Live In Hawaii
Review by Willard Manus

There are no grass skirts or strumming ukeleles in LIVE IN HAWAII, just four straight-ahead jazz musicians playing at the top of their form at the Atherton Performing Arts Studio in Honolulu. The session, recorded for broadcast over Hawaii Public Radio, was led by guitarist Doug MacDonald and featured such top-notch musicians as Noel Okimoto (vibes), Dean Taba (bass) and Darryl Pellegrini (drums).

The foursome, all of whom have roots in Hawaii, play well together as they investigate such standards as “My Shining Hour,” Blues in the Closet” and “Lester Leaps In.” Then they get into a Latin groove as they bring to life two original tunes by MacDonald, “Cat City Samba” and “Bossa Don.”

LIVE IN HAWAII is joyous and infectious from beginning to end, thanks to the skill and high spirits of the musicians. Credit MacDonald with putting together an excellent band, one that rose to the occasion in Honolulu and recorded a remarkable album.