CD Review: IN THE SADDLE
This release represents the second collaboration between slack key virtuoso Ledward Ka'apana and steel guitar master Bob Brozman. The two have performed nearly 50 concerts together since the recording of their first collaboration, "Kika Kila Meets Ki Ho`alu," and their growth as a duo is quite evident here. Bob states that he and Led have developed a nearly telepathic rapport, and after giving this CD a good listen, I'd have to agree. There is clearly a lot of spontaneity in their playing, yet they never seem to step on each others' musical toes, so to speak, and provide tasteful support to each other during solos. There are quite a number of uptempo instrumental cuts, and the energy they brought to these songs is delightful.
Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar
There are two vocal cuts on the album, with Led singing both "Meleana E", and "Aloha 'Ia 'O Wai'anae," which also proves that Led's leo ki'eki'e (falsetto) is still in fine form. Their rendition of "Meleana E" clocks in at over 11 minutes, which under normal circumstances woud be dreadfully long for a song of such melodic simplicity. But between Led's vocals and the exchanges of solos throughout, it does give each a chance to shine. Bob also performs on slack key guitar for the first time on record on "'Ami'ami Slack Key." Tabla player Subhashis Bhattacharya joins them on one cut, providing a quite different flavor.
The sound of the recording is impeccable, as one can expect from any Dancing Cat Records release, and this is the kind of recording you might expect if today's recording technology was available back in the 1920s and 1930s.
Bottom line: Highly recommended for fans of instrumental Hawaiian music, and if you're a fan of steel guitar and slack key guitar, this one positively has your name on it.
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