restricted access Chapter 7 Retire? Hah!
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176 Retire? Hah! And when I retired, I told a writer for one of the newspapers that I was going to spend the rest of my days playing jazz, and that’s pretty much been the story. I probably should have mentioned that I’d be playing golf, too, because that’s still a sport I love, even if I keep my handicap pretty high. But, music-wise, Hawai‘i was chopping through the ’80s and ’90s and later. I was playing as many jobs as I could take, and nice ones. Eleise was keeping my calendar straight, and those years, my“retirement”years, we were taking five, six, seven gigs a week, because I was doing a lot of different scenes. The scene in Hawai‘i was great, because there was work on all the islands. Musicians were busy because we were working for conventions. Well, I should say “incentive groups,” because that’s what they were, big companies that fly their top sales people or executives out to party in Hawai‘i as a reward for busting their buns selling what they sell. So we’d hop around like fleas on a dog, from band to band and island to island, playing Casino parties, Motown parties, and M*A*S*H* parties. We’d do Dixieland breakfasts, six in the morning, straw hats, blue sleeve garters on white shirts, red-and-white striped vests, the whole deal. And loud. Trumpet, trombone , clarinet, piano, banjo, bass or tuba, drums wailing, playing the hell out of “Darktown Strutter’s Ball”or“Limehouse Blues.” Then we had mainland shows that came in to Hawai‘i, and I played all those. The Four Tops, the Temptations, Ray Charles, Bob Hope. They came in almost every year. Liza Minelli, Sammy Davis, Frank Sinatra, Tiny Tim, Glen Campbell, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Maureen McGovern. They all came in. Hal Linden . Hank Mancini came down. Then we did shows like Cats, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Phantom of the Opera. They were big then. And I had a lot of those calls because I did all the doubles, always the doubles. We played all kind of other things too. Fundraisers.Wedding shows. Pro Bowl activities. The Hawaiian Open. We’d play“entrance music”for speakers,“walk-on” and“walk-off”music for folks who won a prize. Five seconds of a tune while they walk across the stage to the microphone. We’d do jazz gigs for executive parties, 7 R e t i r e ? H a h ! • 177 where we’d fly in and play a sunset dinner for six or seven bigwigs at a beachfront place on Maui or the Big Island. We played Bill and Melinda Gates’wedding on Lana‘i in the early ’90s. So those kinds of things. That was the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, traveling the Kona Coast to play the hotels, over to Maui to play Kapalua or Kihei or Ka‘anapali, up to Kaua‘i to play a show at the old Kilohana Plantation. And you talk about Kaua‘i, man, you got to know Hamura’s Saimin in Lihue! I love that place. Every time I go Kaua‘i, that’s the first place I go. I make sure that I have saimin from Hamura’s. We all used to go after gigs. We’d always say to Clyde Pound, piano player and contractor,“Hey Clyde, don’t forget now, after the gig we’re going to Hamura’s.” And Clyde’d say, “Who all wants to go?” And we’d all raise our hands. Clyde, by the way, was a bit like Al Lapin, the Al Lapin of Honolulu. He always had funny sayings. You’d say, “Clyde! How you doing?” and he’d pretend he was offended,“What do you mean by that?”Or if somebody on the radio says,“Damages are estimated at thirty million dollars,” Clyde would say, “Thirty million! That’s more than I make in a week!”So Clyde kept it light on the road in Hawai‘i. We had great gigs on Maui with Henry Allen, another contractor, a guitarist and singer. Henry was booking gigs over there and he was a golfer, so we played a lot of golf tournaments where we’d do golf and music. So that was nice. The wife, Sherron, she’d make sure we had the best hotel and golf. Then we played a lot of jazz at all kinds of background music cocktail...


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Subject Headings

  • Jazz musicians -- Biography.
  • Saxophonists -- Hawaii -- Biography.
  • Baltazar, Gabe.
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