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In addition to his regular gig as guitarist with musical parodist Weird Al Yankovicwhich requires him to cover a wide variety of guitar stylesKimo West is a Hawaiian slack-key guitar aficionado. His previous solo recording Guitar Stories (Westernmost Records, 2016) applied the finger-style playing technique with open tunings to an eclectic variety of material, accompanied by several supporting musicians. Here he stays closer to the slack-key tradition, playing solo with occasional support from shakuhachi flute and cello. Kimo's compositions are consistently lyrical and beautiful without being cloyingly "pretty."
The set achieves variety in several ways, by the different tunings employed (listed in the album notes), by the use of baritone guitar as well as regular guitar, by occasionally overdubbing a second guitar, and by contributions from guest musicians."Tide Pools" opens the album with a beautiful evocation of Hawaii's tide pools (in Drop C tuning). The title tune employs two baritone acoustic guitars (in the traditional Taro Patch tuning), evoking the calm feeling of the Hawaiian islands, surrounded by more water than any other place on Earth.
"My Old Island Home" features the first guest appearance, cellist Simone Vitucci, who also appeared on Guitar Stories. On this track West largely acts as an accompanist, but on "The Gentle Rain of Koali" the cello does not enter until about halfway in, and the two instruments engage in more of a duet. "Bamboo Forest" features the bamboo shakuhachi flute of George Abeappropriate to the titleand West plays a minimal accompanist role. Kimo's compositional approach is shown on "Hanalel River," a solo piece with several dramatic pauses. The closer "Mele Menehune -Acoustic Remix" revisits a piece from Guitar Stories. This arrangement, using a baritone guitar and a standard guitar, produces a big sound distinct from the rest of the tracks. In some ways he saved the best for last!
Track Listing: Tidepools; A'ole Pilikia - No Worries; Peaceful Island; Aloha, Ku'u Hoa; The Iwa Birds; My Old Island Home; Bamboo Forest; Hanalei River; The Glistening Ocean; The Gentle Rain of Koali; The Pathway of Pi'ilani; Mele Menehune - Acoustic Remix.
Personnel: Jim "Kimo" West: acoustic guitar, baritone acoustic guitar; George Abe: shakuhachi (7); Simone Vitucci: cello (6, 10).
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!