Musician, arranger, composer and vocalist, Jesse Snyder (also known as Jesse Now Jerome) is an aspiring and integral part of the music scene on the Big Island of Hawai’i. A movement that has growing appreciation for a healthy life full of culture, art and Jazz…music that is pure, enjoyable and illuminating.
I had a chance to speak with Jesse Snyder prior to his show with the popular swing jazz band Kahulanui at the Kahilu Theatre in Wamea. We crammed into a tiny dressing room and let recorder roll. The result was a spontaneous and fun conversation about Kahulanui’s new release, Snyder’s solo career, and plans for touring in 2018.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Snyder arrived in Hawai’i in 2009, and quickly gained a presence with a number of Big Island bands like the Slippersons, Olliephonics, Volcano Jazz Ensemble and occasionally as Jesse Snyder Jazz Trio and Gary Washburn & Friends. Adding to his versatility, he became a part of Bump City, a 4-horn funk band, and Peak, a neo-soul group. He has more recently added playing percussion and drums. Snyder currently performs in different bands at Kings Land, the Koa Table, Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar, Gertrudes, Red Water Café, and the Aloha Theatre, and enjoys studio sessions and doing horn arrangements for different groups and genres.
This interview was edited for space and clairity. Please click on the player below to hear the full interview.
Big Island Music: Tell me about the latest release for Kahulanui called Mele Hoʻoilina.
Jesse Snyder: The different thing about this latest album is that we basically built a whole big band in the studio. Bill Noble did the big band arrangements on this one, and we were able to do it live. It’s fun to play in any big band and a rarity nowadays.
BIM: There’s not a lot of big bands here on the island.
Snyder: We used to have the Olliephonics when the Blue Dragon was around.
BIM: Tell me some highlights about the show tonight.
Snyder: Tonight is actually going to be my debut of singing. On the album I sing the old Irving Berlin song “Heatwave,” but what makes it different is that I sing it in Hawaiian. I start in English then sing it Hawaiian.
BIM: Is there a Hawaiian version of the song?
Snyder: Yes, Sol K. Bright & His Hollywaiians did it. Our version is more laid back and “croony.”
BIM: Where does this show go from here?
Snyder: Hopefully we’re going to do this type of show here once a year. After this, we have a show at Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel on Valentine’s Day.
BIM: And what about you? What are you playing?
Snyder: I’ve been really lucky. I’ve been playing four gigs a week, which is amazing for the island. I know I’m one of the few that gets to play that much. On Mondays, I’m at Kings’ Land in Waikoloa, Wednesdays and Saturdays, it’s the Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and Fridays, I’m at the Red Water Cafe in Waimea,
BIM: What does 2018 look like for you?
Snyder: It looks like we’ll be on a long tour starting the end of July through the beginning of September.
To keep up with the energetic Jesse Snyder, please visit his website: http://www.jessenowjerome.com
Copies of the new Kahulanui CD can be purchased here: http://www.kahulanui.com/the-legacy-of-music.html
Featured image photo credit: Terry Warner.