arrangements.
But he's not just sitting on old tunes.
"I just released a new record yesterday. It's a new CD called 'How About Now?' It's all new material and it's exclusively with Target." (In Target-less Hawaii, it can be ordered online at www.target.com.)
Speaking of Hawaii connections ...
"Jimmy Messina and I? We just did that one summer reunion last year. I used to get out to Hawaii a lot. I had a house on the North Shore of the Big Island that I built, and we had that for eight, nine years.
"I now live in Santa Barbara. I just sort of landed there in '73, and then marriages and children and all that stuff that happens. The kids are in school, so that's pretty much where I stay."
So -- you have a notebook full of tunes?
"I wish! There's nothing much to fall back on after all this time ..." -- sigh -- "Now, the new material is very present tense."
Where's the love? Why is it such an integral part of music?
"Well, I think that's one of the things most pop music does. Sooner or later you're gonna dwell on that part of the process of life. And there's plenty of material -- you just have to keep yourself open to the possibilities."
COURTESY JENSEN COMMUNICATIONS
Kenny Loggins will participate in the grand finale of Matt Catingub's "Return to Romance." Joining Loggins, Natalie Cole and Catingub are Ruben Studdard and Michael McDonald. On opposite page.
COURTESY THE VERVE MUSIC GROUP
Natalie Cole also participate in the grand finale.