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Pure Slack Key

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Album Review

For his sixth solo album, Jeff Peterson plays a mix of original compositions and old favorites. While he may not be among the old guard of slack-key players (the Beamers, the Pahinuis), he's certainly among the newer guard, and has the chops to prove it. Peterson's style tends to stray away somewhat from the more rollicking, bouncing mele music that takes up part of the genre's attention, and sticks more to the relaxed end of the spectrum (the nahenahe end, as it were). His playing focuses a bit more on the melody than many slack-key players, and the sound is somewhat different as a result — less deep bass in the background, more acoustic-guitar type stylings. Highlights here include the delicate finger work in "Pahe'e Slack Key," the contemporary sound (as contemporary as slack-key can sound, that is) of haiku, and the polyrhythms of the classic "Punahoa Special." Peterson has some range, and though it's not explored here as fully as one might wish, there's plenty of goodness in the forms that he does lean toward.

Pure Slack Key, Jeff Peterson
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