Top artists to play free shows in Front Street Jazz and Blues Walk
LAHAINA — Seeking to “spark Lahaina” in a month that lacks events, Bill Burton and the Maui Jazz Society are ready to debut the Front Street Jazz and Blues Walk.
The new event will feature free concerts at the Hard Rock Cafe, Longhi’s, Kimo’s, Captain Jacks, MauiGrown Coffee Co. and the Pioneer Inn on April 15-17.
A diehard jazz fan with decades of experience in staging shows, Burton arranged the festival in about three months.
“It came together quick, and the response was great,” said Burton, who owns Sir Wilfred’s on Front Street.
Hard Rock Cafe signed up as a sponsor and will host two days of concerts. Sales and Marketing Manager Jill Holley commented, “Together, the community can do many great things. We just need a little organization.
“Hard Rock tries to ‘fight the good fight’ — to give back and rally for our community. Community events are excellent opportunities to celebrate with family and friends,” added Holley, who is leading the Maui Chamber of Commerce West Side Committee’s campaign to raise money for a Fourth of July fireworks show in Lahaina Town this summer.
“This is what Maui is about — enjoying the simple things in life. The jazz walk is a free, no cover event created for bringing our ‘ohana. Simply put, it’s for slowing down and sharing in the small pleasures in life.”
Burton is happy with the lineup assembled by progressive jazz sax player David Choy, which includes legendary jazz pianist David Paquette, Fulton Tashombe and Kelly Covington (contemporary jazz), Bob Jones & The Drive (blues), Ron Metoyer Blues Rock & Soul Revue featuring Bobby Ingram, Renata De Moraes & The Brasil Connection (Brazilian jazz), Shiro Mori & Friends (contemporary jazz), Keoki Ruiz & Friends (smooth jazz), Sal Godinez & Bob Harrison (contemporary jazz), Benoit Jazz Works (jazz standards), Chris Galfis (jazz guitar) and Sam Ahia (jazz standards)
“It’s such a blend of jazz and blues in general — there’s something for everybody there,” said Burton.
He explained that people new to jazz might not realize its wide range of styles.
“The span of jazz is so huge — blues all the way to contemporary jazz,” Burton said.
He loves jazz as a “true American art form” that originated in the south — New Orleans and Mississippi — and rose to prominence in Chicago.
“Jazz is as popular as it’s ever been,” he added.
The free concerts will begin Friday, April 15, with Tashombe and Covington playing at the Pioneer Inn from noon to 3 p.m. Also on Friday, Metoyer’s band will perform at the Hard Rock Cafe from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., Galfis will play at MauiGrown Coffee from 2 to 4 p.m., Ruiz will play from 2 to 5 p.m. and Jones from 6 to 9 p.m. at Captain Jacks, De Moraes will take the stage from 6 to 9 p.m. at Longhi’s and Paquette will entertain from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Pioneer Inn.
Saturday’s lineup includes Godinez and Harrison from noon to 3 p.m. at the Pioneer Inn, David Choy & Slam at the Hard Rock Cafe from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., Benoit Jazz Works from 2 to 5 p.m. and Jones from 6 to 9 p.m. at Captain Jacks, Ahia at Kimo’s from 5 to 7 p.m., Mori at Longhi’s from 6 to 9 p.m. and Paquette at the Pioneer Inn from 6 to 9 p.m.
The grand finale with the Lahaina Jazz & Blues All-Stars (featuring Paquette) will be held Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Pioneer Inn.
Burton wants the Front Street Jazz and Blues Walk to grow into a destination event that visitors plan trips around.
Holley also sees the potential of the new Lahaina festival.
“There are music festivals nationwide. With our beautiful town and the excellent weather, we have an opportunity to carve this into a great event. Food vendors and street activities that complimented this brand would be a wonderful addition,” she said.
Front Street Jazz and Blues Walk sponsors include the Pioneer Inn, Kimo’s, Capt. Jacks, Hard Rock Cafe, Longhi’s, Hula Girl, Lahaina Pizza Company, Maui Jim, MauiGrown Coffee Company, Office Max, Edward F. Zwick, Maui Downhill, Maui Brewing Co., the County of Maui, Best Publishing, Sunshine Helicopters and Beverly Will/Keller Williams Realty Maui.