Comics, Cartoons, Hype, and Random musings from the Twisted mind of Ignatz Award Nominee, Ben T. Steckler.
**************"I'm Nobody Famous, Dammit!"**************
Hi, I hope you check this blog once in a while. Maybe you're interested to know more about Bernie Kaai, the fabulous steel guitarist of whom you posted some nice music on your other blog. Well, here is some info. Hope you'll enjoy it.BERNIE KAAI LEWIS (1921-1984)His full name was Bernal Keoki Kalaauokalani Kaai. Lewis was a hanai (adopted) name from the laukea Lewis family of Kona, and Bernie has written of his birth and childhood at Hakalau near Hilo, on the Big Island. He was already composing music by the age of 14 and was educated at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, receiving his BA in 1939 and his MA in 1943 at UCLA. He became one of the youngest arrangers ever to work on the staff of HBC, San Francisco, and he composed a number of major works, "California Panorama", "Hawaiian Suite" and "Hawaiiana", which have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl. He has conducted and arranged for symphony orchestras as well as working with many of the leading West Coast Hawaiian musicians, as steel guitarist, guitarist or singer. During the 1940s he was involved with Ray Meany's publishing and recording organisation, and from 1950-1956 was arranger for Dorothy Lamour. In 1959, Bernie became a member of ASCAP and from 1973-1974 was musical arranger for the Flip Wilson TV show. He was also a long-time associate of bandleader/singer/composer Paul Rage, and for a number of years served as musical director for the Grammy Awards. ln the mid-1970s he was musical director for Don Thorup of Kolapa Productions, who put out a series of fine Hawaiian albums, several of which included Bernie. In 1978 he played in and arranged the band for the TV production of the Third Nani Awards, predecessor of today's "Ha Hoku Hanohano", the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammies. Indeed an outstanding career which also covered fields other than Hawaiian. Bernie was a musical giant. His singing voice possessed an unusual vibrant and evocative quality, while his steel guitar playing had an extraordinary fluidity and originaliry. Sweet as honey it could swing HARD! "Steel Guitar Boogie", one of his many compositions, comes from what appears to be his very first recording session in 1946. The line-up includes Danny Kuaana on ukulele, Harry Baty and Freckles Lyons on guitar. Al Mclntire (brother of Dick and Lani) on bass, Mannie Klein on trumpet. Paul Page on celeste, and Frank Sabatella on piano. In this recording the steel guitar boogies happily with piano and trumpet.
And what happened to the other site, anyway?
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