Jazz in Hawaii

Dear Editor

I wonder if this might be of interest to jammers – it is an account of some jazz aspects of our recent trip to Hawaii.


Doug and I were recently on holidays in Hawaii and had some very enjoyable jazz experiences which might  be of interest, especially for anyone planning a visit there.

In Honolulu, we caught outstanding local group, the Satomi Yarimizo group, joined by a very hot visiting New York sax player, Robert Sheps,  in a well thought out tribute to Miles Davis and Gill Evans. As well as being bowled over by the music, we learnt heaps about Gill Evans’ under-appreciated role in Miles’ career. The club is called The Dragon Upstairs and is in the heart of Honolulu’s Chinatown, and we were encouraged to emulate many of the other patrons who had their tables laden with food from home and local restaurants.  The local jazz tragics were very friendly and pointed us in the direction of several other enjoyable events.

Jackie Ward is a local woman in her 90’s who has been hosting a semi-private weekly Sunday afternoon gig at her home in suburban Honolulu for 35 years!  We arrived to a house in a quiet suburban street, heartened by the sign on the door ordering us to wait until a suitable break in the music. The band was a “little big band” of a good standard, lifted exponentially by Robert Sheps again.  Food was on the agenda  again, and we felt right at home as we’d been enjoined to bring food and drink to share, which we did with around 100 people crowded into a  spacious living room.

Another unusual gig was also associated with food. It was at  Gordon Biersch, a lovely ocean-side restaurant at the Aloha Tower, and we had the pleasure of hearing the apparently legendary jazz ukelele exponent Benny Chong who turned out to have been in Melbourne recently for a jazz ukelele festival.

We also heard some excellent mainstream jazz on the island of Kauai, most notably in the lounge of the very posh St Regis Hotel in  Princeville, accompanied by to die for sunset and ocean views.

Cheers Marion

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