Watch: Pacific Music Experiment Play Brazilian & Cuban Jazz


On the third Friday of every month, you can experience the Hilo Jazz ensemble known as the Pacific Music Experiment (PME) at Kukuau Studio. PME was created by musicians Matt Spencer (guitar), Sarah Bethany (vocals/Keyboards), and Michael Surprenant (drums/percussion). Performing acoustic and electric bass is Brian Crist.

Watch PME perform “Chan Chan”

Every month PME explore a unique genre of jazz, and March’s theme was Brazilian & Cuban music. Tonight’s diverse set list was filled with musical treasures like “Água de Beber” (“Drinking-Water”), a 1963 bossa nova jazz standard composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim Carlos Jobim. Fans of the Buena Vista Social Club documentary were treated to “Chan Chan,” a 1987 composition by Cuban trovador Compay Segundo. Expanding the spectrum further, PME covered Afro-Cuban Latin jazz percussionist Mongo Santamaria’s “Come Candela,” the b side of the 1972 single, “I Wanna Know.”

Set I
Tres Lindas Cubanas (Three Beautiful Cuban Women) | “Água de Beber” (“Drinking-Water”) | Esto te pone la cabeza mala | Canto de Iemanjá | Samba De Orfeu | Chan Chan | Come Candela| Bilongo | Aganju

Set II
Drume Negrita | La Comparsa |Chega de Saudade |Cigana de Fe | Guataca City | Corcovado | Sandunguera | La Camisa Negra |Despacito

Encore (¡Otra, otra, otra!)
Mas Que Nada

Meet the Pacific Music Experiment

Sarah Bethany
During her classical studies at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music, Sarah Bethany discovered an attraction to experimental electronic music composition as well as a love of jazz, hip-hop, and reggae music.  After graduating in 1999, Bethany relocated to the Bay Area and later to the Big Island of Hawai’i, where she met Michael Surprenant and Brian Crist, two of the island’s top musicians. Together they became Bethany Trio.

Bethany is currently writing and recording an album at Mana Music Studio in Hilo. It will be a combination of world-music, R&B, jazz, and future soul.

Read a review of Sarah Bethany’s January show at the Aloha Theatre:

Visit Sarah Bethany’s website for more info:

Michael Surprenant
Michael Surprenant spent many years producing and playing on records in New York City before landing in Hawai’i. He graduated from Berklee College and has extensive producing, arranging, mixing, mastering, orchestrating, studio drumming, and engineering experience.  He is also the owner of Mana Music Studio in Hilo. The first album produced at the studio was nominated for a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Since then, Michael has also been nominated for the Engineer of the Year Hōkū Award. You can also hear Suprenant behind the drums with Soul on a Roll’s monthly Jazz Night at Hilo’s Palace Theatre.

Read a review of Soul on a Roll here:

Matt Spencer
Matt Spencer is a Viniyoga teacher, a multi-instrumental musician, and passionate about the evolution of consciousness. From Long Beach California, he is now living with his wife and two daughters on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Matt plays a plethora of contemporary and world instruments and music. His solo playing is equal to his ensemble playing, and through his commanding skills of improvisation, adaptability, and sight reading, he continuously demonstrates the highest level of musicianship.

Visit his website:

For a list of weekly events at Kukuau Studio, visit:




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