Remembrances of the First Annual Jimmy Borges All Star Jazz Festival at Blue Note Hawaii
RELEASE NUMBER 64 | 17
HONOLULU – Blue Note Hawaii welcomed local jazz musicians and fans of the late Jimmy Borges to the first annual jazz festival held in his honor at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort performance venue on July 30. It was a night to love and remember Jimmy Borges, Hawaii’s gentleman of jazz. The Blue Note Hawaii tribute show was a night of musical aloha that likely had Ol’ Gorgeous Borges smiling from above. Shari Lynn, JB’s longtime partner in song, hosted and headlined with three other musical luminaries who had some link with him, largely as an influential and legendary jazz figure.
It was dubbed as the First Annual Jimmy Borges All-Star Jazz Festival and turned into a time of sharing and reflection with the backup from an all-star jazz combo of folks who accompanied him with during his five-decade reign on the musical scene. The night opened with a five-minute video recap of Borges’ life, edited from a TV biography helmed by Phil Arnone, where JB sang “Fly Me to the Moon” interspersed with vintage images, newspaper ads and classic photos from the Borges scrapbook.
Shari Lynn sang many songs of remembrance and other tunes Borges favored.
Other contributors to the evening included opera and Broadway-style show trouper Kip Wilborn, Tony Award-winning singer Loretta Ables Sayre and the incomparable jazz-blues icon Willie K. The all-star band featured Jim Howard on piano, Dean Taba on bass, Noel Okimoto on drums, Mike Lewis on trumpet, and Rocky Holmes on flute and sax. All of these musicians backed up Jimmy at one time or another over the last 40+ years in Hawaii.
Vicki Borges, widow of the jazz giant, took the stage to formally introduce Charles Mukaida, the first recipient of a music scholarship bearing JB’s name at the University of Hawaii. Looking somewhat like a young Borges during his pre-Hawaii rise to fame, Mukaida showcased a sweet presence and powerful pipes, rendering “Someone To Watch Over Me,” clearly an unstated nod of appreciation to the entertainer who wanted to extend his legacy by supporting budding singers. Jimmy was never able to perform at the Blue Note club because of failing health, but the club wanted to formally “install” a Borges medallion on one of the tables, the first Hawaii star to earn that distinction … and that’s also when the idea of the jazz festival emerged. Vicki adds, “I appreciate all the loving friends and fans that wish to continue to honor Jimmy’s legacy. It is a legacy of giving back to the community and helping our young adults pursue a career in the vocal arts. To have Blue Note Hawaii honor Jimmy with a special medallion and booth dedication was beyond special. I know he was watching that night and was as humbled and appreciative as I was.”
“Blue Note Hawaii at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is an especially poignant venue to host a jazz festival for Jimmy Borges because he was an honored guest at its opening in 2015. As a long-time partner with UH and a Hawaii-based company committed to perpetuating music and culture, Outrigger is pleased to play a small part in continuing Jimmy’s tremendous legacy and supporting education initiatives for the state,” said Sean Dee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Outrigger Enterprises Group.
The evening raised over $9,000 and all proceeds from the event have been donated to the Jimmy Borges Endowed Scholarship in Vocal Music at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There are plans to have more similar events in the future.
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