Sol Hoopii

Classic Hawaiian Steel Guitar 1933-1934

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A very influential Hawaiian steel guitarist in the 1920s and '30s, Sol Hoopii considered himself a jazz and blues player rather than a Hawaiian stylist. His recorded solos in 1925 put him at the beginning of the jazz guitar's evolution on record along with Eddie Lang. Although not often cited as an influence, when one hears his records, it becomes obvious that he greatly influenced the steel guitarists of Western swing in the 1930s and '40s. During 1933-1934, Hoopii made his last recordings on acoustic steel guitar before permanently switching to electric steel guitar in 1935. All 24 of the formerly very rare selections from those sessions are on this very well-conceived set which has extensive and colorful liner notes. Featured in a quartet with guitar, ukulele and bass, Hoopii takes some of the Hawaiian vocals that are heard on the majority of these selections although there are occasional instrumentals. While the repertoire is mostly outside of jazz (best known are Irving Berlin's "An Orange Grove in California," "I Like You," and "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakeekua") with "Lady Be Good" being the only jazz standard, the guitar solos are impressive throughout and the music swings. Hoopii deserves to be much better known.

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