Steve & Teresa
Steve and Teresa captivated Hawaii in the 1980s with their timeless, effortless style that blended jazz, Hawaiian, and hapa haole music.
During the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, Hawai‘i’s live music scene was at its peak. Countless clubs, lounges, and bars filled the islands while artists embraced and experimented with all manner of ideas old and new. Among them were Steve Ma‘i‘i and Teresa Bright, a harmonizing guitar-and-bass duo that floated somewhere between nostalgia and an unassuming island sound. They could fill a concert hall or bring the family together at a backyard kanikapila with their music.
Both singers share backgrounds rooted in native Hawaiian culture; Steve once the bassist for musician/activist George Helm, and Teresa the daughter of hula dancer Carol Bright and musician Daniel Bright. Together, they crafted a refreshing approach to jazz standards, traditional Hawaiian tunes, and hapa haole classics.
Steve and Teresa enchanted every listener they encountered, including engineer Rick Keefer. Having recently moved from Seattle to East O‘ahu, Keefer found himself at the duo’s stomping grounds, Pat’s at Punalu‘u, a favorite gathering place for musicians on the island. That evening, so enamored by their performance, he convinced the pair to record at his studio in nearby Hau‘ula.
Days later, Steve and Teresa cut their first album at Sea-West Studios. Keefer, whose efforts over the years would help elevate the local recording industry, employed a simple setup to capture the duo’s natural, open sound. They finished the album in less than three hours. After so many nights performing in Punalu’u, the pair had their repertoire down pat. The resulting album gave Hawai‘i one of its greatest musical gifts of the 20th century, a song entitled “Catching A Wave”.