Singer Shari Lynn and her pianist companion Jim Howard launched a Saturday jazz format last year at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Paradise Lounge located in the hotel’s Rainbow Tower.

But all that jazz will come to an end this weekend, but appropriately, Shari (pictured below) and Jim will bring down the proverbial curtain this Saturday night (Jan. 27), since the hotel is changing to a Hawaiian format in the space in February.

In a town with many jazz stylists – vocalists and instrumentalists – but not enough jazz venues, it’s a shame. Hilton’s plan to resume Hawaiian music in the Paradise Lounge beginning February is not a bad tradeoff, since Waikiki hotels should offer island music, too. But the hotel doesn’t adequately promote the acts in this hide-away locale, so it’s rough going here.

The Paradise, clearly, is not so paradise-y, in that it is unabashedly a pass-through-corridor for visitors going to or coming from dinner. I’ve been there earlier when some walkers actually cross right in front of the performers. Further, the space has only a few seats where viewers can see the entertainers; two large pillars, which obviously help hold up the tower of hotel rooms, suggest that singers and listeners were not the intended tenants in the zone.

Word-of-mouth advertising – you know, the coconut wireless – has kept the club operational, with rotating jazz stylists like Ginai, Rachel Gonzales, Bruce Hamada, and  Tommy James on Saturday nights. Even vacationing warblers like Mary Gutzi has added credence and joy to the menu.

Jan Brenner has been the agent juggling the acts for gigs in the club for the past year. She’s looking for a possible jazz nook elsewhere. Meantime, Shari will set anchor at Medici’s at the Manoa  Marketplace, likely on March 2, with hopes of a once-a-month residency. Bassist John Kolivas will join Shari and Jim at Medici’s…

Pre-Grammy events at Kani Ka Pila Grille

Mahina Mele, a musical series from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (Jan. 25, 26 and 27) at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef Hotel, will be a preview of the forthcoming Grammy Week event in Los Angeles.

Ho’okena’s Horace Dudoit III, Glen H.K. Smith and Chris Kamaka, left, and Jeff Peterson, right.

The slate:

  • Thursday, Kawika Kahiapo and Kainani Kahaunaele.
  • Friday, Kahiau Lam Ho with Kala’e and Kalena Parish.
  • Saturday, previous Grammy nominees Ho‘okena with Jeff Peterson.

Pruden celebration of life is set

That earlier-announced celebration of life event for the late actress, Jo Pruden (pictured right) will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 18 at Manoa Valley Theatre. The beloved actress, often known as “The First Lady of Hawaii Theater,” died Jan. 10 at her Mililani home following a long illness. She was 84.

Her husband, Jip Pruden, is creating a commemorative T-shirt featuring a Corky Trinidad cartoon of Jo, with proceeds to be shared by MVT and TAG (The Actors Group), where Jo did most of her late-in-life acting and Readers Theatre performances…

Samson service will be private

According to folks in the know, the family of the late Kit Samson (pictured), the versatile and likeable leader of the Sound Advice group, indicate that the service will be small and private, restricted to family. It was unknown, if the service has already been held, or coming up shortly.

Samson , who was 89, led his show and dance combo for nearly a quarter of a century at the original Kahala Hilton, and helped put the posh resort on the map, the first outside of the traditional Waikiki tourism zone. His keyboard dynamics and low-profile personality, coupled with Danny Kaleikini starring at the next-door Hala Terrace, made for a dynamic combo.

His first gig was at the Waikiki Biltmore, run by his family, which was eventually developed into the Hyatt Regency Waikiki by Chris Hemmeter on  prime Waikiki real estate. Samson moved to the Kahala resort , which was to become the hub for vacationing notables and continues to attract celebrities now.

Because Samson and his Sound Advice were anchored in the Maile Lounge, which had to be accessed to get to the fabled Maile Restaurant, the music quickly became a passport and passageway to the restaurant. With his vast repertoire and  ability to recognize a “name” walking through the corridors, Samson commonly played a theme song associated with the star.

The Sound Advice originally featured  Anna Lea, who was  followed by Connie Kissinger, though numerous female vocalists had the privilege to chirp in  his spotlight.

Samson became fast friends with another poet of the piano, Roger Williams, of “Autumn Leaves” success, who visited Samson at his Kahala home and autographed Kit’s piano, and Burt Bacharach, the composer of numerous hit songs, who obliged to man the keyboards one night…

‘Lion’ again is king of the Broadway jungle

“The Lion King” is back where it used to be, ruling over the Broadway jungle. Missing from the Top Ten: “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Eking in a slot: “& Juliet.”

Here’s the Top Ten grosses, for the week ending Jan. 21:

1 – “The Lion King,” $1,813 million.

2—“Hamilton,” $1,762 million.

3–“Wicked,” $1,695 million.

4—”Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,688 million.

5 –“MJ The Musical,” $1,436 million.

6—”Gutenberg! The Musical!,” $1,163 million.

7—”Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,076 million.

8 – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1,074 million.

9—” Aladdin,” $1,051 million.

10—”& Juliet,” $974 million.

The full list of shows and grosses, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz …


  1. Generally, cover Blue Note acts with some priorities. Don’t know most of the comedic acts they book, and with short runs (1, 2, 3 nights), it’s over before I can report ’em. Same thing can be said of local comics, who do one-nighters, but coverage on these give the acts an opportunity to build up fanship or attendance in future gigs.

  2. Aloha Mr. Harada…Many thanks for your newsletter! Might you know the reason for the lack of late night entertainment in Waikiki? I THINK the only current venue is Blue Note. Is it because Hotels don’t want to spend on local artists? Hawaiian entertainment is being presented only in happy hours slots as far as I am aware. What a shame. There are many groups that are not only musicians, but also entertainers. The only option for a late night show are magicians, which I think a great, but should not be the only thing late night. Heck…you can’t even catch a late night movie in Waikiki, although the tea leaves are that theaters are on a endangered species list. Oh well, as a boomer, we can only wish and recall the good ole days.

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