The 2012 Maui Invitational Music Festival will stage the Jazz and Blues Fest at several venues in Kaanapali and Wailuku from Thursday, June 21, through Sunday, June 24.
This celebration of America's original musical art forms will feature performances by well-known jazz artists from the Mainland, such as vocalist Sacha Boutros and saxophonist Rob Scheps, along with popular local performers Colin John, Henry Allen, Ginai, SLAM! featuring David Choy and Kelly Covington, Vince Esquire, the Gene Argel Trio, Mana'o Radio Blues Band, Shiro Mori Trio and more.
On Thursday, June 21, the "Transpacific Bluesman," Colin John, will perform free at 5:30 p.m. at the Royal Lahaina Resort. Based on the Big Island, John is internationally regarded and recognized as a unique musician possessing world-class skills on acoustic, resonator and electric guitars.
Internationally known jazz singer and composer Sacha Boutros has performed around the world and played with such artists as Julio Iglesias and Marvin Hamlisch, among others. At his 90th birthday celebration, legendary singer Frankie Laine introduced Sacha as his ingenue, saying “with practically perfect pitch, her musical sophistication and elegance are timeless.”
Also on Thursday, the Shiro Mori Trio with special guest Henry Allen will take center stage at Whalers Village from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Originally from Japan, jazz guitarist and pianist Mori studied, performed and recorded in New York before moving to Maui in 1982. Adding an island touch is Hawaii-born teacher, author and virtuoso Allen, a recognized master of the Hawaiian steel guitar. Admission is free.
The music continues on Friday, June 22, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Whalers Village with performances by the Shiro Mori Trio, Colin John, Gene Argel Trio (including Paul Marchetti on drums and, from the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, Lenny Castillanos on bass), Henry Allen, author Gwyn Gorg reading from her book, "I Am the Blues," and special guests. Admission is free.
Jazz vocalist Sacha Boutros and saxophonist Rob Scheps headline the Jazz and Blues Concert on Saturday, June 23, at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. The lineup also includes Colin John, Vince Esquire, the Shiro Mori Trio, Gwyn Gorg and the Mana'o Radio Blues Band. The show beings at 6:30 p.m.; tickets are $10.
Scheps plays saxophone, flute and clarinet. A composer and arranger originally from Oregon, he studied at the New England Conservatory and moved to New York in 1988, where he formed the Rob Scheps Core-tet and Bartokking Heads and established himself as a formidable force on the jazz scene.
Esquire, one of the most popular guitarists and ukulele players on Maui, has been featured with and opened for such music luminaries as Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman Band, The Allman Brothers, Los Lonely Boys, Little Feat and many more. He also plays with the Mana'o Radio Blues Band along with Don Lopez, Les Adam, Dorothy Betz and Mike Buono.
Later on Saturday night, SLAM! featuring David Choy will perform at Jazz Club Maui at the Royal Lahaina from 9 p.m. to midnight. Choy has performed and recorded with artists such as the Doobie Brothers, James Ingram and Patti Austin. Maui's premier jazz and R&B vocalist Covington is the newest addition to the band. The other members of SLAM! are George Tavoularis (keyboards), Alan Villaren (guitar and vocals), Michael Kennedy (drums) and Jay Molina (bass and vocals). The cover charge is $15, and dining and drink packages are available. Call (808) 661-3611 for reservations.
Son'z at the Hyatt Regency Maui is the place to be on Sunday, June 24, at 6 p.m. for a free performance by Tropical Swing with a Touch of Cool Jazz featuring Henry Allen and special guest songstress Ginai. Patrons can dine and dance, or just enjoy the waterfalls and swans as they listen to island-style smooth jazz played by some of the islands' best.
Throughout the festival, Sacha Boutros, Rob Scheps, Clay Mortenson, Omar and the Soultones and other artists will make special guest appearances at various scheduled events.
The Maui Invitational Music Festival is presented annually by Arts Education for Children Group (AECG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for artistic and cultural enrichment.
The festival takes place throughout the year and includes a wide variety of concerts, classes and workshops for music lovers of all ages.
It is supported by county Office of Economic Development, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Mana'o Radio, Maui Recording, Royal Lahaina Resort, Son'z Restaurant and Whalers Village.
For a complete schedule and more information, call (808) 283-3576 or visit www.aecg.org.