On Aaron Aranita’s new release, "One Day," Hawai’i is very much in the forefront even when his lyrics stray to other lands. Aranita’s music is easy-going and laid-back. For most of the album, the music evokes the bright, sunny convivial landscape of Hawai’i.
On ‘Ele’ele,’ he reminisces about a family reunion: "On Kauai there is a town, where we’ll come from all around, a reunion in Ele’ele/Talk about the good fun days, play guitar bring out the bass, go mele in Ele’ele/We have our history in this town, our family can trace beginnings/The simple life, the country ways and how we give each other praise, this family in Ele’ele." This is a song that conveys the island down-home sensibility within a jazz context. It works delightfully well with Vergel Jepas’s vocals accompanied by Aranita’s sweet soprano saxophone.
Aranita dedicates ‘I’ll Say Good Goodbye’ to the memory of his loved ones who died too young. Harve Thompson convincingly sings Aranita’s lyrics that are sad like a sun slipping below the horizon leaving only a fading red sunset behind. ‘Urbanity’ is a slick, sensual piece that sways enchantingly with a dash of multi-hued psychedelia. It’s about as urban as downtown Hanapepe. ‘First Impressions’ is a gorgeous duet of soprano saxophone and piano. It resonates like an internal dialogue of life and love considered on an early morning beach stroll where the bright colors are still muted.
Aranita’s other compositions speak to a wide range of subjects from the Columbine High School shootings on the title track to a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim on ‘Antonio.’ The pieces don’t work as well. ‘One Day’ is warm and bright about an event of unthinkable adolescent destruction. His music and lyrics work best when he stays close to his roots.