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Maui Jazz & Blues Festival

Alluring sounds and legends to groove oceanfront venue.

September 22, 2011
Trisha Smith

Since the birth of jazz and blues, American music has taken various twists and turns—some good, some bad—but sagacious ears always seem to dig back into the soil of these refined fields while seeking comfort, quality and a reason to dance.

Experience a full spectrum of jazz and blues music—and nearly everything in between—during the first annual Maui Blues & Jazz Festival at the Grand Wailea on Friday, Sept. 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. and throughout the day on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The marvelous Grand Wailea is working in partnership with networks, Jazz Alley TV and MauiFEST Hawai‘i to present events highlighting the wonders of jazz—from bop, big band and cool contemporary to blues that have swept the Delta to the city. After enjoying much success during their nine years of arts and cultural festivals in Hāna, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i, Jazz Alley and HawaiiONTV are honored to host another music festival that includes such revered artists performing for the Maui community and visitors, according to Ken Martinez Burgmaier, Maui filmmaker and CEO of Jazz Alley TV and Networks. Organizers are thrilled and humbled to welcome such icons as legendary pianist Les McCann, a winner of multiple lifetime achievement awards and a soul jazz renegade from the ’60s. He has rubbed elbows with such icons as Miles Davis, and his early records have even been considered precursors to select Stevie Wonder compositions.

Article Photos

The cool and comfortable style of soul jazz pioneer Les McCann will dazzle the Valley Isle this Saturday, Sept. 24, during the first annual Maui Jazz & Blues Festival. Besides his lifetime of musical success, which includes the milestone jazz album Swiss Movement, Les’ creations go beyond the keys in his work as a photographer and “Band Whisperer.” Learn more at

“We understand the importance of the arts and are privileged to be able to assist with bringing a historical jazz and blues festival to Hawai‘i for all to enjoy,” Burgmaier said.

Over the last week, Maui has been ignited with jazz and blues soul-fire and delights during special events at such venues as Mulligan’s On The Blues and Stella Blues, with illustrious Maui talents such as David Choy and the SLAM band. The Valley Isle music celebration will culminate with a legendary weekend of funky fun and jazzy grooves on the Molokini Garden grounds at the Grand Wailea. (For details on Thursday’s pre-festival celebrations on Maui’s South Side, visit

Guests will be treated to performances by an exciting selection of dynamic performers, including Grammy Award and Nā Hökü Hanohano winners and nominees such as legendary keys master McCann; renowned saxophonist and bandleader Javon Jackson; jazz trombonist DelFeayo Marsalis; sax sensation Tom Scott; brass music man Skip Martin of Kool & The Gang and Dazz Band; New Orleans blues guitar great Brian Stoltz of the Funky Meters and The Neville Brothers; and Hawai‘i’s own treasure, the Brother Noland Blues Trio.

“This is going to be one of the premier jazz and blues festivals of the Pacific, if not the world. I am honored to be part of this historic festival,” said Scott, a three-time Grammy Award winner.

On Friday, Sept. 23, the Maui Jazz & Blues Festival lands at the Grand Wailea, when the resort hosts a “VIP Jazz Dinner” from 6 to 9 p.m., with exclusive blues and jazz guests performing. Master chefs from the Grand Wailea will serve a refined meal as guests enjoy the showcase. There is limited seating available; call 875-1234 for reservations.

Start Saturday on a decadent note and attend Wailea’s Sweet Paradise Chocolate event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with live “Piano Chocolate Jazz” from Sal Godinez and a tasty experience during this free event.

But make sure you save your energy to move that evening as the festival’s main events get into full swing from 4 to 8 p.m. Enjoy the first annual Maui Jazz & Blues Festival at the beautiful oceanfront stage of the Molokini Gardens and experience a supreme showcase of jazz and blues compositions.

Aside from the old-school players and groovy greats gracing the Wailea stage this Saturday, Hökü winner Brittni Paiva—one of Hawai‘i’s finest young ‘ukulele players—will display her jazzy string appeal during the festivities, along with a roaring performance from the Jazz Cats of Kalama Intermediate School’s ‘Ukulele Band. Zenshin Daiko Taiko Drummers will tantalize with a sunset performance.

Attendees may bring low-back chairs, but coolers or outside food/beverages are prohibited. Tickets are $20 and VIP Tables are available for $250 for 10. Purchase at the gate or online via

Steel guitar master Henry Allen will conclude the festival on Sunday, Sept. 25, with the Jazz Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Limited seating available; reservations can be made by calling 875-1234.

Also, the Grand Wailea is offering special accommodations for kama‘āina. For more information and reservations, call (800) 321-4666 toll-free and ask for the “Maui Jazz & Blues Festival Package.”



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