THE ALONZO SPIRIT BAND

THE ALONZO SPIRIT BAND is comprised of (in our admittedly biased opinion) amazing musicians and singers on the Big Island, all with their own individual and thriving recording and performing careers.

Alan Rosen, a television writer/producer/director back in the 20th Century (Archie Bunker's Place, Elvis Meets Nixon, All That) brought these talented folks together in the studio to record the songs that began to come to him initially through meditation and dreams.

 Prior to recording, Alan, aka "Alonzo" began working closely with Makali'i  Captains Clay Bertelmann and Chadd Paishon, filming and documenting the  Makali’i Voyaging Ohana - culminating in the documentary Mau Voyager (2008),  a 3-hour biographical tribute to Micronesian Grand Master Navigator, Papa Mau  Piailug, narrated by Chadd and featuring music by Sonny Lim and Lorna Lim.

 In early 2011, Chadd introduced Alan to Charlie Recaido and to Charles  Brotman at Lava Tracks studio, and the idea of a studio band, “The Alonzo Spirit  Band” was born.

 These musical "Spirits" here on Earth recruited for the band are:

 

DAMON WILLIAMS, of Hilo, has been a singing and recording star in Hawaii for twenty years beginning at age 17 with his first album, "Love Is All". He has been a featured guest artist on dozens of albums ranging from compilations, solo albums, movies, etc. and has worked with virtually every "name" musician in Hawaii.

With The Alonzo Spirit Band, Damon has lent his special talents on a number  of lead vocals including the TRIPLE A radio stations favorites "Aloha Au I Ke Ola", "Walkin' in the Light," reggae versions of "My Sweet Lord," "Across the Universe," and "The Bright Side of  the Road." Other songs, among many, are "Noon Day Sun", "Lightkeeper", "Find the Light," and two duets with Iris Downey, "This Side of Heaven" and "And Float Away." Damon has also added ukulele and percussion to many tracks, and as a prolific engineer and producer, he mastered our third CDDamon is also one hilariously funny guy.

 

  Sisters MELISSA SAMURA (left) and GINGER BERTELMANN, both well-  known live performers on the island, are, along with Damon Williams, the  main singers  in the band. Ginger and Melissa have backed Damon on many  songs including "Aloha Au I Ke Ola", "Walkin' in the Light", "My Sweet Lord",  and "The Bright Side of the Road." Amazingly versatile, they also backed    Iris Downey ("The River Rolls Back" and "Sweet Soul Singing"), Rupert Tripp,  Jr. ("Time Plus Time" and "Time For Love"), Sonny Lim ("A Beautiful  Morning") and Alonzo ("Cosmic Cadillac.")

 As lead singers, they harmonize together on "Sunset Comes," "Moonlight On  the Snow" (Ginger on lead), "Island Dream" (Melissa on lead) -- both TRIPLE A radio favorites -- "It's the Way," plus Melissa took solo turns on "Angels Song" and "You Oughta Know." They also added their comedy touches to "Don't Make Me Come Back." Performing live, Melissa is the featured vocalist of the band "Lorenzo's Army" and Ginger often appears as the emcee and lead vocalist of the luau at Mauna Kea Hotel. 

  

SONNY LIM is a bona fide Hawaiian musical legend, beginning with The Lim Family when he was a teenager. Sonny's 2005 solo album was a Grammy Award nominee and he performed on Hawaii's first Grammy Award CD, "Slack Key Guitar,  Volume 2." He is a multiple Hoku Award winner, including two Lifetime Achievement Awards for both The Lim Family and The Makaha Boys.

With The Alonzo Spirit Band, Sonny has brought his prodigious talents on acoustic guitar, lead guitar, ukulele, bass and Hawaiian steel guitar. His lead playing can be heard on "I'll Be the One to Walk You Home" and "Lead Me Home", "Lightkeeper", "Aloha Au I Ke Ola" (on ukulele), "My Sweet Lord" and "Across the Universe" (both on Hawaiian steel guitar), "It's the Way", "Angels Song", "Island Dream" and "The Bright Kona Moon." Also a talented and softly soothing singer, Sonny sings lead on "A Beautiful Morning" and "The Bright Kona Moon" (both also TRIPLE A radio favorites), and adds harmony to "Nine Feral Cats."

 

LORNA LIM, Sonny's sister, born in Waimea, is a Hawaiian island musical legend for over 30 years, beginning as a teenager, playing and singing in The Lim Family with her parents and siblings. Winners of numerous Hawaiian Music Hoku Awards, The Lim Family was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. The title song to Lorna's solo album, "Polinahe" won Song of the  Year in 2010.

 Lorna has graced The Alonzo Spirit Band with her special, sweet and  soulful vocals on "Lead Me Home", "A Song to Sing You On Your Way",  "Lay a Little Dream on Me" and "I'll Be the One to Walk You Home." Lorna  is an acknowledged Hawaiian musical treasure.

 

 

 

CHADD PAISHON born in Papakolea, Oahu, anchors the first CD with his guitar and ukulele playing (and lead vocals on "Don't Make Me Come Back"  and "Nine Feral Cats") and returns later for "Moonlight On the Snow" and  "Time Plus Time."

A former professional musician (recording with, among others, Dolly Parton in Los Angeles in the '80s), Chadd now dedicates his time and life in perpetuating, preserving and teaching the Hawaiian navigational voyaging culture as Captain of the open ocean voyaging canoe, Makali’i. Chadd is one of only five Pwo navigators In Hawaii, an honor blessed upon him by Micronesian Grand Master Navigator Mau Piailug.

 

RUPERT TRIPP, JR. of Hilo is a member of the instrumental trio Kohala, a popular Big Island trio with nine albums  recorded thus far. Rupert is a founder of the band Nalu! and has released  three  solo albums to date. He was a recent winner at  the Kaua'i Songwriter  Festival. 

 Rupert graces the The Alonzo Spirit Band with his vocals on "Time For Love",  "Some Day Soon (God is Love)", "Ride On Soul Rider", "A Place For You  (Meditation)" and "Time Plus Time."

 

 

IRIS DOWNEY, from the island of Kaua’i, is a singer and songwriter, who has just recorded her first album. Playing live with her band "Iris Downey and the Feel", Iris  with her sultry voice and musical talent is on the dawn of an exciting career.

With The Alonzo Spirit Band Iris sings "Find the One/Look Around", "This Side of Heaven" and "And Float Away" with Damon Williams -- sings lead on "The Center is Heard" and "Almost There" with Alonzo -- and sings lead on "The River Rolls Back" and "Sweet Soul Singing" backed by sisters Ginger and Melissa -- two songs that have been radio favorites on the TRIPLE A stations, in no small part thanks to Iris' unique vocal sound. 

 

PAT ESKILDSEN, of the Grammy nominated Big Island group Kahulanui, joined The Alonzo Spirit Band on our second CD with his exemplary lead guitar playing on "My Sweet Lord." 

 Pat has since contributed lead guitar, reggae skank guitar and/or bass on many songs, including "The Bright Side of the Road", "Across the Universe", "Noon Day Sun", "Find the Light", "The Word" and "You Oughta Know." Pat  is also featured in the band video of "My Sweet Lord" and in the beautiful  Hawaiian day video of "Noon Day Sun" alongside Damon and Alonzo.

 

 

 

 LUKE CLEBSCH joined The Alonzo Spirit Band on our second CD. A versatile musician, guitarist and bassist and master harmonica player, Luke is a member of various Big Island groups such as Bump City and Peak.

With The Alonzo Spirit Band, Luke is featured on guitar on "The River Rolls Back", "Walkin' in the Light", "Cosmic Cadillac", "Sweet Soul Singing", "Across the Universe", "You Oughta Know", "Almost There" and searing  lead guitar on "Going Thru Time" and "Find the Light." Luke's harmonica brilliance is also featured on "A Beautiful Morning", "Ride On Soul Rider" and "The Bright Side of the Road." Luke has also engineered many sessions.                                                                        

 

   

KARL KASBERG born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA., is multi-talented piano/organ/synth player. For the past 20  years, Karl has been regularly performing playing local clubs and resort  rooms, often with the top jazz vocalists on the island, and currently runs all  entertainment at the Mauna Kea Hotel. Commencing with our third CD, in  addition to his role as The Alonzo Spirit Band keyboard player, Karl has also  assumed the main engineering reins.

 

 

MICHAEL SURPRENANT, super drummer, originally from New York City, is the founder and musical director of the Big Island funk/rock/dance band Bump City. Michael is also the drummer in the band Peak and over a dozen other Big Island bands. Talented and versatile behind the drums and the mixing board Michael  is currently producing Grammy nominated group Kahulanui's second CD.

 

 

 

CHARLES RECAIDO, born and raised in Hawaii, is a member of the instrumental trio, Kohala, and first performed  and recorded with the group Summer in the 1970's. Charlie is also  featured on  the Grammy Award winning CD "Slack Key Guitar,  Volume 2". A  multi-  talented instrumentalist, songwriter and record producer, with The Alonzo Spirit  Band, Charlie doubles as bass player on most tracks and was the initial  recording engineer on our first CD.

 

 

 

The BUMP CITY HORNS features JESSE SNYDER on tenor sax, ANDREA LINDBORG on trumpet, DUNCAN BAMSEY on bari sax and GARRY RUSSELL on trombone. Together and separately these talented and versatile artists play live in various  groupings all across the island.

With The Alonzo Spirit Band the Bump City Horns are featured on "Mister Connor's Comin'", "Find the One/Look Around", "Walkin' in the Light", "A Place For You (Meditation)", "The Bright Side of the Road", "The Word", "Going Thru Time" and "Find the Light." In addition, Duncan solos on "Cosmic Cadillac", Andrea  solos on "You Oughta Know", and arranger Jesse Snyder solos tenor sax on "Sweet Soul Singing", "And Float Away" and "The Bright Kona Moon" and flute on "Time Plus Time."

 

TOM MOHBAT, percussionist, joined the band on our second CD. From Chicago,Tom is also a songwriter and producer working out of his own Bad Dog Recording Studio in Hilo.

 Tom's percussive work helps propel "Aloha Au I Ke Ola", "A Beautiful  Morning", "My Sweet Lord", "Walkin' in the Light", "It's the Way", "Angels      Song", and on our third CD, "Island Dream", "You Oughta Know" and  "Going Thru Time."

 

   

 RUBEN RUIZ, who hails from Venezuela, also joined the band on our second CD. Ruben's exciting Latin flavored percussion sounds can be heard adding rhythm to "A Place For You (Meditation)", "Noon Day Sun" and "Find the Light."

 

 

 

JAMIN WONG, Hawaiian born, recorded with the band for our third CD. Jamin, an island/contemporary/reggae master, has recorded for over two decades as the member of the groups Ho'aikane, Natural Vibrations and solo as Chief Ragga.

Jamin brings his talent on reggae drums and reggae guitar to the covers of "The  Bright Side of the Road" and "Across the Universe.

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                     PLUS GUEST PLAYERS:

KRISTIN ARIA, talented Celtic harp player and composer, has recorded as part of the instrumental duo,            Anela Strings, and now performs as a solo. Kristin added her beautiful and  spiritual playing to the songs "Angels Song" and "It's the Way." 

 

 

 

GHEEZA MCGHEE, percussist, is another Big Island musical mainstay.  Introduced to Latin/Afro Cuban music in  New York City in Spanish Harlem,  Gheeza plays percussion on the first CD and on later releases "Moonlight On  the Snow" and  "Time Plus Time."

 

 

 

COLIN JOHN is an award winning guitarist/musician/songwriter whose blend of blues, soul, rock and Hawaiian was described by Guitar Magazine as "This is what Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like if he had abandoned the rat race, moved to Hawaii, and taken up surfing..."

Colin's lead guitar can be heard on "Find the One/Look Around" and "Almost There."

 

 

PAUL CREPEAU, featured on harmonica here, is a well-known "folkie" performer on the island, and has released two CDs of original folk songs.

 Paul plays on "Nine Feral Cats", "The Center is  Heard", "This Side of Heaven", "Don't Make Me  Come Back" and plays with fellow harmonicat Luke  on "Ride On Soul Rider."

 

 

 

BARRY FASMAN, "Da Foz", horn arrangements on first CD, strings on "Lead Me Home" and flute on "Sunset Comes", based in L.A., has worked with everyone in the  music business for over 30 years from Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Placido Domingo to Aerosmith, STYX and REO Speedwagon. Barry was also the music producer for the NBC TV series Fame. 

In Hawaii, Foz is famous for producing the first and revered Kalapana album back in 1975. 

 

 

 CHARLES MICHAEL BROTMAN, the third member of Kohala -- engineered  and mastered the first two Alonzo Spirit Band CDs at his Lava Tracks Studio in  Waimea. Charles is a GRAMMY Award Winning Producer for his CD "Slack  Key Guitar, Volume 2", which features Sonny Lim and Charlie Recaido. Before  Kohala, Charles was a successful solo recording instrumental artist with his  albums “Mango Cooler” and “Pacific Dreams.” For The Alonzo Spirit Band,  Charles also added his guitar prowess to "Mister Connor's Comin'", "Ride On  Soul Rider" and "It's the Way."

 

Alonzo is in deep gratitude for the gift of these songs and the magic of these wonderfully talented and spiritual singers and musicians who helped bring these songs to life. Mahalo nui loa!