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Matt Catingub's musical talents arise from a familiar base. His mother Mavis Rivers made quite a splash as a renowned singer and recording artist. Music fans in Hawaii are quite familiar with Catingub's band, labeled Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack. Despite that unwieldy moniker, the group performs with a distinct flair and a friendly nod to the big bands of the '30s and '40s.
Youthful enthusiasm rules and that's powerfully put across in the new album, Shake Those Hula Hips! With a dynamic collection of 14 mostly up-tempo tunes, Catingub leads his youthful musicians with bountiful enthusiasm that should cause furious foot tapping whenever this CD takes over the turntable. Most of the tracks time out between three and just over four minutes. If a song doesn't do it for you, just wait a minute, there's another one coming.
The 11 musicians are led through their paces by Catingub, who also sings, plays alto sax and piano. Knowing that a full diet of instrumentals tends to make listener ears stray, the album wisely includes two vocals. Rosemary Clooney, who works often on the road with Catingub's assembly, does a superb (but isn't she always?) version of the old Ziggy Elman/Johnny Mercer hit, And the Angels Sing.
Clooney's daughter-in-law Debby Boone (whose monster hit in the '70s was "You Light Up My Life," contributes a novelty ditty called "Princess Poo-Poo-ly Has Plenty Papaya." The song won't win awards for Ms. Boone, but it's done in fun.
Track Listing: Hawaii Five-0, Fever, Ain't No Big Thing, Avalon, Hey Baby! (Shake Those Hula Hips), It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Princess Poo-Poo-ly Has Plenty Papaya,I Dream of Jeanie, And the Angels Sing, Waikiki, In the Mood, Little Grass Shack, It Was a Very Good Year, Tequila.
Personnel: Matt Catinbug, leader, vocals, alto sax, piano; Albert Alva, alto sax; Jeff Prinz, alto sax; Matt Cowan, tenor sax; Jennifer Love-Joy, baritone sax; Dave Scott, lead trumpet; Brian Kettelhut, trumpet; Mike Olmos, trumpet; Doug Beavers, lead trombone; Greg Saul, trombone; Dan Parentti, acoustic bass; Steve Moretti, drums.