IN MEMORY OF...
Gabe Baltazar will pay tribute to Abe Weinstein at Sunday's jazz festival.
A fitting tribute to Abe
This weekend's Windward version of the Hawaii International Jazz Festival will go on, despite the recent death of its most passionate promoter.
Hawaii International Jazz Festival
On stage: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
Place: Great Lawn, Windward Community College
Admission: Free (no coolers, but beach chairs and blankets allowed)
Also: Free clinics at the college's Paliku Theatre, 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, with musicians David Choy and Abe Lagrimas Jr.
» 11 a.m.: Chris Yeh Quartet
» Noon: Marine Forces Pacific Band
» 1 p.m.: Honolulu Jazz Quartet with guest Cory Funai
» 2 p.m.: Kelly Covington Quartet
» 3 p.m.: Gypsy Pacific with guests Covington and Gene Argel
» 4 p.m.: Tribute to Abe Weinstein featuring John Kolivas, Jeff Peterson, Gabe Baltazar, DeShannon Higa and Larry Cook
» 5 p.m.: Castle High School Jazz Band
» 6 p.m.: Bobby Thursby & Velvet
Abe Weinstein was found dead in his Kapiolani Boulevard apartment Jan. 29, and his friend and festival co-producer Dana Ritchie Fujikake has been trying to put on a stoic face in light of his passing.
But Fujikake started to tear up a bit when reminded that she'll have to carry out Weinstein's plans Sunday without the man himself, his clarinet in hand, ready to join the festivities.
"Abe's health had been failing when I first started working with him," said Fujikake. "He had extreme challenges with his diabetes, heart and eyesight. He had a double bypass last March. He was unable to walk unassisted for several years, and was legally blind."
While a memorial is planned on and around the 16th, Fujikake said the festival will be held in Weinstein's memory, and a 4 p.m. tribute will recognize all that the tireless jazz advocate did over the past 14 years.
Admission and parking will be free. There will be seating for up to 200 under a tent covering the stage on the Windward Community College lawn.
Without Weinstein as the usual emcee, Fujikake said guests will take over, including Brickwood Galuteria, longtime festival volunteer Jim Shon and festival board member Duane Yee. Mayor Mufi Hannemann will also make remarks, and he'll announce the winners of a jazz art poster contest for Windward intermediate and high school students.
Bassist John Kolivas, who will perform with the Honolulu Jazz Quartet, will also join a tribute band to feature slack-key guitarist Jeff Peterson, veteran saxophonist Gabe Baltazar and trumpeter DeShannon Higa.
"We'll be looking forward to playing the music that made him happy," said Kolivas. "We were pretty close friends for 28 years, even when I was living in New York. It's a big loss for the jazz community, and I'm hoping that the festival will continue."
Fujikake said she and Weinstein were pleased to get a couple of fine Maui musicians on the bill in powerhouse singer Kelly Covington and pianist Gene Argel, who played the Kapolei festival in November.
FUJIKAKE LATER remembered, via e-mail, her time working beside Weinstein.
"Though the jazz festival was going into its 14th consecutive year, we only worked together ... for the last eight years. We were a two-person office, working as volunteers for the nonprofit organization Abe had created.
"To many, Abe was a living treasure and great advocate of live jazz music, supporting the local musicians, creating scholarships for young music students and creating affordable world-class jazz concerts in high-end venues. He had overcome so very many obstacles -- in business, the arts, health, etc., (that) I thought him invincible. He had taken his dream, the Hawaii International Jazz Festival, from a four-day summertime festival to one of 11 major festivals in the (state) and expanded to seven major festivals year-round on different islands."
She listed additional accomplishments of their time together: research into Hawaiian swing dating to the early 1920s; their show about swing, "Mele No Ka Oi"; a Hawaii Theatre show, "Swingtime in Hawaii."
"It was a sellout each night. It brought back wonderful memories to our senior community, and the youth found themselves just as spellbound by the wonderful sounds," wrote Fujikake.
"It was truly an honor and privilege to work alongside such a committed visionary. Abe had no family -- I was his family. I will miss him forever -- we all will."
Kelly Covington will join in the tribute at Sunday's jazz festival.
John Kolivas will join in the tribute at Sunday's jazz festival.
Jeff Peterson will join in the tribute at Sunday's jazz festival.
DeShannon Higa will join in the tribute to Abe Weinstein.