Matt Catingub (a.k.a. Big Kahuna) is out to give his audiences world-class swing from a special place where the music resonates in a tropical atmosphere. HAWAIIAN SWING, a 17-track CD from Concord Jazz, is magical from the word “jump.” Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack cover top flight jazz tunes from that magical Swing Era, artfully mixing the “Aloha spirit” with “neo-swing.” The set bristles from the combination of Hawaiian pop tunes or “hapa-haole” songs as they are called, with elements of West Coast big band and new jump swing to form a new danceable hybrid of swing. The influence of the legendary Dizzy Gillespie and Louie Bellson is also readily apparent on HAWAIIAN SWING. With over twenty years of experience performing and leading, Big Kahuna presides with excellence. The compelling syncopation of his 12-piece band is exciting and a quality asset to Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night In Tunisia.” Especially noteworthy is the horn section and the tight rhythm section on this track. Mike Olmos on trumpet and Steve Morretti on drums deliver outstanding solos. Catingub pays homage to great jazz vocalists, Rosemary Clooney with “Come On-A My House,” and Ella Fitzgerald on “A-Tisket A-Tasket.” His vocal phrasings on the opening track and the bands background vocals are energetic and jump with the same fire and excitement as his big band. The hapa-haole tunes, “The Hukilau Song,” “Pearly Shells” and “Blue Hawaii,” feature Catingub vocals, piano and alto sax in an imaginative display of talent, joy and the hippest new sound in swing musicS. HAWAIIAN SWING is top-notch with Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack earning their “big-time” world-class swing stripes.
Tracks: Come On-A My House; A-Tisket A-Tasket; Don't Be That Way/Stompin' At The Savoy Medley; The Hukilau Song; Pearly Shells; In The Copa Room; Every Day I Have The Blues; Night In Tunisia; After Hours; Blue Hawaii; Love You Madly; Them There Eyes; Smiles/When You're Smilin' Medley; Doncha Go Away Mad; I'll Remember You; Come On-A My House (Instrumental Reprise); Hawaiian War Chant
Musicians: Matt Catingub - "Big Kahuna," arranger, vocals, alto sax, piano; The Copa Cat Pack is: Chris Pearson - alto sax; Chad Hollingsworth - alto sax; David Wells-tenor sax; Jennifer Lovejoy-baritone sax; Dave Scott-lead trumpet; Jason Ravina-trumpet; Mike Olmos-trumpet; Doug Beavers-trombone; David Blacker-trombone; Dan Parenti-rhythm bass; Steve Moretti-drums; Linda Harmon-vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.