After backing Keali'i Reichel earlier in the year, the Maui Pops Orchestra returns to the MACC with a Spring Fest concert based on the theme of a Las Vegas review featuring veteran jazz singer Jimmy Borges and pianist Hyperion Knight. Besides the acclaimed pianist and singer the program will include magician Cameron Keyes and an Elvis Presley contest.
Known for the diversity of his repertoire, Knight's recordings range from Beethoven and Stravinsky to Gershwin and the Beatles. In addition to regular appearances with orchestras across the United States, he has been a featured entertainer at Manhattan's Rainbow Room and Essex House, and he makes frequent concert presentations on luxury cruise lines.
A Gershwin enthusiast, he has recorded two CDs devoted to unique arrangements of Gershwin's music, and frequently performs "Rhapsody in Blue" and the "Concerto in F," most recently with the Santa Fe, Long Beach, Tennessee and New Mexico symphony orchestras. "Not since Heifetz has anyone played Gershwin solos with this much panache," praised an American Record Guide review. "The songs glitter like jewels against black satin."
Maui Pops Orchestra photo
Pianist Hyperion Knight will join Maui Pops Orchestra and Jimmy Borges Sunday at the MACC
Photo courtesy the MACC
The aptly named “Generations” concert will feature father-and-son duo Howard (left) and Sam Ahia Friday at the MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater.
Accompanied by the Maui Pops Orchestra with guest conductor Jim Durham, Knight will play Rachmaninov's romantic "Piano Concerto No. 2," and a solo Gershwin medley.
Singing professionally for more than 50 years, Borges was bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Na Hoku ceremonies last year. Performing in a range of venues, from night clubs to casinos, from symphony concerts to jazz festivals, he has appeared in movies and TV shows including "Magnum, P.I." and "Hawaii Five-O."
A frequent performer in Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra honored Borges by providing free access to his musical arrangements. He was allowed to select from a library of more than 2,000 arrangements ones that he wanted to use in concert. He chose 68, which Borges has estimated are worth about $750,000. Borges is reportedly the only singer ever allowed complete access to Sinatra's legendary musical arrangements. He will sing the best of Sinatra on Sunday.
* Maui Pops Orchestra, with featured guests Hyperion Knight and Jimmy Borges, performs in the MACC's Castle Theater at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10, $21, $26 and $36 plus applicable fees, and half-price for kids 12 and younger; available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
* Sam and Howard Ahia perform in the MACC's McCoy Studio Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $25 plus applicable fees, and half-price for kids 12 and younger; available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org. Pre-show food and beverages are available starting at 5:30 p.m. in the courtyard.
* Mojo Gumbo and Latitude 21 N performs in the MACC's McCoy Studio Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10, $25, plus applicable fees; available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
"I sing the music the way it's written; I'm faithful to his music," Borges has said. "I try to invoke that inherent sense of honesty in the singing. When Frank sang ballads he never hit you over the head with it and you still believed him when he said he loved someone or was devastated by a broken love affair."
The Elvis Presley competition will feature the top three performers from auditions held on Feb. 27 at the Maui Mall, hosted by Jerry Eiting. Contestants were required to wear Elvis costumes, and sing one of six Elvis songs including "Hound Dog" "Jailhouse Rock" and "Blue Suede Shoes."
Magician Keyes, billed as "An Above-Average Who-dini," will perform his illusions while the orchestra plays a musical medley.
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Exceptionally talented father and son Sam and Howard Ahia team for a "Generations" concert in the McCoy Studio Theater on Friday evening. The veteran jazz guitarist/vocalist and rocking son will split the show between their respective genres. "I will do a segment, then Howard will do a segment with his band, and then Howard and I will play as a duo," says Sam Ahia.
Born and raised in Honolulu, this gifted guitarist has been featured at many jazz festivals in the islands. Over the years he's played Hawaiian music at a Polynesian review in Vegas, worked with Loyal Garner, Jimmy Borges and Don Ho, and often jammed with George Benson. Currently playing five nights a week at Kimo's, Sam has been working on two new albums, a jazz and gospel project at Lahaina's Maui Recording studio.
"I have a jazz album with a lot of vocals where I'm collaborating with bassist Billy Peterson from the Steve Miller Band," Sam explains. "We've got other national artists on it like tenor sax player Bob Malach (Stanley Clarke, Robben Ford) and an amazing piano player Peter Schimke (who used to live on Maui)."
The amazing array of leading artists involved also includes Miller Band harpist Norton Buffalo, keyboardist Ricky Peterson (Prince, Bonnie Raitt, David Sanborn), trumpeter Jim Rotondi (Ray Charles) and New York pianist David Hazeltine (Freddy Hubbard).
Following up on his superb "It's Killing Me" album, Howard Ahia has also been in the studio working on an acoustic ballads project. Howard's band features Bob Harrison on bass, Josh Greenbaum on drums and Fulton Tashombe on keyboards.
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Two Maui bands, Latitude 21 N and Mojo Gumbo, team on Saturday in the McCoy Studio Theater for an exceptional evening of jazz, Latin, R&B and Brazilian music.
Latitude 21 N features some of our hottest jazz players: Bob Harrison on bass, David Choy on sax and Sal Godinez on piano and vocals. "We're primarily doing some of my original stuff and original arrangements of cover tunes, and we'll do some jazz standards," says Sal. The striking versions of cover tunes include a sublime take on Kui Lee's "Beautiful Kauai." "I do it completely differently with a spacey feel," he continues, "and we'll do the Beatles' 'With a Little Help From My Friends,' which is also very different."
The trio will be augmented by Sal's sister, percussionist Estaire Godinez, and drummer Stokley Williams of the R&B band Mint Condition. An acclaimed percussionist and wonderful vocalist, Estaire toured with George Benson for four years and with Prince in the late '90s for a couple of years.
A versatile keyboardist adept at a broad range of music from classical to jazz and Latin, Sal was recently featured in a New York Times article on Maui spotlighting his Friday evenings gig at the Four Seasons Resort. Bob Harrison's extensive repertoire includes working with renowned Brazilian percussionist Airto, vocalist Flora Purim, and Indian virtuoso violinist L. Subramaniam. One of Hawaii's leading saxophonists, David Choy has played with many popular artists including the Doobie Brothers, Chaka Khan, and The Temptations.
As their name implies Mojo Gumbo serves up a delicious stew lightly flavored with dashes of R&B, blues, folk, Latin and funk. These seasoned musicians, guitarists/vocalists Steve Grimes and Ken Kennell, bassist/vocalist Cliff Collins and drummer Kerry Sofaly, all friends who have known each other for many years, have just released a captivating debut CD.
From the breezy, tropical strains of "Sailed Away" and the midnight creep of "Something Like That," to the Brazilian samba "Paraiso Secreto" (sung by Steve in Portuguese) and the smoldering, rocking funk of "Do You Feel It Too," the album reflects diverse influences. "It's a mix of so many styles," says Steve, who is known internationally for his guitar making expertise. "It's hard to categorize."
One of the album's highlights, "Over The Waves," pays moving tribute to Mana'o Radio co-founder Barry Shannon. "This man was on a mission," Steve sings on the song he composed. "He put magic everywhere."
"Barry was recording a live Mojo Gumbo CD when he passed away," says Steve. "I was pretty close with him and I wrote it on Easter Sunday. Now it's become a signature song for Mana'o Radio, and Kathy (Collins) dances a hula to it."
With "Mojo Gumbo" out, Steve is now focusing on an exciting solo project where he will team with some of the famous musicians he has made guitars for. "I'm recording next week with Norton Buffalo, and last week I recorded with Rick Vito," he reports. "Walter Becker and Larry Coryell said they will play on it, Pat Simmons said he would, and I'm working on George Benson."
Latitude 21 N also play Cafe Marc Aurel in Wailuku the first Thursday of every month, but tonight only Sal and Estaire Godinez will play.
Contact Jon Woodhouse at email@example.com.
* This story includes a correction from the original published on Thurs., Mar. 5, 2009, reflecting the correct starting time for the Maui Pops Orchestra concert.