For the second year in a row, Maui will host a four-day weekend jazz and blues party on its Grand Wailea shores. Every scope of jazz and blues – even a few versions most of the Mainland has never heard of – will come to the stage, ready for action in the 2nd annual Maui Jazz & Blues Festival.
The award-winning, innovative line-up includes elder statesmen, living legends, contemporary hit-makers, and prized local talent. Festival organizers staged a casting coup with Jimmy Cobb. The last surviving member of Miles Davis’ band in the seminal 1959 recording, “Kind Of Blue,” Grammy-winning drummer Cobb will make his first Maui debut. Besides Davis, the elder statesman of jazz has also played with John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Sonny Stitt, Nat Adderley, Nancy Wilson, and Sarah Vaughan, among others. Cobb joins up with Grammy-nominated saxophonist Javon Jackson (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) in what is sure to be a powerful combo buzzed about for years.
Joe Louis Walker, JLW, puts the electric in blues. His depth of blues knowledge, history, and feel resulted in three Grammys in his lifetime. Like Cobb, he’s also never visited Maui before now.
One of the sexiest sax players is prolific Grammy winner Eric Marienthal, who’s honed his craft with Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, David Benoit, Dave Weckl, John Patitucci, GRP All-Star Big Band, and The Rippingtons.
Remember 1970s-‘80s chart toppers, Dazz Band and Kool & the Gang? All vocalist Skip Martin, another Grammy winner. He’s gonna delve into his brand of hip-jazz.
The Radiators’ guitarist Camile Baudoin helped move forward a sizzling New Orleans, fishhead rock sound. Corey Ledet adds spicy Louisiana Zydeco on his accordion, the same spice he infused in a national Tabasco sauce commercial (“Drivin’ Me Crazy”) that ran recently.
Locally, Jr. Volcano Choy hits jazz full frontal on the trumpet. Expert in the East Coast jazz scene, Choy’s based out of the Big Island now and is still heavily in demand as a swing artist. Hawaiian guitarist John Keawe does something new, mashing jazz and slack key, aka Slazz. The Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano winner blew audiences away at the last Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival with his Slazz style. Na Hoku and Billboard winner, Brother Noland, started off with traditional and contemporary Hawaiian, but has gained momentum with his venture into his LED Belly blues style guitar.
A special Capische? Italian jazz & blues dinner, sunset cruise, and sneak peek party preview the September 15-16th festival to come. The Wailea Italian restaurant, on 555 Kaukahi Road, hosts a night of live jazz and blues with a fine Italian menu, September 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Call (808) 879-2224 for reservations. On September 14, visitors will board the Kai Kanani for a jazz & blues, pupus & cocktails, sunset cruise, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Right after, the Grand Wailea’s Botero Bar will have a jazz & blues sneak peek party, 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
When Saturday, September 15, 4 p.m., comes around, go straight to Grand Wailea’s Molokini Garden for the start of the festival. The festival continues Sunday for a jazz and blues snorkel sail, with continental breakfast and lunch. Call (808) 879-7218 to find out the time to be there. The Grand Wailea will also offer Sunday Live Jazz Branch 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Reservations (808) 875-1234.
Wailea, Maui is a resort paradise, so there’s plenty to choose from. The best deal is to stay at the Grand Wailea, one of the most luxurious resorts in the islands, right off the shores of the Pacific ocean. Usually, the cost to stay there is prohibitive and reserved only for the rich and famous. But for this festival, room rates are available for a substantial discount – $220 a night. Make reservations at (808) 875-1234.