FOUR HANDS SWEET AND HOT:
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Reviews for FOUR HANDS SWEET AND HOT
Bob's work in Hawaii
Dancing Cat continues its series of pure slack key and acoustic steel guitar duets with the first CD to bring Bob Brozman together with Hawaiian slack key master Cyril Pahinui, son of the late, great Gabby Pahinui. This unique album showcases the considerable improvisational talents of both artists in a variety of songs, tunings and tempos. Featured are classic pieces from one of Bob's areas of expertise, Hawaii in the 1920s, and those that have inspired Cyril, particularly from the 1940s and 1950s.
Meeting and playing with Cyril has been an enriching experience for Bob, who describes the fascinating difference in approach between Cyril and fellow slack key master, Led Kaapana, with whom Bob has recorded KIKA KILA MEETS KI HO'ALU (1997) and IN THE SADDLE (2001), both also part of Dancing Cat's slack key & steel series. "Cyril really wanted the melodies to be correct, and was very patient in teaching them to me," Bob observes. "Led takes a more improvisatory approach, over the underlying harmony. The harmony employed by Cyril is a little more modern than Led's, while Led's rhythmic variations expand the limits of slack key just a little more."
The most obvious difference is Led's slack key thumb rhythm as compared to Cyril's Latin-American thumb rhythm. Most slack key players, including Led, place their thumbstrokes on the straight or swung quarter-notes. Cyril constantly syncopates his thumbstrokes, usually on beats 1, 2½, and 4 of a 4-beat measure, which sets up many polyrhythmic possibilities of 3-over-2 or 3-over-4. In waltz time, this thumb style allows the African-to-Latin-American 6/8 feeling over ¾, which is what many native colonized people did to the European waltz (for an example, check out track 12, "Wai'alae").
Another feature of FOUR HANDS is the debut of two new instruments, both designed by Bob to expand the range of traditional instruments. First is the extra short-scale Kona Rocket, which Bob designed with Bill Hardin of Bear Creek Guitars. It is tuned a fourth (five frets) higher than normal, and this high tension yields a singing tone. Second is the Santa Cruz Brozman Baritone guitar, designed by Bob for Santa Cruz Guitars to have a longer scale length than normal, and hence it is tuned lower in pitch, perfect for slack key. Cyril can be heard playing this guitar on several tracks, and Bob and Led both use it on IN THE SADDLE.
This album is the fruit of Cyril and Bob's first series of meetings. A labor of love and mutual respect, of risk taking and stretching out, it conveys the pure joy of music.
Praise for FOUR HANDS SWEET AND HOT:
"captures both beautiful playing and good vibes - a real treat."
- GUITAR PLAYER
"Very powerful, beautiful, and expressive music…If you have any interest in acoustic guitar music, you have to pick up this album."
- DOWNEAST RECORD & CD REVIEW
"this thoroughly sublime hothouse flower of a guitar record…is so good it'll induce goose bumps."
"I still can't get FOUR HANDS SWEET & HOT out of my CD player…Give it a listen; you won't be disappointed."
- EPULSE MAGAZINE
"Dazzling technique from, and exquisite interplay between, two superb guitar players makes this album a real treat."
- DIRTY LINEN