By Léo Azambuja
Get your dancing shoes out. Even with all that jazz, the organizers of the 7th Annual Red Clay Jazz Festival included rumba and ballroom in this year’s event. And yes, there will be blues too.
“We’ve grown from 300 people in a one-day event (in the first year) to 1,200 people in a four-day event,” said Judy Arrigo, the event’s chair.
The festival will climax at Kaua‘i Lagoons June 28 with a performance from jazz vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur, a six-time Grammy winner from Washington State. She overcame being born blind to become one of the most decorated American jazz musicians, with a career spanning for nearly three decades and including an eclectic repertoire.
Kaua‘i jazz band Swing Shift and nationally acclaimed Chicago-based blues band Mississipi Heat will open the Kaua‘i Lagoons concert.
But on the three days preceding the three-band concert, multiple performances around the island will offer plenty of music and dancing.
“On Wednesday and Thursday we’re featuring four different local groups in four different locations,” said Arrigo, adding those will be free performances starting at 5:30 p.m. and going until 7 or 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 25, will be all about straight up jazz. Treysara will play at Common Ground restaurant in Kilauea, Kaua‘i’s North Shore, while the Mark Pulice Trio will play at an outdoor courtyard at the Shops at Kukui‘ula mall in Po‘ipu.
Then on Thursday, June 26, Rumba del Fuego will bring their jazz and blues with a Latin flair to Aloha Beach Resort. On the same day, the Hank Curtis Trio will perform traditional jazz at Aupaka Terrace at the Kaua‘i Marriott and Beach Club Resort at Kalapaki Beach.
Also on June 26, there will be three workshops — song writing, slide guitar and harmonica — at Kaua‘i Beach Resort, each costing only $10.
“The one big thing that is different (this year), is Friday night we have a concert at Kaua‘i Beach Resort,” Arrigo said. “We never had a Friday night concert.”
Hawai‘i’s premier jazz performer Jimmy Borges and Hawai‘i’s “First Lady of Jazz” Betty Loo Taylor will headline the concert at the resort’s Jasmine Ballroom on June 27.
“Jimmy (Borges) is one of those people who plays a lot of Frank Sinatra, so we’re setting a part of the ballroom for dancing,” Arrigo said.
She added tickets are on sale. A combined rate or $55 is available for those attending both Friday ($30) and Saturday ($40 in advance, $50 at the door) concerts.
Saturday’s concert will have food from six local restaurants, with emphasis on locally grown ingredients. Also, Zero Waste Kaua‘i will be there to make sure most of the trash is recycled rather than going to the island’s landfill.
Visit redclayjazz.org or call 822-3148 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets or more information on musicians and schedule.