About ‘Crosscurrent’

Founded in 2009 as the BYU-Hawai‘i Faculty World Improv Ensemble, we seek to explore the world’s rich improvisatory traditions while providing collaborative performance opportunities for our students and other associates in the larger Pacific Island musical community. We aspire to showcase as much Pacific Island music as possible, sharing with a broader audience the richness of this cultural heritage. The name Crosscurrent underscores both our location within the Pacific Basin and the musical navigation we seek to undertake.

About ‘Pacific Tinge’

In a historic Library of Congress recording, legendary jazz pianist Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton described a ‘Spanish Tinge’ in early New Orleans jazz. He was referring to Afro-Caribbean influences in the music of that era, with ‘Spanish’ used at that time generically to describe any element of a Spanish-speaking culture. While subtly manifested in the early twentieth century, the hybridity of North American jazz and Latin American music became much more overt in the 1930s (and beyond) as Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican music became popular on the U.S. mainland. It would be impossible to chart the trajectory of jazz in the latter half of the twentieth century without acknowledging the profound effect of Caribbean cultures and their music, already an amalgam of African and European musical elements.

It was our aim to similarly incorporate indigenous Pacific instruments and stylistic influences into the musical fusion that constitutes contemporary jazz. In this recording project we were able to infuse musical elements from the Cook Islands, Hawai‘i, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga—a good start in our quest to make Pacific Island music part of the ever-expanding international language of jazz.

Taravana Samba

Composer’s note: Taravana is the Tahitian word for ‘crazy.’ Drummers in the South Pacific have participated in cultural exchange for centuries, between island groups and across the Pacific Basin. Lloyd Chandler, master drummer at the Polynesian Cultural Center, attributes the creation of a log drumming rhythm known as samba to Cook Island drummers, with the pattern being adopted later by Tahitian counterparts. For this arrangement, I envisioned a South Pacific drummer visiting Brazil, jamming with the local musicians there, then “hijacking” the performance, transporting the listener briefly all the way back to the South Pacific, before relinquishing control and letting the music return to its Brazilian roots once more.

Composed & arranged by David Kammerer (Premillennial Music [BMI])

SOLOS: Lloyd Chandler – Cook Islands pate, Tahitian to‘ere, fa‘atete, pahu / Robert “Bear” Goldsmith – guitar / Jennifer Duerden – piano / Larry Cook – tenor sax / Jay Lawrence – vibes


Composer’s note: Oasis was originally composed for steel band. It embodies the characteristic feelings of calm, quiet, solitude, and isolation … an escape from the fast pace of life. Though the piece has been transformed over the last several years, the core idea or qualities have remained the same. It is a pleasant alternate reality to the occasionally hard one we may find ourselves in. The splashes of tone colors and the fleeting references to the rhythms of distant lands seem to take me away to a place of peace.

Composed by Jennifer Duerden (Steele Appeal Music) / Rhythm section arr. by Jennifer & Darren Duerden / Horns arr. by David Kammerer

SOLOS: Larry Cook – flute / Jennifer Duerden – steel pan


Composer’s note: This arrangement is an update of a composition from my hard-core funk fusion days. I’ve long admired odd-meter instrumentals by Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl, Spyro Gyra, and others, and the 7/8 feel here allows us to explore asymmetrical rhythmic groupings. Darren Duerden in particular creates drum fills that combine a number of different duple and triple groupings.

Composed & arranged by David Kammerer (Premillennial Music [BMI])

SOLOS: Larry Cook – tenor sax / Jay Lawrence – vibes / Darren Duerden – drums

Ka Ua o Ho’oilo (Winter Rain)

Composer’s note: The cold and bitter rains of winter evoke a special kind of melancholy. In Hawai‘i the season known as ho’īlois considerably less bitter than elsewhere, but still viewed as a time when sunlight is more fleeting and the aina (land) and kai (sea) are less hospitable. In the oli (chant) composed and performed by Heitiare Wallace Kammerer, a Hawaiian language teacher at Hau‘ula Elementary School on O‘ahu’s windward side (and my beautiful daughter-in-law), the mele (poetry) employs the metaphor of this cold rain to describe a love that has similarly cooled over time.

The English poetic text found below is not a literal translation of the Hawaiian mele, but rather an approximation of the imagery it communicates.

‘O ko’u na’au hu’ihu’i me ka ua ho’oilo / A huli ‘ole ka ‘uhane i ka maluhia / Auē, auē, ka ua ho’oilo e / Ke aloha mehana me ka ua kauwela / E kahe nei me ka ‘uhane o ka hā’ule lau / A ho’i mai ka ua ho’oilo e / Auē, auē ka ua ho’oilo e…auē

English version
My tears are cold like the rains of winter / Falling softly but bitterly, distressing my spirit / Not gentle, but harsh and disheartening / And my soul finds no peace / Once our love was warm, like the rains of summer / Flowing down and nourishing my spirit / Now the leaves have fallen from the plumeria tree / And the rains of winter wound me with their bitterness

Composed & arranged by David Kammerer (Premillennial Music [BMI]) / Hawaiian chant composed and performed by HeitiareKawehikulaniikamaluolokalia Bow Yuk Wallace Kammerer

SOLOS: David Kammerer – flugelhorn / Larry Cook – flute / Robert “Bear” Goldsmith – guitar

Royal Tongan Jam

Arranger’s note: The idea for this medley grew out of a discussion with Darren after one of our many BYUH neighbor island gigs. We were batting around ideas about combining musical traditions from various island cultures, and, in my sleep-deprived state, I jokingly called such a prospective multi-movement suite the “Unstuck Islands Concerto,” an oblique reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. That particular BYUH music tour came and went, but the idea continued to germinate.

This is the first movement I’ve undertaken, with the original idea for a work featuring string quartet, rhythm section, and percussion soloist morphing into an arrangement for Crosscurrent’s instrumentation. The concept is to have two islands’ disparate music traditions meet and interact, hopefully proving compatible and/or complementary in the end. For this piece I drew upon the musical traditions of Tonga, two of whose modern monarchs, King Siaosi Tupou II and Queen Salote Tupou III, were prolific composers. Salote’s ‘Upe ‘o Manumataongo is a tribute to her grandson, the current reigning Tongan monarch, and its 6/8 march character lends itself well to a jazz-blues shuffle feel. After an excursion into the relative minor key, the second musical theme, Siaosi’s ‘Ise‘isa, is sung in the traditional Tongan style and then experiences an encounter I describe as “Tonga meets Hispaniola.” In this encounter, the 2/4 Tongan song is recast as a Dominican merengue, complete with an interaction between Tongan nafa drum and Dominican tambora, the two-headed drum used in merengue. The movement concludes with a return to the original shuffle feel.

‘Upe ‘o Manumataongo composed by Queen Salote Tupou III (public domain) ‘Ise‘Isa composed by King Siaosi Tupou II (public domain) / Arr. by David Kammerer (Premillennial Music [BMI])

SOLOS: Semisi Fakatava – Nafa drum & vocals / Jay Lawrence – marimba


Arranger’s note: I fell in love with this song while serving a mission in Samoa during the late 1970s. Implausible as it may seem, I used to sing it, not play percussion on it! This song is a lament for a treasured daughter of Samoa who became enthralled with a member of Tongan royalty. She left Samoa to marry her sweetheart in Tonga, never to return home. The song is written in poetic metaphors and is a love story about Leafaitulagi hearing the sad news of her loved one’s passing.

I always felt that most renditions seemed too “happy” to accurately portray the melancholy lyrics. This arrangement is my attempt to reflect the poignant mourning that the lyrics depict. Though this song has attained folk status, many attribute it to Gatoloai P.S. Tuiletufuga, a matai (chief) from the island of Savai‘i.

Samoan text
Ta te le fia manatua / Le afiafi o le aso gafua /Na pa ai ole ‘alaga / ‘Ua ta‘apeape papa / Ua tafea o le tau’ofe / Ua gasolosolo ao
e / Le Vineula o lo ua fa’anoa / Ma le loto ua momomo e Leafaitulagi ua tagi mai ala
 e / O la‘o Punimatagi o lo ua sola
 e / Ua goto le fetu ao
Peau o le vasa
/ Ua motusia la’u pale sa ou tiu ai i Apia

English translation
O I don’t ever want to remember / As darkness drew close that Monday evening / When suddenly a voice burst out and was heard / That death has come among us / The loss of a precious loved one / Solemnly and peacefully taken from us / Sadness and sorrow has come to one who treasures / With feelings so deeply torn

Leafaitulagi whose spirit cries along the way / My shield my comforter has vanished / The day star is buried deep in the dark ocean / My one and only precious crown that I lived for in Apia has been torn from me

Rhythm arrangement: Jay Lawrence and Steve Keen (Lija Music [BMI])
Horn arrangement: Lyle Durland, Jay Lawrence, and David Kammerer

SOLOS: Dallin Muti – vocals / Jay Lawrence – vibes

The Blue Gardenia

Composer’s note: This tune is a tribute to my flamenco mentor Wolfgang “Lobo” Fink (half of the internationally renowned flamenco nueva duo Willie & Lobo). In particular, The Blue Gardenia was inspired by Lobo’s tune Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. I had the privilege of studying with Lobo during the mid-80s and came to love his musical spirit. The other inspiration for this composition came from my wife Jo Jennifer—she is MY Blue Gardenia.

Composed by Robert “Bear” Goldsmith (Beartracs Music) / Arr. by David Kammerer

SOLOS: Robert “Bear” Goldsmith – guitar / Darren Duerden – cajon

Through the Tunnel

Composer’s note:Through the Tunnel was originally conceived for vibraphone, later orchestrated for steel band, and finally adapted for Crosscurrent. This recording is the second edition of the piece, with the first appearing on the 1992 CD Play Mas’ by the steel band Steele Appeal.

The inspiration for Through the Tunnel came during an extended layover at the Houston Airport with Jim Jackson on a University tour. While repeatedly riding the circular route of the airport transport system that day to kill time, the last few words of a Spanish-language announcement stuck in my mind. The phrase “pasen por el tunel” was simply an alert stating that if patrons preferred to walk they should go through a tunnel. Following this alert was a moment when the train broke from the darkness of the tunnel into a burst of dazzling sunlight. These two experiences provided the inspiration for both the climax and the title of the piece.

In 2010, I pondered adding lyrics in order to create a metaphor about passing through the “tunnel” of mortality. My friend David Kammerer pursued this idea and created the lyrics for the piece and provided the vocals for this memorable transformation of my original tune. Mahalo Dave, Jim, and Jennifer for your contributions.


When I contemplate my life and this existence / Realms I anticipate, worlds out in the distance / What will I find out there / Why do I fear the unknown / Could be some places where / There are better things than I’ve been shown / When I get there, I’m gonna ride on the wings of eternity / Hope you’ll be there to share it all with me / Here in the dark not sure what we’ll find while we’re on this adventure but / Love is the spark so please take my hand while you pass through the tunnel with me / Feelin’ so free / Now we can see what our future will be

Composed & arranged by Darren Duerden (Steele Appeal Music) Lyrics by Darren Duerden and David Kammerer

SOLOS: Larry Cook – flute / Jennifer Duerden – piano / David Kammerer – vocals


Composer’s note: In its original incarnation as Mamboso, I considered this tune to constitute homage to Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, and Tito Puente. When my band All Jammed Up recorded this piece, we employed a Latin rock groove a là Carlos Santana. More recently, when my Crosscurrent band colleagues heard that recording, they suggested that we create a new version with salsa horn figures and an altered songo feel. The resultant arrangement became known as Songoso, with thanks to Dr. Dave & Dr. Darren for reimagining my original composition.

Composed by Robert “Bear” Goldsmith (Beartracs Music) / Rhythm section arr. by Darren Duerden / Horns arr. by David Kammerer

SOLOS: Jennifer Duerden – piano / Larry Cook – sax / “Bear” Goldsmith – guitar

Crosscurrent personnel:

  • Larry Cook (Adjunct Instructor – Woodwinds) – Tenor sax, flute
  • Darren Duerden (Associate Professor of Music) – Drum set, marimba, vibes, percussion
  • Jennifer Duerden (Adjunct Instructor – Piano) – Piano, digital keyboard, steel pan
  • Robert “Bear” Goldsmith (Adjunct Instructor – Guitar) – Acoustic & electric guitars
  • Patrick Hennessey (Adjunct Instructor – Trombone) – Trombone
  • David Kammerer (Associate Professor of Music) – Trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
  • Mark Wolfersberger (Assistant Professor – EIL Program) – Percussion
  • Will Yokoyama (Adjunct Instructor – Bass) – Acoustic & electric basses

Guest artists:

  • Jay Lawrence (Adjunct Instructor – Percussion [BYU, BYU-Idaho, University of Utah, Snow College]) – Co-producer, vibes, marimba, drum set, congas, bongos
  • Lloyd Chandler (Polynesian Cultural Center) – Cook Islands & Tahitian percussion
  • Semisi Fakatava (Polynesian Cultural Center) – Nafa drum, Tongan-language vocals
  • HeitiareWallace Kammerer (Hawaiian Language Instructor) – Hawaiian oli (chant)
  • Dallin Muti (Chief Musician, Polynesian Cultural Center) – Samoan-language vocals
  • Rich Dixon (Instructor – Guitar [Snow College]) – Rhythm guitar on Introspection
  • Denson Angulo (Instructor – Jazz Studies [U. of Utah]) – Bass tracks on Leafaitulagi

Pacific Tinge nominated for Hawai‘i’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards 2011

Members of the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) have nominated Crosscurrent’s debut CD Pacific Tinge for a prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Award in the Jazz Album of the Year category. HARA was created in 1982 to promote Hawai‘i’s recording industry and the music of Hawai‘i; since that time the organization has sponsored the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Patterned after the Grammies, these annual awards honor Hawaiian musical artists and their achievements in a number of categories.

Pacific Tinge joins four other finalists in the Jazz Album category. Crosscurrent co-founder David Kammerer reports, “It’s gratifying to receive this nomination in our very first foray into the Hawaiian recording scene. The other jazz finalists have been around for a while and it’s an honor to be in their company.” Winners will be announced at the annual awards ceremony taking place this year on May 29 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. (We’ll keep you posted here.)

CONGRATULATIONS and BEST WISHES!!! from Jazz Hang Records