Sept. 22-25, island-wide
Kenneth Martinez Burgmaier is a cool cat, you dig? He’s the heart and soul of award-winning Jazz Alley TV and Hawaii On TV, and you’ve probably seen him ‘round town, capturing cool stuff from behind the lens, as well as seen his works at film festivals, on stores’ shelves, on TV and on the Internet. He’s also brought us beautiful community events like the Hana Film Festival, Aloha Drive-In Theater, Lanai Ukulele Festival, Lanai Slack Key Festival, Lanai Jazz Festival, and now, for the first time, the Maui Jazz and Blues Festival. And boy, has Burgmaier outdone himself this time!
At seven venues Sept. 19-25, the festival’s drawn some huge names in the music world—some of whom it’s their first visit to the islands. The fun’s already begun with sweet kick-off shows at Mulligan’s on the Blue and Stella Blues, and you can continue to start your musical adventure early by checking out events tonight (Sept. 22) at Cuatro, featuring dinner jazz guitar with Benny Uyetake (6:30-8pm) and at Stella Blues Cafe, with SLAM featuring David Choy and Clay Mortensen, plus special festival guests. Best of all, tonight’s events are all free.
See, that’s another cool thing about Burgmaier—if his event’s aren’t free, they’re ultra reasonable. Even Saturday night’s big show costs just $20—which makes you feel like your liftin’ lolipops from cradles. Before I get to the illustrious lineup, here’s the when and where:
The big shows take place (mostly) at the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa, starting Friday (Sept. 23) with a VIP dinner and special guest performances (limited seating; visit mauijazzandbluesfestival.com for tickets and prices). You’d do well to make a weekend of it, seeing as the Grand’s offering a special event rate of just $199 per night (call 800-321-4666 for reservations, and ask for the festival package). That also works perfectly because come Saturday, you can just mosey up the street to Wailea Gateway’s Sweet Paradise Chocolate to hear Sal Godinez’s masterful fingers on ivory, and enjoy tongue treats galore (11am-1pm; this literally and figuratively sweet event is, if you can believe it, also free). You’ll then have plenty of time to cleanup good (all the chocolate can be messy, if you’re doing it right), for the big show at the oceanfront stage of the Grand’s Molokini Gardens, and a historic night of music (4-9pm; $20 single / $250 VIP table). And when you wake up in the mornin’ Henry Allen will be waiting to entertain you (10am-1pm) at a special Jazz Sunday Brunch at the resort.
Whew. OK. Now that you know where to go, here’s why: Les McCann, Delfeayo Marsalis, Tom Scott, Skip Martin, Brian Stoltz, Javon Jackson, Brother Noland, and Brittni Paiva, SLAM, Zenshin Daiko and the Kalama Intermediate School Ukulele Jazz Cats.
Those names should all ring a bell—because they’re big names. McCann’s won multiple lifetime achievement awards, is known for his platinum-selling single “Compared to What” (with partner/saxman Eddie Harris), and has collaborated with (who he calls pals), Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Duke Ellington. Marsalis has been heralded as one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation (San Francisco Examiner), and has produced over 100 recordings for fellow big names like Harry Connick, Jr. Spike Lee, and Terence Blanchard. Further with winds, Scott’s a renowned saxophonist, who’s perhaps most noted for his film scores which include Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Stir Crazy, The Sure Thing, and Shakes the Clown, just to name a few. And get this: he’s composing credits include TV show themes for Family Ties, Starsky & Hutch, Square Pegs, the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the People’s Choice Awards, Comic Relief, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Pat Sajak Show. Seriously.
Oh, and he’s got a couple Grammy awards under his belt thanks to 12 nods earned by his 25 solo recordings.
Wrapping up (I want to give you extra time to plan a snazzy outfit to wear to the shoe), Martin is the former lead vocalist for Kool & The Gang. Jackson’s toured with the greatest and gotten Grammy nods, too. And Stoltz is famed for touring with the Neville Brothers Band and spent 14 years with The Funky Meters.
Did your brain just explode? Mine did. And I’ve heard the only remedy is to go to the events and for the soothe of jazz and blues.