By Dave Donnelly

Tuesday, February 16, 1999

Jazz fest posts
big winner

Mug shot IT gave new meaning to "Going Postal." I'm referring to Sunday's Downtown Jazz Festival, a Valentine to jazz fans which took place in the open courtyard of the downtown Post Office. There was something for every type of jazz fancier on the bill, ranging from John Norris and his Dixieland group to Jimmy Borges and Azure McCall with super-pianist Betty Loo Taylor, Rocky Holmes on sax, Steve Jones on bass and Jesse Gopen on drums. That was followed by a swing/be-bop session with Miles Jackson and more fine musicians, a Brazilian jazz group with a Japanese lead singer, Sandy Tsukiyama deOliveria singing Portuguese, and a jazz funk finale. Lots of food booths, an eclectic audience which ran the gamut in age from skateboarders to geezers. The setting was no doubt chosen by promoter Bill Yee because it's the site of his proposed $57.5 million Galleria Shopping Center, as grandiose a project as Hawaii has seen proposed in many years ...

Jazz beat continued

MY ears perked up when I heard DeShannon Higa and his quintet the other night. If this guy isn't the best trumpet player in Hawaii, I'd like to know who is. He reminded me of Pete Candoli, late of the Stan Kenton orchestra. And in a rare and potentially dynamite pairing, he and his group will be fronting the finely tuned Rocky Brown at the restaurant in the Honolulu Club on Friday. The aforementioned Borges calls Rocky, "One of my favorite singers" ... A final jazz note, Brew Moon G.M. Danny Vasquez and chef Aurelio Garcia were up in the wee hours last Friday to show off their Sunday Jazz Brunch dishes for roving reporter Manolo Morales of KHON-TV. Alas, after but a single segment, coverage switched to the impeachment vote and the rest of the remote was canceled. To top off the evening, Vasquez and Garcia were up all day preparing the press box catering for the Celine Dion concert at Aloha Stadium. Guess who must have slept in on Saturday! ...

HE'S famous enough now that when Yo-Yo Ma appears with the Honolulu Symphony on St. Patrick's Day, it's unlikely his name will again appear in the program as it did in 1986 as "Yo Ma-Ma" ... More prestigious national attention for local novelist Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Her new book, "Heads by Harry," is reviewed in the current issue of Atlantic Monthly, with the story of her "Blu's Hanging" being given an award, later rescinded, by the Association for Asian American Studies. The Atlantic Monthly critic called Yamanaka "a trenchant observer and one of the most original voices on the American literary scene" ...

AFTER spending three weeks vacationing in Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma), Star-Bulletin photographer George Lee arrived home just in time to see his photo of Richard Branson in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. The picture showed the British billionaire being rescued after his hot-air balloon was forced to set down in waters off Oahu. Lee has also been informed that National Geographic plans to use the photo this summer ...

Big shot

BACK from the "Shot Show" in Atlanta is Roy Toguchi of the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club. Aside from shooting club execs, the show attracts both gunsmiths and curious amateurs from around the world. One such gun enthusiast who was there: Tom Selleck, who has checked out the skeet shooting facilities at the Lodge at Koele on Lanai on more than one occasion. Toguchi stresses safety at his club and even hired ex-HPD'er Warren Kahapea to make safety a top priority ...

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

Contact Dave by e-mail: donnelly@kestrok.com.

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