Island Mele


POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009

”;... With Aloha”;

(PK Records Hawai'i)

; Maybe Pali T.W. Ka'aihue is an optimist. Maybe he possesses some special information regarding the economy. At a time when many local recording artists are cutting back on recordings or producing download-only releases, he and his namesake group have released a beautifully packaged double album that contains 25 Hawaiian and hapa haole songs, complete with an illustrated 12-page liner notes booklet. What's more, it sells for the cost of a regular single CD.

Disc One opens with a crisp rendition of “;'Ulupalakua.”; From there it continues on with 12 more newly recorded selections, most of them perfect for hula.

The group pays tribute to King Kalakaua and the Sunday Manoa with its arrangement of “;Kawika,”; and they also personalize it with a new instrumental introduction.

“;Hanalei Moon,”; “;E Huli Makou”; and “;Noho Paipai”; honor other island musical traditions and acclaimed composers. The group's arrangement of “;Walked Into Waikiki,”; which includes a harmonica as well as the usual hapa haole instruments, could further familiarize Hawaiian music fans with this relatively recent composition. “;Keli'i Slack Key”; features Ka'aihue as composer and guitarist on a brisk yet soothing instrumental requiem to a departed friend.

The group steps outside their repertoire with “;Shima Uta”; and “;Mirsirlou.”; The first, an Okinawan song, adds an international dimension to the collection. The second gives Ka'aihue and his guys a chance to rock.

Disc Two adds value for audiences with selections from the group's first two albums. Some are reprised in “;live”; recordings, others in new mixes. “;All Day Music”; provides another sample of the group's pop repertoire, and their recording of “;Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua,”; with special guest Genoa Keawe on lead vocals, shares a treasured memory.


;» “Ulupalakua”
;» “Walked Into Waikiki”
;» “Hanalei Moon”

”;East of the Sun, West of the Moon”;

Henry Kaleialoha Allen

; Who knew that guitarist Harry Allen informally rolled tape at some of his special performances? This, his fourth “;live”; album, was recorded during a private concert at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Feb. 5, 1999, when Allen and his musicians were joined on a track or two by sax master Gabe Baltazar. That makes this archival collection of possible interest to Baltazar fans as well.

Allen introduces himself as a vocalist and guitarist with the title track. His guitar licks are smooth and melodic, and his voice has a well-worn feel that shades lyrics with the authority that comes from years of life experience.

Instrumental arrangements of “;Wendy”; and “;The Nearness of You”; display the talents of his band. The interplay between Allen and his pianist on the latter is particularly nice. Unfortunately, the pianist's name, and that of the other band members, isn't included in the liner notes.


;» “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”
;» “Days of Wine and Roses”
;» “Wave”

”;The Different Flavors of Alex B.”;

Alex Briguglio

; Sax and flute are Alex Briguglio's instruments of choice for exploring different genres of contemporary instrumental jazz. Briguglio plays piano and several of its electronic relatives as well, but on a project of this scale wisely enlisted several talented artists—including Bruce Hamada and Andrew Sexton—as guests on various tracks.

“;Summertime”; is a good benchmark for comparing Briguglio's approach to other versions. He does justice to the number, opting for an uptempo arrangement that offers enough space for his sidemen to also groove.

“;Meditation”; shows off his touch as a fl utist, with Aaron Aranita (piano), Ernie Provencher (bass) and Chuck James (drums) adding well-crafted accents behind him.

There should always be room for another jazz musician in the local recording scene. Briguglio's album positions him as one worth hearing.

- no contact information -

;» “Instrumental Magic”
;» “En La Noche (In the Night)”
;» “Do What’s Right”