The East Hawaii Jazz & Blues Festival is one of the most popular music events on the Big Island, drawing sell-out crowds of local and out-of-state guests. What started out 8 years ago as an intimate Sunday afternoon wine & pupu fundraiser at the former Nihon Restaurant in Hilo, has evolved into the largest ongoing Jazz Festival in Hawaii, featuring 11 acts on three stages. Held annually on the last Sunday of October at Nani Mau Gardens, the festival is the signature fundraising event for the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial Inc. The program features a lavish Pupu buffet, dessert station, wine and beer tasting, no host bar and non-stop music featuring some of Hawaii’s finest jazz and blues musicians along with highly acclaimed artists from the mainland.
In 2016 the festival expanded beyond Sunday into a weeklong series of performances featuring festival artists at various venues around East Hawaii. This culminates with the annual Black and White Night in downtown Hilo which has traditionally held on the First Friday of November. For the past two years an ensemble of Festival artists have been featured at Black and White Night. Now spanning the last Sunday of October through the first Friday of November, the East Hawaii Jazz and Blues Festival is poised to become the “Merrie Monarch” of Jazz and Blues for the state; a weeklong contemporary cultural arts event that will become another economic generator in East Hawaii.
The following artists will be headlining the 6thAnnual East Hawaii Jazz and Blues Festival:
Doug Mac Donald (LA Guitarist) and Allison Adams Tucker (vocalist), National Jazz Recording Artist, featuring Dean Taba (Bass), Ethan Capone (Piano), Darryl Pelegrini (Drums).
Deems Tsutakawa (Soul Jazz Pianist, Seattle) with special guest Bradley Leighton (Flutist, San Diego) featuring Dave Yamasaki (Guitarist, Oahu), Fred Li (Sax, Oahu), Owen Matsui (Bass, Hilo), and Steve Bader (Drums, Hilo).
Pacific Music Experiment (East Hawaii Jazz Fusion Ensemble) and Jessie Lane Powell (Lexington Kentucky Contemporary Jazz Vocalist). Featuring Michael Surprenant (Drums, Hilo), Sarah Bethany (Vocals, Keyboards, Hilo), Wes Matsuda (Guitar, Hilo), Matt Spencer (Bass, Hilo).
Keahi Conjugacion (Vocals, Oahu) and Larry Dupio (Guitar, Hilo) featuring Jeanine Guillory – Kane (Vocals, Kona) and Starr Kalahiki (Vocals, Oahu), Matt Spencer (Bass, Hilo), Ethan Capone (Piano, Oahu), Steve Bader (Drums), Fred Li (Sax, Oahu).
- Elena Welch (Vocals, Portland – former Big Island Resident) with Greg Hester (Piano, Bay Area) Brian McCree (Bass, Kona)
- Jazztones featuring JP Thoma (Sax, Hilo), Bub Pratt (Guitar, Vocals, Hilo)
- Moons Landing, featuring Moon Brown (Sax, Hilo), Gary Washburn (Keys, Grammy Award Winning Music Educator, Honokaa), Fred Hee (Guitar, Volcano), Bruce David (Drums, Volcano)
- Soul Town (Eastside R&B Party Band)
- Leonard Kubo and Jim Mardinly (Guitar Duo)
- Jazz x 2 (Bass & Sax Duo)
- Dean T & Doug M (Guitar and Bass Masters)
Proceeds to Benefit the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial Inc., A Not for Profit 501 (c)(3) Tax exempt organization