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KEN & BOB

ESCAPE TO JAZZ ISLAND

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Grass Skirt (GSK1004)

Grass Skirt don't release CDs very often but when they do they are always worthy of your attention. And this one is no exception, a delightful combination of two gifted musician whose love of what they play is infectious.

Ken & Bob are Ken ‘Lopaka' Emerson, a renowned and award winning Hawaiian guitarist, and Robert Armstrong, a founder member of the Cheap Suit Serenaders. Together they have combined their talents to come up with this superb 15 track album, full of magnificently intricate instrumentation, breezy songs and good humour.

Not surprisingly, given their musical backgrounds, the emphasis is on Hawaiian sounds but it interspersed with jazz and popular songs (of the Tin Pan Alley variety), whereby they share vocal duties and move effortlessly between guitars, ukuleles and steel guitars. Occasional help is provided by David Paquette (piano and vocals) and Elaine Hoffman (vocals) but it is pretty much just Ken and Bob most of the way.

All of it is just so darned marvellous and quite how they can have so much fun while concentrating on sustaining the quality of their playing defeats me. If you enjoy this half as much as they seem to have done in recording it, you are in for a treat. Not to be missed.

Review Date: June 2012

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