Great article about Bill Tapia today. A (free) online subscription to the LA Times is required, but here's a juicy snip:
"Bill Tapia intended to put down the ukulele for good in 1946 because it wasn't used in jazz bands. Instead, he turned his attention to the guitar and studied it with the nation's finest jazz musicians for 56 years before the death of his 81-year-old wife, Barbie, in 2002 brought the 96-year-old Hawaiian musician back to his uke roots.
"I came down here to Southern California two years ago and everybody started getting crazy about the ukulele," he said. "I started playing again and played as well as I ever did. And I began playing jazz on the uke, which is odd."
The same performer who opened glamorous Hawaiian hotels with orchestra leader Johnny Noble in the '20s and '30s and whose claim to fame once was playing the ukulele behind his head, has added this jazz kick to his performances as perhaps the oldest Hawaiian musician working today. Combining a slow hand with a youthful charm, the longtime entertainer is proving he can still jam."
Bill will be in concert Sunday 1/4/04 at the Folk Music Center, 220 Yale Ave. in Claremont, CA. Link Discuss