Classically trained violinist Duane Padilla heads a trio of jazz masters

Classically trained violinist Duane Padilla heads a trio of jazz masters

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A founding member of the Hot Club of Hulaville, classically trained violinist Duane Padilla heads a trio of jazz masters, including Benny Chong (?ukulele) and Byron Yasui (bass) at Hawai?i Public Radio's Atherton Studio on Saturday, February 21st. Together they explore what might happen if French jazz violinist Stephane Grapelli and American violinist Stuff Smith accidentally met in a Waikiki night club and were asked to jam "island style." The concert will also preview music and talk story from Padilla's upcoming lecture on "Jamming like Stuff and Steph" at the American String Teachers Association National Conference.

Doors swing open at 7:00 p.m.; the music starts swinging at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($30 general, $25 for HPR members, and $15 for students with ID) may be purchased at or by calling the station (955-8821) during regular business hours. The Atherton Studio is located at Hawai?i Public Radio, 738 Kaheka Street.

About the artists

Duane Padilla began musical studies at the age of four with Suzuki violin teacher Idell Low. After continuing his training with Gerardo Ribeiro at Northwestern University and Syoko Aki at Yale University, he began his career as an orchestral musician, performing with the National Repertoire Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. An active classical chamber music performer, his award-winning ensemble The Gemini Duo was a semi-finalist in the prestigious international Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City. The Duo also earned outreach grants from Chamber Music America and the American Federation of Musicians, and was a featured ensemble on the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Performing Artist Roster and the CMA Rural Residency Artist Roster.

Padilla's more recent artistic endeavors have turned towards jazz. As a founding member of the Hot Club of Hulaville, he won the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts's Na Hoku Hanohano award for jazz album of the year for their gypsy jazz release "Django Would Go!" His subsequent solo jazz violin album "Sentimental Swing" was named one of the top 40 jazz releases of 2011 by the South African Jazz Educators Association. Recent concert collaborations include duo performances with pianist Tommy James (Music Director of the Duke Ellington Orchestra NYC), finger style guitar legend Jeff Linsky, guitarist Paul Mehling (Hot Club of San Francisco), Hawaiian pop icon Makana, Grammy-winning Hawaiian slack key guitarist Jeff Peterson, and jazz ?ukulele grand master Benny Chong. He has opened concerts for jazz giants Martin Taylor, John Jorgensen, and John Pizzarelli.

An equally accomplished educator, Duane began his teaching career in Connecticut, where he was head of the Suzuki Program the Tabor Community Arts Center and the Bethwood Suzuki School. He is currently on the faculty of the Punahou Music School and serving on the National American String Teachers Association's Eclectic Styles Committee as Vice Chairman.

Benny Chong taught himself to play the 'ukulele when he was 11 years old. He put aside the instrument nine years later to concentrate on the guitar. He later became the guitarist for The Aliis, who accompanied Don Ho for nearly 25 years. He returned to the 'ukulele for his debut CD, entitled Ukulele Jazz. The 'ukulele is not commonly considered a jazz solo instrument – until you hear Benny Chong play it. Chong employs complex chords involving open strings mixed with strings stopped at higher frets, a right hand that elicits different volumes for each string within the same chord, a silky strumming technique, and lightning fast chord and melody movements.

Byron K. Yasui is a retired Professor Emeritus of composition at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa, where he taught since 1972. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the University's Hawai?i Guitar Festival. He holds degrees in music education and composition from the University of Hawai?i and Northwestern University (D.M.A.). He remains active as a freelance jazz double bassist and a classical guitar duo partner with Brazilian virtuoso Carlos Barbosa-Lima. He is also an award-winning composer of modern classical music and his works have been performed, published, and recorded internationally.

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