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Tenacity Review

by Paula Edelstein

With Tenacity, the Honolulu Jazz Quartet offers a robust set of original compositions that interpret many of the group's personal experiences and current musical direction. Bassist and group leader John Kolivas is a key developer of the ensemble's technique and style and on this follow-up release to Sounds of the City he incites a tenacious groove that HJQ fans are sure to enjoy. The title track, written by Kolivas, opens the set and is a tribute to his mother. The music is very deep and dramatic and gives the listener a vivid impression of the resolve Kolivas' mother has since a dire medical condition left her speechless. "Real Old Style," (arranged as a jazz waltz) is a great contemporary update of the style of music which Keola Beamer has written about his grandfather. Beamer, a highly revered Hawaiian slack key guitarist/vocalist, provided a preconceived amount of musical information that is transformed by the spontaneous creativity of the individual musicians and by the interaction of the group. In between, the CD is ripe with several songs that turn the band loose on extended improvisations, including "Honolulu Hang," and "The Keez Is in the Car." However, of the many HJQ influences that have given rise to their sound, "Wayne's Bounce," has obviously left a lasting impression on the band's compositional skills. Based on the chord changes to Wayne Shorter's hit composition "Footprints," Kolivas fused in the 'tricky groove" used by trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard on his rendition of Shorter's work. The result is a memorable melody that stays with you long after the song has ended. The record ends with a tribute to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. On "Are We There Yet?" the band reveals their brilliant sense of timing, rhythmic, and dynamic strengths on what they describe as "compressed sound bytes of the 1960s idealisms." Whether playing under the influence of Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis or John Coltrane, or simply interpreting arrangements of their original sound for their adoring fans, Tenacity provides a great musical journey for HJQ fans and the incentive to keep them listening for years to come.

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