This year’s Maui Jazz & Blues Festival promises an array of exciting events all around Maui from Thursday, Sept. 7 to Saturday, Sept. 9. Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier, the owner of HawaiiOnTV.com Networks and Jazz Alley TV, founded Maui Jazz & Blues Festival seven years ago. To say he’s passionate about the upcoming festival is an understatement.
“I’m extremely excited that we have such amazing Grammy and Jazz & Blues Hall of Fame Inductee artists that have never performed on Maui, or in Hawaii for that matter!” he said. “Grammy winner and Zydeco Cajun accordion master Jo-el Sonnier will be here from Louisiana for his Hawaii premiere, and he is sure to get everyone dancing! Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee and saxophonist master Bobby Watson will also have his first appearance on Maui. Blues Hall of Fame Inductee and Blues Music Award winner Jimmy D. Lane will surely be smokin’ on the guitar for his first time playing solo on Maui, and we’ll also have one of the greatest living guitarist on the planet here for his Hawaii debut: Fareed Haque, declared as the ‘Best World Music Guitarist’ by Guitar Player Magazine.”
When I asked Burgmaier how he plans the festival, and how he’s able to meet and invite so many fantastic artists to Maui, he credited a lot of it to the success and experiences he’s had while running Jazz Alley TV. “Many are friendships that I have development over the last years through our acclaimed Jazz Alley TV series,” he said. “I’ve traveled to over 40 countries filming jazz, blues, reggae and world music festivals, events with recording companies, music awards and more.”
This year, he celebrated 25 years on broadcast TV. In fact, Burgmaier says that his Jazz Alley TV is the longest running jazz, blues and world music TV series across the globe, and is syndicated in 80 countries. They’ve been awarded as the “Best Music TV Series” twice by the Billboard Music Awards, along with winning Emmy, Pele and Telly awards.
“I’ve had so many artists tell me that they have never had an opportunity to play with other musicians at other festivals,” he said. “Over the years, at our past Maui Jazz & Blues Festivals, these artists have been able to develop new friendships as well. It definitely makes my heart feel good to bring these amazing artists to Hawaii and to share them with our community. I must admit that it’s sometimes overwhelming with all the logistics in producing the festival with so many obstacles, but somehow we always make it all come together. The musicians have such a lovely time here on Maui and once they experience our festivals, they always want to come back to paradise.”
JAZZFEST VISITING MUSICIANS
Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Bobby Watson received his formal music training from the University of Miami. After graduating, Watson earned is bandstand “doctorate” as the Musical Director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1977-1981). After dozens of recordings with the Jazz Messengers, he became an even more sought after musician playing with folks like Max Roach and Louis Hayes, George Coleman (saxophonist) and a variety of vocalists like Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Betty Carter and Carmen Lundy.
Later, Watson became a founding member of Horizon (who still tours on occasion), he led a nine-piece group known as the High Court of Swing, a group that paid tribute to Johnny Hodges. In addition, he was also part of the Grammy nominated 16-piece ensemble called the Tailor Made Big Band. He recorded more than 100 original compositions for the soundtrack for the film A Bronx Tale, Robert DeNiro’s directorial debut in 1993. Presently, Watson is not only a musician, but also a highly respected music educator as the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Director of Jazz Studies.
Instrument: Jazz Saxaphone
Accolades: 2 Grammy nominations
Most influential musicians: His father, Robert Watson, Sr. (a pilot who played saxophone in church), Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter
Who he’d love to play music with: Miles Davis, Cedar Walton, Duke Ellington
What he’s looking forward to on Maui: Exploring beaches, sightseeing, visiting restaurants and meeting all the musicians playing in the festival
Born and raised in Chicago, Jimmy Lane was surrounded by music from a young age. His father, Jimmy Rogers, was in the Muddy Waters band, so he was constantly exposed to incredible Chicago bluesmen like Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Mabon, Little Walter and Albert King, just to name a few. He began to play his father’s guitar at eight (which, he wasn’t supposed to), and recalls breaking strings and just putting it back in the case like his father wouldn’t notice. Later, Lane received a Gibson acoustic guitar as a gift from John Wayne. Although Lane played that guitar, it later got smashed and he didn’t play for awhile.
In 1983, Lane heard Jimi Hendrix’s version of “Hey, Joe” on the radio, and his passion to become a musician began to flourish. He purchased a used Harmony guitar from a pawnshop with his last $59, and spent every available waking moment of the next four years playing and practicing the blues. In 1987, he became the lead guitarist of the Jimmy Rogers Band, then formed his own bands–Jimmy D. Lane and the Hurricanes, then Blue Train Running. He toured extensively, then made his solo record debut in 1995. Since then, Lane’s played and recorded with a variety of artists like father, B.B. King, Van Morrison, “Pinetop Perkins,” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Snooky Pryor.
Instrument: Electric Blues Guitar
Albums: Sir Real, Long Gone, Legacy, It’s Time
Accolades: Inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2013
Most influential musicians: Jimmy Rogers of Muddy Waters (his father), Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, the Vaughan Brothers
Who he’d love to play music with: His father, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Dewar of the Robin Trower Band
What he’s looking forward to doing on Maui: Going to a luau with his wife
Fareed Haque was born and raised in Chicago. His father was from Pakistan and his mother was from Chile. As a child, Fareed traveled all around the world with his parents, being exposed to many cultures and international music genres. Later, he was given a guitar scholarship to North Texas State University, but after a year he transferred to Northwestern University to study classical guitar. While in college, he became a member of Howard Levy’s Jazz Fusion Group where he was introduced to his lifelong friend and mentor Paquito D’Rivera, a saxophonist from Cuba.
In the early 1980s, Haque recorded two albums for Pangea, a record label founded by Sting. He also began to tour with Sting, and this is when he received his big break in the music business. In addition to the many albums and bands that Haque has been featured on and involved with, he also teaches jazz and classical guitar lessons.
Instrument: Jazz Guitar
Accolades: Independent Music Award, “Best World Guitarist” by Guitar Player Magazine
Most influential musicians: John McLaughlin, Pat Martino, Grant Green, John Williams, Paco de Lucia
Who he’d love to play music with: Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans
What he’s looking forward to doing on Maui: Seeing lush forests and wildlife, soaking up the sun and visiting restaurants
Jo-El Sonnier was born and raised in Rayne, Louisiana. His first language was French-Cajun and he began to play the accordion at three. By six, Sonnier had already started performing on the radio, and he cut his first recording at 11. He plays music in both the country and Cajun music genres. In the 1970s, Sonnier was signed to Mercury Nashville Records, and throughout his career has been signed to Rounder Records, RCA Records, Capitol Records, Green Hill, Takau Records and more. As an accordion prodigy, Jo-El has played with and recorded with a variety of musicians around the world. Known as the undisputed “King of Cajun” for over 25 years, he’s played alongside artists like Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Robert Cray, Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello and Dolly Parton.
Instrument: Cajun and Country Accordion
Accolades: aka “King of Cajun,” Inducted to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Grammy Award
Most influential musicians: Iry LeJeune, George Jones, Hank Williams Sr., Buck Owens, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard
Who he’d love to play music with: Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Hank Williams Sr., Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Kid Rock, Van Morrison, Elton John, Jimmy Buffett
What he’s looking forward to doing on Maui: Meeting Hawaiian people, visiting beaches, Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon for breakfast and dining at Fleetwood’s on Front Street
Born in Missouri and raised in Denver, Javon Jackson was raised in a musical family. His mother played the piano and his father played the trumpet, and it was when he was young that he began to play the saxophone. As a teenager, Jackson transitioned into a Tenor Saxophonist, taught by Billy Wallace. Like Bobby Watson, Jackson’s professional music career began while playing with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1987-1990). Before launching his solo career, Javon played with the Harper Brothers, Benny Green, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones and more.
Although his background is jazz, Jackson’s solo career has also been fused with soul, funk and bop genres. He’s recorded under labels like Criss Cross, Blue Note, Palmetto, Smoke Sessions and his own label, Solid Jackson. Jackson makes frequent appearances at live music events, night clubs and music festivals throughout the world. He’s also the Director of the Jackie McLean Institute at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
Accolades: Benny Golson Award from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Most influential musicians: Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane
Who he’d love to play music with: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan
What he’s looking forward to doing on Maui: Meeting the people of Maui and learning the stories of Hawaii’s rich history
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Although there are a variety of events to choose from and attend, Friday’s Main Concert at the Four Seasons Resort’s oceanfront lawn most definitely should not be missed. The evening will feature all of the festival artists, both local and visiting. It will be a rare chance for the community to enjoy an eclectic mix of jazz and blues genres with combined skills and talents, surprise jam sessions and more. With the unrivaled environment that the Four Seasons Resort always provides, mixed with incredible sunset views, and a five-station gourmet JazzFest cuisine created by Chef Craig Dryhurst’s culinary team, this will certainly be a night to remember.
Thursday, Sept. 7:
5-7pm: Jazz & Blues Kickoff Party w/Benny Uyetake, Rock Hendricks and a few surprise artists. Free. Duke’s Beach House (130 Kai Malina Pkwy., Ka`anapali)
6-9pm: Jazz & Blues Sunset Party w/Jazz Alley TV Trio (Paul Marchetti, Mark Johnstone, Dave Graber) and a few surprise artists. Free. Hula Grill (2435 Ka`anapali Pkwy.)
Friday, Sept. 8:
6-10pm (gates open at 5:30pm): Main Concert with all local and visiting JazzFest artists. Cost: $150 per person/ Premium VIP Front Row Table of 10 for $2k. Ticket includes a 5 station gourmet JazzFest meal prepared by the Four Seasons Resort’s culinary team. Four Seasons Resort Maui, Oceanfront Lawn (3900 Wailea Alanui Dr.)
Saturday, Sept. 9:
2-4pm: Upcountry Event with John Zandgrando and Gene Argel. Free. Enchanted Floral Gardens of Kula (2505 Kula Hwy.)
6-9pm: Hana Hou JazzFest Celebration with Jazz Alley TV Trio (Paul Marchetti, Mark Johnstone, Dave Graber) and all visiting JazzFest artists. Free. DUO Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Maui (3900 Wailea Alanui Dr.)
6-9pm: Hana Hou JazzFest Celebration with Benny Uyetake and Rock Hendricks. Free. Ferraro’s e Ristorante at Four Seasons Resort Maui (3900 Wailea Alanui Dr.)
7-11pm: Hana Hou JazzFest Celebration with John Zandgrando and Gene Argel. Free. Hotel Lobby Lounge at Four Seasons Resort Maui (3900 Wailea Alanui Dr.)
To purchase tickets for the seventh annual Maui Jazz & Blues Festival, visit Mauijazzandbluesfestival.com.
Cover design: Darris Hurst
Photo of Bobby Watson courtesy Bobbywatson.com
Photo of Jimmy D. Lane: Marc Cooper
Photo of Fareed Haque courtesy Fareed.com
Photo of Javon Jackson courtesy Javonjackson.com