In memory of Johnny Peret

In memory of Johnny Peret
In memory of my friend Johnny Peret, vibist, drummer, accordeonist extraordinaire

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PACIFIC JAZZ

TOM MAWI QUARTET - AT TOM'S PLACE (Fiji - Australia - 1999)

A couple of months ago I posted a big band from Mauritius, a small Indian Ocean country better known for sugarcane and tourism than for jazz music.  This time we go further east, to the mighty Pacifc Ocean  and another small island state known for sugarcane (a declining industry) and tourism but also, unfortunately, for military coups and ethnic tensions. 
I found this album not in Fiji but in Noumea, the capital of the French Overseas Territory of New Caledonia (I don't know if it still exists but Noumea had one of the best record shops in the South Pacific, at least for CD re-issues).  A few weeks later I found myself in Suva, capital of Fiji, and attended a conference hosted at the Holiday Inn.  After work we had a drink at the hotel bar where a trio was playing some smooth cocktail jazz as fits this kind of setting but the guitarist was obviously a good notch above average. He had a natural swing - even in this kind of setting where nobody really listens - and obviously he'd listened a lot to Wes Montgomery ,,, that guitar player was none other than Tom Mawi. 

This album was recorded in Australia in 1999, with financial assistance from the French Embassy ... I assume the Ambassador (or was it the Attaché Culturel?) was a bit of a jazz enthusiast.  They even sent Tom to a Jazz festival in France.  I know he also played in New Caledonia.  Merci la France!


Tom Mawi (born 1943) has been active in Fiji since the early sixties.  He names Les Paul and Chet Atkins as early influences. Then he discovered Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Tony Mottola and eventually Wes Montgomery, his greatest influence.  


As you can see the repertoire is mostly standards with two of his blues-based compositions thrown in for good measure. It's an enjoyable album, just plain, well-played jazz.  And when you're having a cocktail at a bar in Fiji, looking at the Pacific Ocean (actually looking at the extremely polluted Suva Bay ...), and Tom Mawi is playing in the background ... you can think for a while that you've reached Paradise.
Enjoy!

A more recent CD is still available and can be purchased here.
And if you wanna see Tom playing the Blues behind singer Michelle Rounds, in Suva , here it is ....









8 comments:

  1. Link comin' soon ... patience!

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  3. A few years ago, an Australian friend of mine played a few songs by Tom Mawi that he had on an old cassette tape. I loved it but never looked beyond that for his music. So thanks for this! Sitting here in the cold of the northeastern United States, I can almost feel the gentle breezes blowing off of Suva Bay, polluted or not.

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  4. Thanks mate. Enjoy ther music!

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  5. I keep on learning. Thanks

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  6. I just found you. Thanks for the chance to hear this.

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  7. New link: http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/46115184/file.html

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  8. thank you, I've missed it...

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