Jeff Peterson
Gig Seeker Pro

Jeff Peterson

Wailuku, Hawaii, United States | INDIE

Wailuku, Hawaii, United States | INDIE
Band World Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD Reviews"

'Maui on My Mind'
Slack key Peterson Prod.

Jeff Peterson, whose Grammy-winning kí ho'alu style previously graced award-winning local compilations, has a major solo contender to appease fans and voters.

Overview: Peterson is a homegrown virtuoso of Hawaiian slack-key. He pays homage to his Maui roots with a clutch of originals whose titles evoke tales — "Hawaiian Skies," "Na Kapuna O Haleakala," "The Winds of Waikapu" — from his influential past. His style is clean, simple and accessible, crossing cultures with rapturous renderings of Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" and Neil Young's "Harvest." Peterson will always be on your mind after a quick listen.

5 stars
- Honolulu Advertiser

"Slack guitarist Jeff Peterson delivers album filled with thoughts of home"

Among “those in the know” on the Honolulu music scene, Jeff Peterson is known as the guitar player who can deliver the Bach partitas, Django’s jazzy standards, the best of Kaapana and even some old fashioned rock n’ roll all in world class style. After a string of successes that include a Grammy award-winning performance and a landmark Hawaiian music tour to China, Peterson’s new CD – “Maui on my Mind” – proves that for this guitarist there is definitely no place like home.

Peterson – whose father worked as a paniolo for Haleakala Ranch -- spent his childhood on the Valley Isle. For his latest CD, he draws upon his fond childhood memories and his traditional slack-key roots to paint a musical portrait of Maui yesterday and today.

Perhaps in homage to his father’s way of life, many tunes glow with a “paniolo” or cowboy inspired spirit. For example in the title track, there is something in the openness of the chords and the gentle sway of the rhythm that conjures images of a lone horseback rider making his way through a vast landscape. Similarly, “Paniolo Soul,” with its strong bass, driving rhythms and minor key, is filled with a sense of danger & adventure that is characteristic of the Wild West.

Other tracks are Hawaiian in the very best sense of the word. “Rainbow Bridge” is a traditional slack-key piece with a light-hearted tune and a driving rhythm. The opening lick is classic Peterson – technically innovative, flawlessly executed, and flashy without detracting form the tune’s basically gentle quality.

The gem of the album is a new arrangement of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” Peterson delivers a dazzling arrangement that is filled with guitar pyro-techniques yet still retains the simple sincerity of Young’s timeless love song.

“Maui on my Mind” is a terrific CD that is sure to make a mark at this year’s Hoku and Grammy awards. It is a must-have for fans of the slack guitar. Peterson delivers sincere performances of very personal tunes that definitely touch the heart. “Maui on my Mind” could be the best slack-key album of the year.

- Honolulu Music Examiner

"Around the World with Maui on his Mind--Jeff Peterson"

Recently returned from a successful tour of China, Jeff Peterson has just released a delightful new CD, "Maui on My Mind," that cements his status as one of our leading, innovative exponents of Hawaiian slack key guitar.

An exceptionally talented guitarist, fluent in a variety of styles from jazz and classical to slack key, Jeff is a multi-Na Hoku Award winner, honored both this year and in 2008 for Instrumental Album of the Year.

Born and raised on Maui amidst Upcountry's paniolo culture, his elegant instrumental compositions blend the graceful artistry of his classical music training with a traditional foundation.

A primarily original work, "Maui on My Mind" pays homage to our island's natural treasures and some of the elders who mentored him like the late Eddie Wilson.

"Many of the songs reflect Upcountry," Jeff explains. "A lot of the music was composed on a new guitar that was built for me, and as soon as I received it, I started writing all this music. The first piece was 'Na Kupuna O Haleakala,' and I was thinking about growing up in Olinda, and my dad and his friends would play music, and I was reflecting on how as a little kid I wanted to own my own guitar.

"One of the cowboys, Eddie Wilson, was one of my first teachers. We spent a lot of time camping together, and he showed me a few chords. When I heard he had passed way I adapted the traditional song 'Wahine Holo Lio,' and wrote 'Paniolo Soul' for him. A lot of the pieces were written about different people or places or experiences I've had on Maui over the years."

There are charming songs inspired by the misty rain "Lilinoe" that brushes Olinda, tributes to "Pu'u Kukui," "Keokea, "Olinda Beauty" and the stunning vista atop Haleakala with "Aurora." He also ventures into Spanish-flavored territory with "The Aloha Tango."

"I was thinking of Raymond Kane," says Jeff. "He would play a Spanish-style piece with a slack key tuning, so that's dedicated to him. It switches back and forth between an Argentinean and Hawaiian sound."

Among the handful of covers he includes, Jeff adapts Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" and Glen Miller's classic "In The Mood," demonstrating his fluency with swing jazz.

"My grandfather was a huge jazz fan," he explains. "And I thought I had to put something on the album for him because he had a huge influence on me growing up and my musical tastes."

In October, Jeff organized a mini China tour, performing at various Shangri-La Hotels, exposing audiences in Shanghai, Beijing and Fuzhou to Hawaiian music and dance, joined by Keola and Moanalani Beamer, Raiatea Helm, Chino Montero, Steve Jones and hula dancer Capella Williams.

"We felt like pioneers playing for audiences who had no idea what Hawaiian music is at all," he reports. "It was pretty amazing, and we were really well received. My main goal was to present something that was authentic, instead of a glitzy Hollywood-meets-Waikiki production. They want to do more 'Hawaiian Nights' in the future."

Most recently Jeff teamed with Jake Shimabukuro at the eighth annual Ukulele and Slack Key Guitar Institute in Waimea. "We worked on some music together," notes Jeff. "The highlight of the whole weekend was playing the Beatles 'In My Life,' with him. It was a very magical moment. We approached it almost like a classical piece."

- The Maui News

"Jeff Peterson"

“Add the Peterson name to the top 10 list of slack key giants”… “His manner is impeccable, his style exquisite”… “Brilliant . . . Peterson raises the bar a few notches in both slack key and jazz” --Wayne Harada, Honolulu Advertiser - Honolulu Advertiser


Maui on My Mind
Pure Slack Key
Slack Key Jazz
Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, vol. 2 (Grammy)
Slack Key Guitar, vol. 2 (Grammy)



Add the Peterson name to the top 10 list of slack key giants His manner is impeccable, his style exquisite Brilliant . . . Peterson raises the bar a few notches in both slack key and jazz --Wayne Harada, Honolulu Advertiser

delightful new CD, "Maui on My Mind," that cements his status as one of our leading, innovative exponents of Hawaiian slack key guitar. An exceptionally talented guitarist, fluent in a variety of styles from jazz and classical to slack key, Jeff is a multi-Na Hoku Award winner, honored both this year and in 2008 for Instrumental Album of the Year. Jon Woodhouse, The Maui News

Guitar virtuoso Jeff Peterson is a rising star of the next generation of slack key guitar players. A two-time Grammy-winner, Jeff is quickly stretching the art of slack-key, using the styles open tunings to explore multiple genres with ease and talent. His virtuosity shines through not only in his traditional slack key, but also in jazz, classical, big band tunes, and standards.

Nominated for 2 Grammys in 2011, one for his solo album that won the Hawaii Music Award for Best Slack Key album, Jeff will have five songs featured in George Clooney's new film The Descendants, scheduled for release in November 2011.

Born and raised amidst Mauis paniolo (cowboy) culture, he was introduced early to the guitar and began to pick up influences from such Hawaii slack key greats as the Gabby Pahinui Band, Leonard Kwan, and Sonny Chillingworth. Jeff went on to study jazz and classical guitar at the University of Southern California and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

As a performer, Jeff has worked with a wide range of artists and groups including Eric Clapton, Ledward Kaapana, James Galway, Michael Feinstein, the Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Opera Theatre, jazz bassist Rufus Reid, shakuhachi master Riley Lee, soprano Dana Hanchard, and many other artists in Hawaiian, classical, and jazz music. He had a 3-week critically-acclaimed run with Bryan Stokes Mitchell and a jazz quartet at Feinstein's in NYC, and has performed with Ben Wolfe, Matt Catingub Big Band, and the Honolulu Pops orchestra with artists including Sergio Mendez, Natalie Cole, Monica Mancini, and Aaron Neville.

Slack key is the uniquely Hawaiian style of open tuning the guitar, and slack key tunings vary with each musician or family of musicians. Jeff performs regularly in the island-wide Annual Slack Key Guitar Festivals and has appeared with many other slack key artists including Raymond Kane, Keola Beamer, and Cyril Pahinui. He has appeared at the Hawaii International Jazz Festival, the Imperial Hotel Jazz Festival in Tokyo and Osaka, The All Angels Jazz Festival, and the Romance Festival on Oahu. He has also performed at the Blue Note in Tokyo and in Nagoya.

A two-time Grammy winner, Jeff was featured on "Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2", which won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian recording, and received his second Grammy in January 2010 for his contribution to Masters of Slack Key Guitar vol. 2. A multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awardee (Hawaiis Grammy), he has just released his second solo guitar CD Maui on My Mind to great acclaim.

For complete discography and audio clips, see Jeffs website at