"Hula Jazz" Liner Notes
Jazz, in the realm of music is the exemplification of an idealized democratic culture for it allows for unbridled, creative participation and infusion. Early Hawaiian musicians recognized the freedom of this turn-of-the century musical phenomenon. William Ellis, Sonny Cunha, Sol Ho'opii and Johnny Noble the "Hawaiian Jazz King" were pioneers in blending Hawaiian music with the syncopated rhythms of jazz. Notable island women of song also performed recorded and embraced the influences of jazz. Irmgard Farden Aluli early in her career, Ethel Azama recognized as Hawai`i's first lady of jazz and the Lady of Love, Loyal Garner. In the '60's the influences of Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and Django Reinhardt became evident in the recordings of slack key icon, Gabby Pahinui.
Owana Salazar brings together these same elements in Hula Jazz, a tantalizing taste of two cultures in a testament of musical cohesion. Owana's royal Hawaiian heritage provided her a place in the genre of traditional Hawaiian music but it is her awareness of music's on-going evolution of expression that is the genesis of "Hula Jazz."
Selection of songs for the recording entailed length consideration and runs the gamut from Charles E. King to Cole Porter. The title cut is an original Owana Salazar composition. Hula Jazz is a kaleidoscope of musical styling from "Lei Lokelani" which I.D's Owana's Hawaiian roots to sultry bossa nova, swing jazz combos, trips to Latin sambas, blues and of course Hawaiian classics, with an added groove. Vocally Owana's diversity may surprise you for the ornaments she applies stray from familiar Hawaiian mele, but that's the jazz of it. Her subtle vocal movement slides in unison with the classic instruments employed in a jazz combo.
Hula Jazz captures the many moods of Hawaii's music in a vibrant display of the rhythms of New Orleans. As the first native Hawaiian artist invited to perform at the prestigious 2004 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Owana Mahealani-rose Salazar steps into another spotlight on a continuous journey of discovery.