After receiving a Jazz Album of the Year nomination from the Hawai’i Academy of Recording in 2018, Deems Tsutakawa was energized and motivated to produce a follow-up project with his Hawai’i based band.
This “Bruddah Hood” is comprised of island musicians with ties to the Seattle area, and have been performing with Tsutakawa at clubs, concerts and festivals in Hawai’i for nearly 15 years. For this album, he put together a set of original compositions and covers that provide a retrospective of his life and musical career. Due to his passing, he was never able to record final tracks for any of the songs. Embracing the tracks he left behind and creating a warm pocket for him to play in posthumously was more important than correcting any technical blemishes in his performance. Production decisions were organic rather than formulaic. The result is a perfectly imperfect record Deems style.
When they began the project, Tsutakawa shared insight and stories about his new original material and the covers we would be recording to provide some context for the album. “The View” was written in gratitude as he surveyed the panorama of Lake Washington from his home one spring morning. “I’ll Remember” is a reflective composition with gospel overtones; “Smooth 88” represents a full band treatment of a New Orleans inspired tune he previously recorded as a solo piano piece. “El Paseo” which translates to “an evening stroll” in Spanish, is his sultry ode to the Latin jazz genre he revered; and “I Love My Dog” is a playful dedication to Sisko, his beloved canine family member.
The four cover tunes on the album are no less significant. As an artist, Deems Tsutakawa never held himself above any form of music, playing and recording whatever felt good to him.