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World Music CD Reviews Australia & Oceania

Jeff Peterson

By James Rodgers
Published April 27, 2007

Slack Key Guitar
Palm Records

Though slack key guitar and Hawaiian music have been around for over a century, the first Grammy handed out in the category was in 2005, for a compilation. One of the featured artists was Jeff Peterson. Though he has five previous solo releases, this is his first with major label Palm Records, and it shows a guitarist confident and assured at what he can do. While Peterson doesn’t stretch the Hawaiian genre here, his knowledge of classical and jazz shines through in his timing and technique. Of the 14 instrumentals collected here, eight are original Peterson compositions, and they outshine most of the traditional and cover tunes, with the sole possible exception being the beautiful, lilting Queen Lili’uokalani piece, “Ahe Lau Makani.” This isn’t a debut, but it feels like the premiere of an artist who’ll be named alongside Ledward Kaapana, Keola Beamer, and other giants of the Hawaiian guitar.