It was one of the highlights of David Crosby and Graham Nash's magical concert at the Castle Theater in late August, when John Cruz, joined by the two veteran stars and special guest Jackson Browne, sang his signature song, "Island Style."
"Their songs have laid the blueprint for singing harmony," Cruz enthuses about performing with the legendary musicians. "It was fantastic. It felt very comfortable. They invited me to go to Kauai too, but I couldn't go."
Cruz had previously sung his popular anthem with Browne and Jack Johnson at a Kokua Festival, featured on the benefit compilation "Best of Kokua Festival."
John Cruz headlines the St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School gala from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday at the King Kamehameha Golf Club House in Waikapu. Champagne reception, dinner, student jazz ensemble show, music by Nevah Too Late, and a silent and live auction included. Individual tickets range from $80 to $100; table sponsors are also available. Call 244-4190, ext. 227, or visit: www.impactalifetime.com.
Anderson and Roe
perform at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater. Tickets are $12, $30, and $40 (plus applicable fees). Visit the box office, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org.
Plays Sunday night at the MACC.
And he will undoubtedly sing it along with other favorites when he headlines this year's St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School benefit gala Friday evening at the King Kamehameha Golf Club House. A former alumna, Sherri Dodson, who is being honored at the gala, is an old friend of Cruz's from their time together at the University of Hawaii.
When he's not touring, Cruz has been completing work on his third album. "It's creeping along," he reports. I'm going to finish it in January. I'm excited. I can't wait to get something new out."
The album, which should be out early next year, includes a collaboration with Jack Johnson, "Little Bit of Love." A live version of the song was previously released on a Mana Maoli collective benefit recording.
As Cruz is about to head out on an acoustic tour of Australia and New Zealand with Johnson and Paula Fuga, he's thinking of releasing the studio version as a single.
The new project features songs written by Cruz and his songwriting partner, Mark Herschler. Cruz has been recording the tracks with renowned drummer and engineer/producer Nir Zidkyahu, who has worked with artists such as Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Joss Stone.
"He played on half the songs on my last album," Cruz notes. "I like how he's helping. It's a new approach."
Described as "Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers transposed from the dance floor to the keyboard," Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe aim to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world.
Known for their adrenalized performances, inventive programming, original compositions and refined artistry, the two musicians met in 2000 as freshmen at The Juilliard School. Together they bring a fresh and visionary approach to the concert stage, dazzling audiences as a four-hand, two-piano team.
"Even if you've heard Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' millions of times, you've never heard it like Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Roe play it," raved a Keyboard magazine CD review. "They give this and other classics worthy groove, intrigue and power, yet manage to fold in new layers of harmonic and rhythmic sophistication. In short, their interpretations rock, and leave you feeling smarter for having listened."
The acclaimed pianists often receive rapturous reviews. A Northwest Reverb concert review praised: "Anderson and Roe gave an electrifying performance that swept the audience into a cheering mass of humanity, making a strong case that playing piano is the most fun thing that two people could ever do together."
California band Slightly Stoopid coheadlines a concert with Jamaican dancehall star Barrington Levy on Sunday at the MACC's Yokouchi Pavilion.
A pioneer of dancehall reggae, Levy released his debut single, "My Black Girl," as a teenager in 1977. Utilizing old roots rhythms revitalized by the Roots Radics, and giving the songs a hard, but danceable edge, Levy with producer Junjo Lawes helped establish a whole new dancehall sound. By 1980, he had become the biggest star in Jamaica.
In 1984, Levy's album, "Here I Come," earned him the Best Vocalist award at Britain's Reggae Awards. The recording helped him secure a listing in the Guinness World Records as the first reggae artist to hold both the No. 1 and 2 places in the charts.
In addition to hits like "Bounty Hunter," "Money Move," "Under Mi Sensi" and "Mary Long Tongue," Levy has been sampled by artists from Sublime to Cypress Hill and has performed alongside Stevie Wonder, U2 and Shaggy.
He is currently working on an album to be titled "It's About Time," which he has announced will be his last. Guests on this album include Damian Marley, Buji Banton, Beres Hammond and Heavy D.
San Diego's ska/punk/reggae band Slightly Stoopid cite influences ranging from rock to jazz, reggae to hip-hop and punk to funk - and even legends the Grateful Dead.
"The band we've kind of modeled ourselves after in the touring world is the Grateful Dead," Miles Doughty reported in an interview. "The Deadheads are the most loyal fans there are. And we have our Stoopidheads, who have kept the band going for so long."
Their latest recording, a DVD and double-CD set, "Slightly Stoopid & Friends: Live at Roberto's TRI Studios," was recorded at former Grateful Dead musician Bob Weir's Bay Area studio. The 31-song collection includes guest appearances by Weir (who sits in for several songs, including "I Know You Rider"), New Orleans musician Ivan Neville, veteran reggae star Don Carlos and San Diego jazz-funk saxophonist Karl Denson (who has been a Stoopid touring member for the past few years).
"They've called their music 'a fusion of folk, rock, reggae and blues with hip-hop, funk, metal and punk,' " noted a Quello review. "But most of the latter is behind them. The emphasis here is on reggae, and rock and jazz-tinged jams, on some solid R&B grooves, and on the freedom they feel to do and play anything they like."
Slightly Stoopid and Barrington Levy perform at 6 p.m. Sunday at the MACC's Yokouchi Pavilion. Advance tickets are $38 for general admission and $70 for VIP. Day of show, tickets are $42 for general admission and $77 for VIP (plus applicable fees).
Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei will present Willie K's Warehouse Blues Band at 9 Friday for a late-night show with $10 admission, and HAPA returns Saturday and Nov. 23 for a Supper Club performance. Cost is $60 for dinner at 6 p.m. and show at 7:30 p.m.; or $30 for show only. Call 874-3779.
Finally, hip-hop collective OFWGKTA makes its Maui debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday the Castle Theater. This young, rap collective from Los Angeles typically features core members Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Mike G, Left Brain and Hodgy Beats. A sometimes-member, Frank Ocean, won a Grammy this year for his brilliant album, "Channel Orange." Earl Sweatshirt's album, "Doris," released in August, was widely praised. "'Doris' represents one of the most innovative and important hip-hop releases of the year," proclaimed PopMatters.
Odd Future's Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt recently performed at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards show in New York on Nov. 3, along with Eminem, Lady Gaga and M.I.A.
The show has a language advisory. Tickets are $25, $35, and $45 (plus applicable fees). Call 242-7469.