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“I can do that!”

August 26, 2014
Louise Lambert - Contributing Writer , Maui Weekly

Still flying high from singing at Jazz Maui 2014 with Duke Ellington Orchestra Director Tommy James and Moonglow All Stars, I am elated to play and sing with Maui's world-class jazz musicians.

Raised in a musical family, my first gigs were with my brothers. In college, coming from music, improv and theater training, I heard a dynamic soul singer, and said, "I can do that!" I acted like a singer and got the job.

Choosing a journey as a jazz singer lead me from the funky bars of Buffalo, New York, to the upscale venues of Toronto, Dallas, Chicago, New York, San Diego and Los Angeles, playing and singing for listening rooms, music festivals, TV shows and concerts.

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It is my pleasure to write Hot Notes to promote the great live music on Maui!

I sang with commercial rock bands, jazz quartets, and sang and played with clown bands, our Lambert Lee Family Band and with big bands. I led my own bands as well--soul, eclectic, folk/jazz and cabaret--and did radio, recording, commercials, variety television performances and shows with Roberta Flack, Zoot Sims and Moe Koffman.

Playing piano helped to support me in the music business.

I found I could say what I wanted to say as a singer-songwriter, and my original song "Peace In Our Hearts" became a No. 3 adult contemporary hit in Canada.

We came to Maui 17 years ago. I walked into Kahale's in Kihei, carrying two bags of groceries, and got a gig two nights a week. Maui welcomed us with open arms.

Curt Lee--guitarist, MIDI master and my former husband--is now the music director at Unity Church, and plays Fridays and Saturdays at Sargent's Fine Art in Lahaina.

We joined the Maui Symphony Big Band, which led to concerts at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center with Howard Johnson and Gabe Baltazar. We found swing dancers and a need for a swing band. I said, "I can do that!"

In Toronto and Los Angeles, recently, visiting family and teaching voice workshops that my students hosted, many said how they are still benefiting from the vocal techniques I taught them years ago. Now we Skype lessons.

With the influence of being in the Institute of Hawaiian Music, interviewing many of our great Maui musicians and playing with many of them (including Marcus Johnson and Mitch Kepa), I am inspired to incorporate more Hawaiian jazz stylings on my recordings and gigs.

Hawaiian Soul Man Kepa joins me Friday, Aug. 29 at Three's Bar and Grill in Kihei (1945 South Kihei Road).

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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