Island Mele


POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

”;Out Of The Blue”;

Dave Young Band
(Dave Young)

; It takes self-confidence to put out an album in Hawaii these days. Spending is down and single-song downloads are on the rise. On the other hand, a complete CD is more impressive as a new artist's calling card than a click-on address for downloads.

Musical careers were launched during the Great Depression, so why not now?

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Young takes that leap of faith with DYB members Brad Choi (drums/percussion), Jack Frutchey (lead guitar) and Eldon Nakama (bass guitar), and studio guests John Vogler (backing vocals) and Reuben Durham (keyboards).

The sound is mainstream acoustic rock but with the emphasis on Young's lyrics. “;Out Of The Blue,”; no relation to Debbie Gibson's 1988 hit, is the first of several selections that collectively describe the ups and downs of love, from infatuation to disillusionment. Romantics will relate.

“;On My Feet”; expresses a survivor's attitude. Whether dealing with people who'll shortchange him at the market or surviving dysfunctional relationships, he intends to always “;get up on my feet again.”; In times like these, that counts as a victory.

With “;Give Me My Paradise,”; Young concludes that there's no place like Hawaii. Hawaii's visitor industry leaders should jump on it as the theme of their next media campaign!



;» “Out Of The Blue”
;» “In The Middle”
;» “Give Me My Paradise”

”;Hawaiian Jazz—Relaxed & Slow”;

Stephen Jones & Bryan Kessler
(Wire & Wood Music)

; Steve Jones has a well-earned reputation as one of Hawaii's foremost jazz bassists. His latest collaboration with guitarist Bryan Kessler sounds on first take like a commercially commissioned project, but as co-leaders of an all-star studio group—Noel Okimoto, Dan Del Negro, Jeff Au Hoy, Jeff Peterson—they pull it off.

Want background music with a jazz/hapa haole vibe? Here it is, but lend an ear to the arrangements. This ain't muzak.

“;Hanalei Moon,”; Bob Nelson's classic hapa haole composition, is given a light Hawaiian pop spin, with guitar, ukulele and steel guitar sharing the spotlight. Jones' bass up front plays on a swinging retro version of “;Swingtime In Honolulu”; and “;Pa'ani Walk,”; an original.

“;E Maliu Mai”; is given a bit more swing than Irmgard Farden Aluli may have envisioned when she wrote it, but the piece has a nice feel. The musical legacy of the Farden family is also present in a romantic revival of Randolph Farden's mid-60s hit, “;Beautiful Kauai.”;

Kessler and Jones break format with “;Moon River”; and “;Over The Rainbow.”; The two pop hits are nicely done but would fit better on another album.



;» “Hanalei Moon”
;» “Crushed Flowers In My Lei”
;» “E Maliu Mai”

”;Tropic Rhapsody”;

Teresa Bright
(Teresa Bright Productions)

; No one of her generation is better than Teresa Bright at infusing hapa-haole classics with a seductive jazz vibe, and she has never done it better than with this collection of 12 Hawaiian and hapa-haole standards.

Working with an all-star jazz sextet and a live string quartet, she puts her personal stamp on a cross-section of island standards that include “;Sweet Leilani,”; “;Hanalei Moon”; and “;Beyond The Reef.”; The one song that doesn't have island roots—“;Red Sails In The Sunset”;—fits perfectly.

Bright completes her perfect Grammy Award-worthy album with concise liner notes and photos from her family archives.



;» “I’ll Weave A Lei Of Stars For You”
;» “Silhouette Hula”
;» “Kaimana Hila”

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