What the Heck?
COURTESY OF ROY KIMURA/VERTIGO PROJECTS
Jimmy Borges sang Monday at a PBS Hawaii taping. On bass is Steve Jones, on drums is Noel Okimoto and on tenor sax (and in shadow) is Matt Catingub. CLICK FOR LARGE
Borges has a hot time in a cold studio
Last Monday, PBS Hawaii taped a new jazz special called "Jimmy Borges: After Hours." It was way, way after hours. The musicians rolled into the PBS studios about 7 a.m. "I used to go to bed about this time," Borges said.
Matt Catingub had gotten to bed at 1:30 a.m. Bass player Steve Jones had rolled home after a gig about 2 a.m. As everyone yawned around the coffee and breakfast bars, it was clear that Borges had assembled an A-Team of local jazz musicians: drummer Noel Okimoto, looking fit after a kidney transplant a year ago; saxophonist Gabe Baltazar; pianist Betty Loo Taylor; and singer Pauline Wilson.
Even the soundman was top-of-the-line -- veteran producer and former Kalapana keyboard player Gaylord Holomalia.
The studio was lit up with purple lights, looking like an after-hours nightclub. It was also about 60 degrees, good for the equipment, not great for the musicians. Taylor at the piano wondered if she could play in mittens. "And what's with all that fog?" she asked. A small machine in the corner was supposed to make the room look like a smoky bar. "Nobody can smoke in bars anymore," she said.
"I've got to get my crew warmed up, too," said executive producer Michael Harris. Some of the younger camera operators clearly weren't jazz fans. Harris would say, "Camera Two, move to Gabe." Bass player Jones filled the screen. "No," said Harris calmly. "Gabe plays saxophone."
The room stayed cold, the musicians got hot. When Baltazar began playing a Charlie Parker tune called "Star Eyes," so rhythmically tricky the intro is in 7/4 time, everyone else just fell in.
Borges stepped up to the mike, and apparently ageless at 73, began to swing through a series of jazz standards, the band wailing behind him. One of the 20-something PBS interns said in amazement: "I didn't know who he was, but he can really sing."
The show airs in early August. A DVD is in the works.
Out to Lunch:
The Hawaii Grand Sumo Tournament is in its final day today at the Blaisdell Arena. Last Thursday, I had lunch with the 38 sumotori in town for the event.
There's an irony about having a media lunch with sumo wrestlers. They eat, you don't. You simply watch in admiration as, in their summer kimonos, they shuffle through the buffet line at Shanghai Bistro four and five times, washing down the meal with 22-ounce Budweisers.
You don't want to get between sumotori and his lunch, noted Hawaii's own yokozuna-turned-stablemaster Musashimaru. Up at 4:30 a.m., they skip breakfast, stretch for an hour and work out for several more -- a routine that can cause them to lose 10 or 12 pounds in a single morning.
"You have to put that weight right back on," said Musashimaru. Someone asked what happens if they got too heavy. "If you go on a diet, you're in trouble," said the former champ. "If you're not big, you're gonna get killed."
Art Fan: North Shore artist Margo Goodwill made a rare appearance in town last weekend for her show at the Kim Taylor Reece Gallery. Goodwill painted the "waving palms" mural formerly on the wall of the Wave. Her latest creation features palms painted on various strips of canvas, loose and layered on top of each other. When there's a breeze, the painting moves, just like palms in the wind.
To make sure there's breeze where you hang it, the $1,200 artwork comes with its own stylish little Honeywell floor fan.
Packed House: Reactions to the Nobu Waikiki opening last Tuesday varied, some calling it the "party of the year," others complaining, "It was too packed to move, too loud to hear." More than one person told me that Nobu partner Robert DeNiro was in the crowd somewhere. No. He was in Massachusetts filming.
The star chefs all turned out: Alan Wong, Philippe Padovani, Hiroshi Fukui, Chai Chaowasaree, Bev Gannon. George Mavrothalassitis said he'd known Nobu for 19 years. "He was not the Big Nobu then."
Nobu apparently had such a good time, he extended his stay. If you want to eat with Nobu still in the kitchen, you have most of this week.
Free Jazz: Next Saturday, Honolulu's wild man of the jazz piano, Les Peetz, leads a quintet at the Honolulu Art Academy, featuring vocalist Rachel Gonzales. If you haven't heard her, you should.
The evening of jazz improvisation is free, sponsored by a grant from ABC Stores. ABC Stores? Says Peetz, "They're a responsible family corporation that supports the arts, which is not true of everyone in this town."
Ninth Island News: Emme Tomimbang's no gambler, so her biggest thrill during four days at Caesars Palace was discovering there's a whole shopping center attached to the Vegas hotel.
"I want to go back," she says. "I couldn't shop as much as I wanted. I had to work." Taping an "Emme's Island Moments" with pro golfer Dean Wilson and the SOS, who are the No. 1 Vegas showroom act in their somewhat odd time slot, 3 p.m.
Tomimbang ate at Jean-Marie Josselin's Caesars Palace eatery, 808, where Celine Dion, who sings down the hall, drops by to speak French with Jean-Marie. Tomimbang filmed an announcement that next year at Caesars, Dion will be replaced with Hawaii girl Bette Midler. Emme's Vegas show airs June 28 and 30 on KHON-TV.