What’s New With Island Musicians

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - October 20, 2010
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Jeff Peterson

It’s not easy keeping up with musicians. There’s the travel, recording sessions, performances and, for most, a day job.

Here’s the latest on three busy musicians who are doing their part in keeping our local music scene thriving.

On slack key guitar is Jeff Peterson. The Maui-born, Grammy award-winning artist has collaborated with some of the best in the business as a songwriter, musician and producer. His latest solo album Maui On My Mind earned him the Slack Key Album of the Year at the 2010 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

His list of accomplishments include five solo albums, four collaborations with flutist Riley Lee and numerous compilation recordings. He’s performed with big name artists such as Eric Clapton, James Galway, Brian Stokes Mitchell,

Aaron Neville and Boz Scaggs.


His music has taken him to Europe, Asia, Australia and across the Mainland. On Oahu you can catch him in Michel’s Restaurant at the Colony Surf.

Just this month, Peterson put his songwriting, performing and producing skills to the test with the album Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii.

Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii

“I’ve worked with Amy for a number of years and done albums with her,” says Peterson. “And I’ve been on compilation albums with the slack key artists on this album, so my concept was to reach out to artists who inspired me to create music.”

The star-studded lineup represented on the album is Amy Hanaiali’i, Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi, Sonny Lim, Chino Montero, Steve Jones and Peterson. The album features an hour of new compositions and powerful new adaptations of classics.

“I wanted it to be a representation of the artists as performers, arrangers, composers and producers,” says Peterson. “It was a real ohana, and the idea was it to be a collaboration on a compilation. That’s the key element.”

To hear the album or for more information on his upcoming gigs, visit JeffPetersonGuitar.com. Or check out the CD release concert at The Venue at 7 p.m. tonight (Oct. 20).

Lending his talents on bass, Steve Jones has been a big part of the music scene for decades.

A lifelong resident of Hawaii, Jones has more than 38 years of experience as a professional musician, and more than 17 years as a professional recording engineer.

Since 1991 he has been working as a producer and recording engineer, and he is currently working with Bryan Kessler at Wire & Wood Music.

His resume also includes six years doing sound design and audio engineering for Pacific Resources for Education. He has offered his talent to more than 40 albums, including artists Cecilio & Kapono, Jake Shimabukuro, Keali’i Reichel, Matt Catingub and Raiatea Helm.

In 2004 he released his first solo recording, The Steve Jones Collective, Vol. 1. He also is the bassist and musical director for Amy Hanaiali’i.

Steve Jones

Expanding on his love for music and bass, Jones reached out into teaching and currently offers lessons.

“My whole approach is to help them get in touch as a musician,” says Jones. “I believe that expressing creativity is within us all and that includes music.

“The bass is a very supportive instrument and not a glamorous instrument,” says Jones. “It’s primal, with deep tones, and comes from the gut. What I do is encourage my students to get a broad perspective on music because that’s the only way to really understand music.”

For more on Jones, check out stevejonesbass.com.

We move on to drums. von Baron is one of Hawaii’s most talented, creative and educated drummers. He studied drums, percussion and music at the University of Missouri and Berklee College of Music. He studied classical, jazz and Brazilian music, which led the way to the new age music he plays today.

His two recent releases, Souljourner and Pangea, are a colorful palette of sounds. His discography dates back to 1997 and includes two albums with The Honolulu Jazz Quartet, two with Teresa Bright and others.

von Baron

Another album is in the works and Baron expects it to be completed by early 2011.

He also teaches private lessons and drum clinics in partnership with Easy Music Center Hawaii. He is a life skills coach, and uses his knowledge and passion for music to help others change their lives in radically positive ways.

“The process I teach is called Dream Setting, and the presentations I give are titled ‘You’re a Rockstar,’” says Baron. “I use music extensively in my presentations to groups of individuals and organizations. I begin every workshop with a drum solo, and refer back to the drums and various drumming techniques as examples of the Dream Setting process. I also incorporate fun, music-oriented activities throughout my presentations, such as air guitar solo contests, dancing and singing.”

The idea came about through self-reflection and a list of personal goals. It was a natural progression from growing his music base to understanding a more meaningful purpose in life.


“I started writing things down and came up with my own formula for success that allows us to be successful as individuals, while at the same time taking care of others and our planet,” adds Baron. “I knew that the power of goal setting was wholly neutral, so it could be used for selfish intent or for the greater good. I’ve always believed in relieving the suffering of others and working to make our world better than when I inherited it, so teaching Dream Setting was a natural evolution for me as a person.”

For more information, visit vonbaronmusic.com for more. Catch him live at Sarento’s at the Ilikai Oct. 21 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

 

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