Some of hottest, most innovative bands can be found at the most innocuous of places. Right across from the Blaisdell Center in the heart of Honolulu, where all the big box office names go to perform, sits a fairly non-descript building, home of the Musicians Association of Hawaii. Musicians of all kinds go there for union business.
Somewhere along the way, they’d start bringing their instruments to compare or ask about fixing. One thing lead to another and soon, the musicians union became the hottest ticket in town for serious live jazz, as convenience gave way to creative invention and the never-ending urge to collaborate. A commercial high-rise soon went up right next to the original building, and the musicians union claimed the ground floor for its studio recording needs.
Now known as Studio 909, the venue with the great acoustics is regularly home to visiting and local artists of the highest caliber (John and Gerald Clayton take the stage March 30). Coming up this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. is the Honolulu Jazz Quartet, featuring the highly collaborative elements of straight-ahead jazz, a little modern post-bop influence, a little island style, and some original blues. Every musician in this nationally recognized band — bassist John Kolivas, pianist Dan Del Negro, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama, and drummer Von Baron — holds his own, compositionally and stylistically as guests will soon see.
First-call bassist John Kolivas has a gift for song composition, as evidenced throughout past hit albums. His local voice plays throughout the works of HJQ’s “Sounds Of The City,” “Tenacity,” and most recently, “Honolulu Jazz Quartet – Remembrance / Live at the Triple Door,” especially a vocalized version of a 2001 instrumental inspired by 9/11, sung by Anita Hall and lyrics written by his brother Robert Pennybacker.
“Anita Hall’s haunting rendition of ‘Remembrance’ remains true to the song’s original intent — an homage to those who lost their lives on September 11th,” Pennybacker described. “But with the passage of a decade[-plus] since 9-11 and the birth of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet, the song also takes on a broader meaning — a heartfelt remembrance of and appreciation for all things past.”
In a July 20, 2011 gig at Aloha Tower Marketplace-Gordon Biersch, the Honolulu Jazz Quartet celebrated those 10 years together with a well-attended CD release party, a milestone indeed in a world where longevity is unheard of.
The Honolulu Jazz Quartet’s March 9th show is sure to turn into a jam session to remember. Musicians tend to gravitate toward this place in droves. You never know who might show up to sit in. Studio 909 is on 909 Kapiolani Blvd. in Honolulu. Tickets are $20 online and at the door. Call (808) 596-2121 for more info.