All of the local and Mainland jazz stars invited to Lihue, Kauai’s St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church’s upcoming jazz festival feel incredibly blessed. They get to be in a part of paradise most only dream of, and worship with the music they know and love so well, jazz.
St. Michael’s on Hardy Street will open its doors February 1-3 for the jazz celebration of a lifetime, with two concerts and a Sunday Jazz Mass tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. Father Bill Miller and his church have invited some premiere jazz artists to the worship.
All of these artists bring something unique to the grand table. They’ve won awards, played with big names, and carved out their own brand of jazz on various recordings encompassing straight ahead, be bop, hard bop, post bop, New Orleans, and dazzling forward-moving fusions.
The next John Coltrane? Austin saxophonist Elias Haslanger leads off the Friday, February 1, 7 p.m. concert with his updated, smooth and supple, classic jazz. The First Ladies of Jazz — Seattle’s Greta Matassa, Chattanooga, TN’s Valerie Duke, and Switzerland/Arlington, TX-based Hedreich Nichols — take over, with their renditions of “The Great American Songbook, Part 1.” New Orleans jazz pianist Matt Lemmler, and Hawaii bassist Dean Taba and drummer Abe Lagrimas Jr. fill out the line-up as special guests.
Mainland transplant David Braun fortifies his jazz trumpet with classical, soulful sweeps. He fits right in as the Saturday, February 2nd, 7 p.m. opening act. Braun grew up in Wheaton, IL playing his trumpet for St. John Lutheran Church. A devout Christian, Braun’s faith informs his music, as witnessed on his debut album, “Audience Of One.” The Waimea Canyon Middle School music teacher worked on the album with guest artists Taba, Lagrimas Jr., and pianist Michael Ruff. They’ll join in on the concert too, along with the return of the First Ladies of Jazz, wrapping up their Great American Songbook.
Tickets for the Friday and Saturday night concerts are $35 per person if paid in advance and $40 at the door. There is limited seating, so buy tickets now. The church office, open later (9 a.m.-4 p.m., Tues.-Fri.) for the jazz festival, will also sell the tickets — cash or checks only.
Every church should have Sunday Jazz Mass, a perfect way to honor the Lord. The 7th annual All Angels Jazz Festival ends with a glorious 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. service. This year’s Sunday Jazz Mass pays tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and features the Kauai All-Star Choir and Jazz Band, and their directors Matt Lemmler, Randy Leonard, and Henry Adam Curtis. There is no charge to attend jazz mass, but please tithe generously.
St. Michael’s is located on 4364 Hardy Street in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii 96766. Call (808) 245-3796, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more info.