Maryanne Ito - Live At The Atherton
Recorded in November 2017, just days before she moved to California for an extended period of time, Live At The Atherton is our attempt to capture the magic that Samoan-Japanese soul/jazz singer Maryanne Ito brings to any live performance, whether on a big concert stage or an intimate setting.
We've seen Maryanne rock a crowd of hundreds at Mai Tai's, and light up a bar full of a dozen friends. Each performance always carries elements of honesty, power, and a bit of vulnerability you might expect from any true artist.
So, somewhat selfishly, I approached Maryanne in mid-2017 about the idea of recording a live album, mainly because I felt that the magic of her live performance must be shared with others. She agreed, and along with her guitarist and lead arranger, Gil Batangan, began to prep for a studio session at the Atherton Performing Arts Studio in front of an invite-only audience.
Waking Up, her 2014 debut, presented Maryanne in a studio setting with expertly produced beats and arrangements. What Live At The Atherton achieves is the sense of in-the-moment energy, where Maryanne and her band coalesce into one unit, acting and reacting with each other as they navigate each tune.
The songs on Live are new compositions and new arrangements of tunes from her 2014 debut, as well as an original by Gil Batangan.
The personnel is Maryanne Ito (vocals), Gilbert Batangan (guitar), Alika Lyman (bass), Dae Han (drums). Each musician is gifted in their own way, with young guns Alika and Dae working hard towards mastering their craft. Together, they create a near perfect unit in which Maryanne can express her emotions, unfiltered.
Maggie Herron - Another Wish / Holdin' On
Maggie Herron was born in Muskegon, Michigan into a family of 12 children (she was number 9). She began taking piano lessons as a little girl and was the church organist by the age of 10.
At age 18, she hitchhiked across the US, arriving at the Olympic National Rainforest in Washington State where, in an off-the-grid cabin with an old upright piano, she began weaving pop and folk sounds with her classical training. Maggie soon started performing in Seattle alongside veteran musicians who introduced her to R&B and jazz. Her writing and performing style continued to evolve with these new influences.
Eventually the Northwest’s gloomy weather propelled her further west, to Hawaii, where she has made her home ever since and continues to record and perform today.
On these songs, Maggie shows the soulful side of her jazzy chops over two mid tempo groovers that live somewhere in the great sweet spot between AOR and modern soul, with jazz as the foundation.
Recorded right before the advent of the digital era, the organic grooves of her band lay the foundation for her impressive vocal range that she is taking to great heights at the end of the A-side.
Nick Kurosawa - Home (on vinyl)
You're probably familiar with this release already. Recorded and released in early 2018, Home is soul singer Nick Kurosawa's debut, a six-song collection of classic covers and original tunes by the (then) 26-year-old Manoa Valley native.
A raw, unassuming recording of just Nick and his guitar, Home leaves listeners mesmerized by his voice.
That was the goal: to create a lasting impression of Nick's most powerful gift. When we initially made the EP, we were heading to Japan for 3 weeks and Nick needed something to bring along to offer potential new fans. (I had a feeling that handing out business cards wouldn't be enough.) With only about a month to manufacture the EP, we opted for CDs because they were quicker and more portable for our trip.
Fast forward to 2019, we finally pressed Home to vinyl. Why? Because this music sounds even more mesmerizing on wax. For anxious fans out there — we've already recorded the next EP. Stay tuned.