Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Master of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar
Genre: World Music
Sol Hoopii's music is where traditional Hawaiian music meets American jazz. This collection of recordings, dating from 1926 to 1930, includes "Twelfth Street Rag," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "St. Louis Blues," and other standar... more »
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Sol Hoopii's music is where traditional Hawaiian music meets American jazz. This collection of recordings, dating from 1926 to 1930, includes "Twelfth Street Rag," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "St. Louis Blues," and other standards of early American jazz, as well as a number of Hawaiian tunes. His sophistication, swing, and chops are a wonder to behold -- this music defies category, and you don't even have to be a fan of Hawaiian guitar to love this recording.
Hawaiian Swing of the highest order
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 05/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If there is one great yet unfortunately too unknown revolutionary guitarist in the popular history of early 20th Century American music, it's Sol Hoopii. I remember one time I was in a music discussion with someone and they said something along the lines of "the guitar was nothing but a clunky backing instrument until Charlie Christian came along".... to which I was at first shocked that someone would say something as stupid as that... and then I just felt sorry for this poor guy for not knowing any better. Sol's playing is a marvel of lyrical soloing. This isn't some guy just chunka-chunka-chunkaing his way through songs. Sol could flat-out PLAY! Charlie was maybe 11-15-years-old when Sol recorded the sides included here. Pick this disc up and then tell me there were no brilliant guitarists/soloists before CC.His playing is so lyrical and his touch and National tone are so fantastic that it almost makes you take him for granted. He can make you forget where American popular music was actually at, at that time. You could say he just melded string-swing and Hawaiian music together, which is to some degree true, but that would be to forget that at this time of his earliest recordings here (1926) string-swing wasn't a deeply established style. Sol was one of those at the forefront of this new music. Think about it... this is when Lonnie Johnson and Eddie Lang were recording their landmark string-swing duos... this is when the Venuti & Lang band(s) were starting to light things up. The Quintet of the Hot Club of France and Oscar Aleman weren't even a glimmer in the eye of the music scene of 1930, yet that is when the very latest side on this disc was recorded.As for Sol's music itself, it may almost be what I'd consider "high-art kitsch". There is an inherent goofyness to some of it, but I do not mean that disparagingly. This is absolutely not the Hawaiian cowboy music that is Hawaiian slack-key guitar. This is more along the lines of what mainstream America thinks of as Hawaiian music... yet it is still so much heavier and deeper than the fluff you hear being played every time someone on tv gets off of an airplane in Hawaii. Quite a few of the tunes here are slow, drifting melodies that allow Sol's tone to just open up and float out of the speakers. His touch was amazing. At times I think of his playing like this... imagine a singer with an amazing voice, but she/he is drunk and kind of slurring their words. That's how Sol plays (I don't mean he was a drinker though, I don't know anything about him as a person). His notes just hang there and relate so well to the previous and next notes. Gorgeously articulated slurring might be how I'd describe his style of playing.Beyond this, maybe the highest praise I can give him is that I had never really liked I Ain't Got Nobody at all until I heard his version, which I absolutely love."
Jeff Rutsch | Oakland, CA United States | 03/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a fan of both old Blues music from the 30's and more modern Hawaiian guitarists, and this album was great on either level. His instrumental performances of 30's standards are unique, and his Hawaiian songs are really fun - I prefer his "Sweet Lei Lehua" even to Gabby Pahinui's take at the song, with the Sons of Hawai'i. A very skilled guitarist and a wonderful album."
Mommy Kind | Seattle, WA USA | 06/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album has a cheerful and carefree beat to it that makes you happy. Some of the songs are fast-paced and quirky like a tweeting chickadee and some are slower and more reminiscent of some famous 1920's singers. It's nostalgic music that will make your ears perk up!"