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Island Mele
Friday, March 3, 2000

By John Berger


Todd does great work
in ‘White Lotus’


Bullet White Lotus:
By Johnny Todd (Endoù 71050-2)

PIANIST Johnny Todd is best known for his three decades as Don Ho's musical director. "White Lotus" proves Todd fully a jazz headliner in his own right. The album will certainly stand as one of the best jazz instrumental albums recorded in recent years by a Hawaii resident. This is beautiful romantic music from start to finish.

Todd gets excellent support from John Kolivas (bass) and Sonny Froman (drums). The trio eschews synthetics and maintains a smooth acoustic ambience throughout. Whether reworking jazz and pop standards or introducing original tunes, Todd does great work.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Sacramento Seranade
Bullet Going Home Blues
Bullet If I Were A Bell
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



Bullet You Will See:
By Na Kane Nui (Way Out West Enterprises - WOWCD2001)

A Jawaiian remake of Eddy Arnold's 1965 hit, "Make The World Go Away," sets the tone of Na Kane Nui's second album, but the group turns out to favor originals and other new music over Jawaiianized remakes. Some of band member Kurt Kipapa's seven originals are Jawaiian but "La Elima," a song honoring Miloli'i, finds him fully in touch with his Hawaiian heritage.

Others find him expressing his love of family and the Waianae coast. One honors the late Rell Sunn.

Producer "Radical Rob" Onekea shares credit with Luisa Finau for "Pule Kakou," a harder English-language, Caribbean-beat nationalist anthem. Onekea reinforced the core trio -- Kipapa (ukulele), Kaleo Keli'ikoa (bass) and Herman Cosier (guitar) -- with four studio musicians. The core trio's unpretentious grass roots emotion and spirit remain intact. or

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Make The World Go Away
Bullet Pule Kakou
Bullet La Elima
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



Bullet Requests:
By Leabert Lindsey & His Hapalaka Band (no label HLP003)

LEABERT Lindsey and his band sound like a competent hotel bar band but this album is mediocre even as a tourist souvenir. Lindsey's rendition of "Akaka Falls" is nicely sung but no information is provided on the meaning or significance of any of the songs, not even if any are originals.

Misidentifying Roy Orbison's 1963 hit, "Blue Bayou" as "Blue By You" is one of several errors that make this album an embarrassment to the local record industry.

No contact info.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Akaka Falls
Bullet He Aloha Mele
Bullet Blue Bayou
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

See Record Reviews for some 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 Today
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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