Honokaa Jazz Band releases CD amid pandemic

  • The 2019-20 Honokaa Jazz Band — in spite of the pandemic, and with in only three days to rehearse and record — has released its 18th CD “Honokaa Jazz BAND-emic." (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • The ever-talented students of Honoka’a Jazz Band, led by music guru Gary Washburn, have overcome COVID-19 restrictions to produce their 20th annual CD, and prove the show must go on. Courtesy photos

The 2019-20 Honokaa Jazz Band — in spite of the pandemic, and with in only three days to rehearse and record — has released its 18th CD.

After the end of the school year, recording band members produced “Honokaa Jazz BAND-emic,” spotlighting a variety of music from 1960 to 2020.

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The new album includes 12 songs, such as Beyonce’s “Halo” and Ray Charles’ “Drown in My Own Tears,” both featuring Kaylynn Iona, and Lawrence’s “Probably Up” featuring Kelson Pedro. Special recognition goes out to Saja Lee, who mastered the bass in one year, to Michael Dale who performs all of the piano solos, and to up and coming vocalist Kalei Aikau-Akau.

Joshua Candelario and Gabriel Domingo hold down the numerous Tenor Sax solos and Chico Joaquin’s performance of Gatemouth Brown’s “Okie Dokie Stomp” is outstanding. Jonah Villanueva performs his interpretation of “Hallelujah, I Just Love Her So,” and also shows his vocal and guitar talent on Santana’s song “Smooth,” and the Johnny Nicholas tune, ”Rain Down Tears.”

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The CD reflects the influence of touring with Johnny Nicholas, Bruce Hughes and John Chipman, musicians from Austin, Texas, who for the last five years have volunteered their time and talent to work with Honokaa students, helping them understand the Texas-Louisiana blues style.

To obtain a copy of “Honokaa Jazz BAND-emic,” contact Gary Washburn gary.washburn@k12.hi.us.

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