2019 musical lineup
Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a musician, composer, educator, and author who plays the drums, vibraphone, ukulele, and studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He has released multiple albums in the United States, Japan, and South Korea and has been featured at ukulele festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Reno, Chicago, New York, and Hawaii.
Andrea Lindborg, a trumpet player and composer from the Marshall Islands. Andrea graduated with a BA in jazz performance from Oberlin Conservatory and received an MA in arranging from Berklee College of Music. She toured and recorded with the Afrobeat Orchestra “Kokolo,” appearing as a featured soloist on “More Consideration.”and toured the US and Europe with the modern jazz band “Diva.” Here in Hawaii, she composes original works and performs with Blue Jade, Nowelo, Bump City, The Jazztones, The Olliephonic Horns, the Kamuela Philharmonic, the Kona Choral Society Orchestra, and other groups. She is co-director the Big Island Music Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young people through music education and performance.
Allison Adams Tucker is a California based multi-lingual jazz vocalist
Since 2005 Tucker has found the most natural fit to be jazz. The genre's freedom of expression and intellectual tilt were both appealing, as was its openness to absorb styles and accents from throughout the vocalist's travels. She has studied and sings in 6 languages besides her own, lived in Japan and Spain, and has traveled to over 15 countries. This "wanderlust" is present in the music she chooses today— with rhythms, melodies, and lyrics of Brazil, Italy, France, Latin America, Japan, and the US. For Allison, it's all about the human connection, and music is the universal language.
Bradley Leighton brings a unique and powerful sound to flute. His style of swing evolved from listening to the hi-octane big bands of Kenton, Herman and Ferguson. In addition to recording and performing, Bradley Leighton has continued to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for music as a clinician and teacher. As a Yamaha Recording Artist, he leads workshops for musicians of all skill levels, including, "Jazz Improvisation for the Classically Trained Flutist," and "Music For Life - Improvisation for the Adult Amateur Musician." Mr. Leighton also leads a jazz flute choir for adult amateurs living in the San Diego area. Whether onstage, in the studio, or in the classroom - Bradley Leighton is one of the most entertaining, skillful and knowledgeable flutists of his time.
Bassist Brian McCree has been a pillar of the Boston music scene for decades, performing with Bobby Hebb, Alan Dawson, Jackie Byard, Pharoah Sanders, Rashied Ali, Ricky Ford, Joe Bonner, John Hicks, Ronnie Burrage, Peter Laroca Sims, Jimmy Owens, Dave Liebman, Clifton Anderson, Nancy Dussault, Makanda Ken McKintyre, Alvin Batiste and Warren Smith. The music is swinging, deep and soulful. McCree has paid his dues on a thousand bandstands and his playing features no frills or affectations. With a commanding tone and time feel, he anchors and propels the band, and when his turn to solo arrives, plays all the good notes.
Seattle native, Deems Tsutakawa, is a renowned smooth jazz keyboardist. He studied classical music from the age of 5 to 15, and then moved into jazz. Deems has a style of music so appealing that his name has rapidly become well known to jazz fans across the nation, Canada, Japan and throughout Europe. He has opened for the likes of Spyro Gyra, Maynard Ferguson, Roberta Flack and has played with Hiroshima, Joe Williams and Kenny G.Deems has established himself internationally as a distinctive and imaginative writer, arranger, producer and bandleader, as well as explosive solo pianist. With his roots planted firmly in an Asian American upbringing, Deems' music has evolved into a delectable blend of R&B, pop and mainstream jazz that he calls "contemporary soul jazz."
DeShannon Higa is a renown jazz trumpet player both in Hawai‘i and New York City. His professional experience spans over 20 years and has performed in famous venues such as Birdland, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Radio City Music Hall. His talents have been heard globally, having performed in Japan, China, Okinawa, Mexico, and Europe. He has recorded with major artists such as Jake Shimabukuro, Keali’i Reichel, Fiji, Jimmy Borges, Raiatea Helm and much more as well as mastered his own style of jazz, enveloping the traditional with the modern, EDM, acid music, and now, the lavish scale of the orchestral.
Originally from Philadelphia, Doug MacDonald began his career in Hawaii, where he played with Trummy Young and Gabe Balthazar, and with DelCourtney at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Relocating to Las Vegas, Doug found himself immersed in a vibrant music scene, and began playing in lounges and showrooms with jazz greats, including Joe Williams, Carl Fontana, Jack Montrose, and Carson Smith. On to Los Angeles, Doug played in the bands of Bill Holman, Ray Anthony, and John Clayton, and performed and recorded with Jake Hanna, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Sheldon, Bob Cooper and Ray Charles. Doug also began recording and performing with his own trio and quartet, as well as his 13 piece ensemble, The Jazz Coalition.
Elena Welch is a jazz and blues vocalist greatly influenced by her 10 fun and formative years of living in the music city of Chicago, Illinois. She has a degree in voice from Columbia College Chicago where she studied under the direction of William Russo, Stan Kenton’s musical director. Elena lived and performed in the Bay Area for 15 years where she often returns for appearances in San Francisco, Sonoma and San Mateo counties.
Elena also resided on the Big Island of Hawaii for over eight years where she performed regularly with her quintet as well as with Island Swing Orchestra, a 17-piece traditional swing big band. Elena has been performing for over 30 years in her home town of Chicago, as well as San Francisco, Sonoma County, Big Island of Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Rome, Paris, and Tokyo.
Jason began performing at the age of 16 touring up and down the east coast with the Dramatic and Musical group “Uprising”. He then pursued a performance degree at Berklee college of music in Boston and lated finished at Virginia Commonwealth University whose alumni include drummer Nate Smith, saxophonist Steve Wilson, and bassist James Genus. Jason performed with Ravi Coltrane, Nate Smith, Jeremy Pelt, Sam Kininger, NOBS brass band and the Temptations among others. Jason enjoys performing various genres with many of the most talented musicians Hawaii has to offer. Jason recently released his first solo project which is a collection of chinese folk songs arranged for jazz for western instrumentation.
Jeannine Guillory - Kane is an acclaimed vocalist in Hawaii. Her background in Jazz, Reggae, Pop and Rhythm Blues all lend to a strong, versatile sound and energy that gets her audience and peers alike to stand up and applaud her amazing voice and on stage presence. She has studied Jazz and Classical music as well as musical theatre. She played the part of “Sheila Bryant” in the musical “A Chorus Line”. Jeannine has performed at venues throughout Europe, South America and the United States. A popular mainstream vocalist throughout the Big Island of Hawaii and continues to appear at selected venues around the island including the East Hawaii Jazz Festival , Gertrudes Jazz Club. She has been featured as one of the "Divas of Jazz" at the Volcano Arts Center.
Award-winning composer and guitarist Jeff Linsky has been sharing his creative "pianistic" approach to the solo guitar with audiences around the world for over thirty years. He has performed in many of the world's finest concert halls and played privately for Presidents and Royalty. With a remarkable gift for improvisation and an endless repertoire that includes many styles of music, "Linsky's talent is the stuff guitarists' dreams are made of." (Guitar Player Magazine)
Larry Dupio is an amazing Blues guitarist. He won the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award last year for his Rock album Lightnin’ Strikes Hilo. You wouldn’t believe the stories he has to tell, especially the one where he met Muddy Waters in 1979, the year Muddy passed. The way Larry tells it, he puts you right there with him in this little shack behind the Waikiki Shell, smelling the big stogies Muddy was smoking…long story short, Larry promised him to keep the blues alive. And he sure has done that, by playing the blues 40 years later, improving his craft, and working with musicians who inspire him and keep him striving to inspire others.
Loren Wilken works as a full-time jazz and classical pianist on the Big Island. He composes music in many styles ranging from children songs, pop, new age, and jazz to classical, orchestral, and choral music. Wilken has 4 songs in circulation with MUZAC and has had 2 tracks played on Oprah and Dateline. His tracks can also be found in various music libraries catalogs in the United States and Europe.
The Oregon native has been dubbed “Portland's Boss of the B-3” by The Oregonian because of his key role in the local resurgence of the organ group sound. Louis has worked with most of Portland's top blues, soul, and jazz artists as well as leads his own groups of varying size & style, including the King Louie Trio who will be performing at this years Jazz & Blues Festival.
B-3 specialist Louis Pain, tenor saxophonist Renato Caranto and local drummer Bruce David are set to perform for this years festival. They’re out to prove that their blues grooves are the result of authentic feeling and a matured discipline in improvisational spontaneity.
Matt Spencer found music as a teenager, as a way to channel his creative energy, and stay out of trouble. In 1998, Matt moved to Colorado to tour around the country and world; playing, recording, and teaching locally. He also contributed to the thriving West African music scene, playing dundun and djembe, for many of the resident local West African community. In Colorado, Matt led his own 10-piece salsa band for 5 years and was Musical Director for the Cleo Parker Robinson dance company. In 2005, Matt returned to his birth place and home of Long Beach California, where he plays locally in the LA and Orange County music scene, and works as a dance accompanist at University of California, at Irvine.
Oregon native Rob Scheps began studying the tenor saxophone at age nine. He grew up on Long Island, New York. After having graduated high school at age sixteen, he enrolled in the New England Conservatory. He received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies with Honors in performance in 1986. While living in the Boston area he led his own groups; most notably the True Colors Big Band. In 1988 he moved to New York, formed the Rob Scheps Core-tet and Bartokking Heads and established himself as a formidable force on the jazz scene.
Russ earned the coveted drum chair for legendary funk/horn band Tower of Power in 1989, where he performed alongside famed bassist Francis Rocco Prestia. McKinnon toured internationally with Tower of Power for the next 6 years, playing nearly 900 shows. His work with TOP, what many people call the “funkiest band in the world”, eventually led to him being honored five consecutive years (1992-1996) as a winner of Modern Drummer magazine’s prestigious Readers’ Poll Award.
The UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra, under the leadership of musical director Trever Veilleux, works throughout the school year to bring the University of Hawai’i at Hilo Performing Arts Center some of its most cherished performances. With every show the Orchestra pursues an exciting selection of music featuring an ever-changing lineup of student musicians. The University’s Spring Semester sees the Orchestra select a new theme of popular and challenging songs, while the Fall Semester hosts the recurring community-favorite, the Orchestra’s annual Frank Zappa tribute concerts.
Ethan prides himself on being a keyboard nerd, messing around with synthesizers and Ableton Live day and night. He spends most of his time preparing for upcoming gigs, constantly having to learn and discover new music, charting and transcribing songs, or working on his sight-reading. Ethan's one wish is that more people put a higher value on live music and understand that live music is special, essential, and has its own intrinsic value as an art form. He believes that just as being open to different kinds of people enriches your life, so too does being open to different kinds of music.