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Makai Jazz Band

Good-time jazz.

August 11, 2014
Louise Lambert - Contributing Writer , Maui Weekly

Calling all jazz fans! The Makai Jazz Band plays sophisticated jazz on Thursdays at Mulligan's On the Blue.

Hearing this world-class jazz quartet reminds me of being in a New York club, albeit accompanying spectacular sunset views, where you can dine and dance and enjoy the indoor/outdoor space year round, creating a memorable jazz evening without leaving Maui.

Makai Jazz Band member Jimmy C plays percussion and croons on tunes like "Sway," "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans," "Slow Boat To China" and more. Jimmy leads a weekly Upcountry jam on Sundays, and I used to hear him wail with guitarist Johnny Ness' band playing Santana with infectious enthusiasm.

Article Photos

Maui Jazz Band members (left to right) Bruce Boege, Shiro Mori, Marcus Johnson and Jimmy C create good-time jazz.

Bassist Marcus Johnson enhances every song with his versatile playing. Highly in demand, he gigs almost every night with a who's who of Maui musicians and singers, playing jazz, Hawaiian, soul and any genre you can name.

Shiro Mori, Makai's pianist extraordinaire, is Maui's best-kept secret. He is a consummate pro, innovatively soloing, or tastefully supporting others. He is the jazz musician's jazz musician, knowing when to take the lead, when to lay out, when to sparkle, when to decorate and when to add flair or flourish. He plays piano at the Four Seasons on Wednesdays, choosing jazz repertoire from the masters like John Coltrane, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Thelonious Monk. Shiro is an excellent jazz guitarist as well, and it was a joy to work with him and Bruce on my recent studio recording.

Bruce Boege leads the band, playing soprano and tenor saxophones, from romantic sounds to buoyant bop. From the East Coast, Bruce had been coming back and forth for over a decade, settling on Maui two years ago. A studio sound engineer, Bruce's own mobile recording studio, Limin Music, is great for live events and intimate recordings. He played with me and the Moonglow All-Stars big band at Jazz Maui 2014, which was a great success with a full dance floor.

Bruce often plays sax and bass with Soul Kitchen at Fleetwood's on Front Street with Jimmy C, Michael Elam on keyboard, Naor Nave on vocals and guitar, sultry blues singer Tempa and violinist Andrea Walls. Soul Kitchen plays Saturdays at Mulligan's.

Makai Jazz Band creates good-time jazz.

"If its not fun, don't do it," said Bruce.

They can be reached at

A freelance writer, jazz vocalist and pianist, Maui Swing Queen Louise Lambert teaches voice, piano and "How to Sing and Play in a Band" workshops. She provides world-class musical entertainment and performs at Three's Bar & Grill in Kihei on Friday nights.;; (808) 205-3971.



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