Hawaii 2014: HPR Atherton Studio – Piano/Vibes Duet with…

Francesco Crosara & Noel Okimoto, Piano & Vibes: The Art of the Jazz Duet
Atherton Performing Arts Studio, June 22

Hawaii Public Radio’s intimate Atherton Performing Arts Studio is the ideal setting for the magical piano and vibraphone jazz duet of Francesco Crosara and Noel Okimoto. In their first reunion concert since their acclaimed appearance at the Atherton in 1994, “The Art of the Jazz Duet” on June 22 will include choice jazz standards from a romantic repertoire, blues interpretations, extemporaneous improvisations, plus the world premiere of Crosara’s latest original work, the “Harmony Suite,” which has been composed especially for this event and tailored to reflect the unique sensibilities of each player.

In a slight departure from regular Atherton Season concert schedules, “The Art of the Duet” takes place on a Sunday (June 22) at 6:00 p.m. Reservations may be made online at www.hprtickets.org or by calling the station (955-8821) during business hours. Tickets are $30 general, $25 for HPR members, and $15 for students with ID. The Atherton Studio is located at Hawaii Public Radio, 738 Kaheka Street.

Francesco Crosara, a former Honolulu resident, is currently based in Southern California. He has performed at festivals and venues across the United States, Hawaiʻi, Canada, Mexico, and throughout Europe. Born and raised in Italy, Francesco studied classical composition at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 1981, he moved to Los Angeles where he was the pianist for the USC Jazz Band and performed with Lionel Hampton and Freddie Hubbard. Through the years he has also performed with Richie Cole, Von Freeman, Bruce Forman, Roy Hargrove, John Heard, Don Menza, Barbara Morrison, Bobby Shew, and Ira Sullivan. Hawaiʻi jazz fans will remember him for his trio work and participation in Gabe Baltazar’s band in the early 90s.

Francesco’s discography includes five albums featuring Chicago tenor sax legend Von Freeman, Lilian Terry on vocals, and musicians from the US, Brazil, Hawaiʻi, and Egypt. The jazz magazine Downbeat awarded a rating of “4 stars” to his CD Colors in 2000. Noel Okimoto also appeared playing drums on the CD in memorable interpretations of “Someday My Prince Will Come” and Francesco’s own “Suite Venus.”

Noel Okimoto was born and raised in Honolulu, and has been playing professionally since the age of ten. Noel’s primary instrument is the drum set, but he is also an accomplished orchestral percussionist, vibraphonist, composer, and clinician. He received his bachelor’s degree in Percussion from the University of Hawaiʻi. Noel has played in Hawaiʻi, the mainland USA, and internationally with Freddie Hubbard, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Stan Getz, Bobby Hutcherson, Richie Cole, Bill Watrous, Ernie Watts, Bud Shank, Barney Kessel, Lew Tabackin, Sadao Watanabe, Wynton Marsalis, Ronnie Cuber, Makoto Ozone, Jeff Richman, Larry Coryell, Nestor Torres, Gene Harris, Take 6, David Benoit, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Steve Allen, Natalie Cole, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Dionne Warwick, and Jake Shimabukuro, among others. He was also a member of the Gabe Baltazar Group for five years. He is also the percussion section leader of the historic Royal Hawaiian Band.

Okimoto recorded an award-winning jazz CD in 2004 entitled ʻOhana, which received a 4-star review in Downbeat magazine and positive reviews in other national and international publications.

About HPR’s Atherton Performing Arts Studio
The Atherton Studio seats 75 people and is home to a magnificent Bösendorfer concert grand piano. The Studio is available for rent for musical performances, community group meetings, and lectures. It is located in the HPR office and studio complex at 738 Kaheka Street, across from the Honolulu Don Quijote. Metered street parking is available, as are paid lots at the First Hawaiian Bank (Kapiʻolani branch) and in the Pan Am building.

Click on the video to watch a moment from the performance.

YouTube player

Photos from the concert – photography: Julia Crosara

Click on the picture to read the press release.