In the Mix: Blue Note adds local artists
BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
As Blue Note Hawaii continues to settle into its new home at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, the jazz club with roots in New York City will feature an increasing number of Hawaii-based acts and turn to a familiar theme on Sundays.
Featuring Starr Kalahiki
» When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 16-18 (doors at 5 and 9 p.m.)
ANUHEA AND FRIENDS
Featuring Paula Fuga
» When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 19-21 (doors at 5 and 9 p.m.)
THE ROUGH RIDERS
» When: 6:30 and 9 p.m. March 31 through April 2 (doors at 5 and 8:30 p.m.)
Following a pair of concerts by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro at the beginning of January, it’s taken a little time for Blue Note management to find the right lineup of performers. When I spoke with owner Steve Bensusan before the venue’s soft opening in December, he said there were no immediate plans to feature local artists other than Shimabukuro.
“It’s all about forging alliances with the right people and getting their input to provide the right type of entertainment,” he said at the time. “We’re just now really getting into programming some local events, so you’ll see things pop up over the next few months.”
Three things popped up at the start of February, when it was announced that Don Tiki featuring Starr Kalahiki, Anuhea and The Rough Riders will all get multi-night runs over the next few weeks. Don Tiki will play at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 16 through Feb. 18, followed by Anuhea featuring Paula Fuga and “other special guests” at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 19 through Feb. 21.
The Rough Riders — Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland — wrap up this round of local love with performances at 6:30 and 9 p.m. March 31 through April 2.
“It was very important to Outrigger that our local artists be part of the ongoing music lineup,” said Sean Dee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Outrigger Enterprises Group, in a release announcing the shows. “It is exciting to see (Blue Note Hawaii) moving forward with providing opportunities for our Hawaii musicians to perform in this world-class showroom.”
A number of local musicians will be involved with Blue Note Hawaii’s Gospel Brunch, a weekly event that launches on Easter Sunday, March 27. Doors will open at 11 a.m. Sundays for brunch, followed by a 1 p.m. performance by the Blue Note Gospel Choir. The newly-formed band features lead vocalists Riya Urei Davis, Christina Souza and David Harris backed by music director Jeannette Trevias, producer Scott Baehrens and drummer Bonny B.
Also in the works are Friday and Saturday Late Night Jam Sessions that will feature “legends alongside the best local musicians Hawaii has to offer,” according to the club’s website. Jam Sessions will follow regularly scheduled performances at Blue Note Hawaii and typically won’t get started until 11:30 p.m. each night.
Blue Note Hawaii officially opened last month with special guest Kenny G. More than $3.5 million was spent renovating the former Society of Seven Showroom at the Outrigger Waikiki, turning the 9,000-square-foot space into a state-of-the-art performance venue.
Recently announced shows include:
» Maxi Priest, Feb. 25-27
» Kamasi Washington, March 14-16
» The Blind Boys of Alabama, March 22-23
» The Wailers, April 4-10
» Lee Ritenour, April 12-17
» Hiroshima, April 26-May 1
» Ravi Coltrane May 17-22
Unless otherwise noted, headliners typically play two sets each night at 6:30 and 9 p.m. A full menu will be available with chef Rodney Uyehara in charge of the kitchen. For a complete list of showtimes, ticket prices and additional information, call (808) 777-4890 or visit www.bluenotehawaii.com. A 15 percent discount on tickets is available to Hawaii residents and military with valid ID; validated parking is available at the Ohana Waikiki East, 150 Kaiulani Ave.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.