On the face of it, it was an inspired idea to produce a compilation of jazz bands paying instrumental and/or vocal tribute to the Hawaiian islands, even if some of them had never set foot there! In truth the first two qualify more by virtue of their titles, but things get into the mode with the Castle Farm Serenaders. That warm-up session brings us to the sides made by the Hawaiian-born Andy Iona, both with his Novelty Four and with Sol Hoopi's Novelty Trio, which recordings lean more towards Honolulu than New Orleans.
In early 1930 Louis Armstrong recorded the atmospheric "Song of the Islands" with a backing group that was in effect the Luis Russell Orchestra, and in mid-1936 he teamed up with Andy Iona & his Islanders to record four South Sea-inspired vocals. In between we're treated to King Nawahi's Hawaiians playing "Tickling the Strings", but I wish his "Hawaiian Capers" had been included also. "Ka-lu-a" was written by Jerome Kern for the 1922 show "Good Morning, Dearie" and Spike Hughes' plays a rocking version which has long been a favourite of mine. Red Nichols got in on the act in 1931, and two more sides by Andy Iona from 1934 make the cut. The selection is completed by a 1937 tune from Fats Waller, and three from Manny Klein and his Swing-a-Hulas.
As can be seen, this compilation is something of a mixed bag, which could have benefitted from a more judicious selection, for example by including some of the hot sides recorded in 1940 by Felix Mendelssohn & his Hawaiian Serenaders.