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Honolulu Jazz Quartet gives aloha to John Coltrane

The late, great saxophonist John Coltrane held a special connection to Hawaii during his formative years. He joined the Navy barely 19 on August 6, 1945, the same day as Hiroshima. Shortly after the end of World War II, he was stationed on Oahu, playing in the black Navy band, the Melody Masters.

The critically acclaimed Honolulu Jazz Quartet will give some aloha to the late John Coltrane in a special musical tribute, July 14th, at the Kahala Hotel & Resort’s Veranda Lounge three days after the anniversary of his death.
Photo courtesy of Kahala Hotel and Resort

Coltrane would continue as a civilian musician, making his fame out in the rest of the world with other, more famous bands. The Honolulu Jazz Quartet — led by bassist John Kolivas — will pay its respects to “Trane” in a special, July 14th concert at Honolulu’s five-star Kahala Hotel & Resort, in the Veranda Lounge by the Pacific Ocean.

As a relatively young band, HJQ’s released only three major albums, including its first live album, recorded at Seattle’s Triple Door. But what the musicians have recorded thus far is all original, head and shoulders above most hard-bopping instrumentals. Bandleader Kolivas, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama, pianist Dan Del Negro, and drummer von Baron are known for putting together a solid show, respectful of the jazz genre but enormously creative in the interplay and solos, with a distinct island vibe representing their Hawaii ties. Critics from far and wide love HJQ’s self-produced, island-jazz music.

Jazz Society Of Oregon’s George Fendel wrote of Tenacity May 2007: “Kolivas’s title tune, ‘Tenacity,’ gives Tsukiyama and Del Negro a chance to test their bop chops at high velocity. For contrast, try ‘The Indians,’ a very lovely ballad featuring Tsukiyama’s tenor. Kolivas also contributed a blues, ‘The Keez Is In The Car.’ Could that title be a salute to pianist Geoff Keezer? ‘Chillin’ At The Club’ once again features Tsukiyama’s mellow tenor, a sound I much preferred over his soprano work.”

Sheldon T. Nunn of went for Sounds Of The City May 12, 2004: “With a sound that ebbs and flows from one track to the other like the tropical breezes of Hawaii, listeners cannot help but get turned on by these four superb musicians. When getting down to the gist of what jazz is all about, it is a group of guys just having fun with one another. … The chemistry between these guys is quite compelling, inasmuch as they appear to be a finely-tuned jazz activated sound energy ray of excitement. John Kolivas, pianist Dan Del Negro, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama and drummer Adam Baron have had the good fortune of playing collectively together for a considerable amount of time. It definitely shows in their approach to Sounds Of The City.”

When HJQ’s first album, Sounds Of The City, came out in March 2004, the album reached #44 on JazzWeek’s Top 50 charts, tied with Norah Jones. That’s big time.

So this band’s more than capable of covering John Coltrane’s illustrious career, from bebop to hard bop, to modal, free jazz. They’ll take the stage July 14th — three days before the anniversary of Coltrane’s passing — for a 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. show. Call (808) 739-8888.

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