Edit ModuleShow Tags

Blue Note Hawai‘i is Making Waikīkī a Jazz Destination for Locals

As Blue Note Hawai‘i turns one, it’s hitting its groove.


Kenny G

When Grammy-award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti emerges from the side room by the stage, he’s wearing a smart blue suit that complements the room. He’s holding a 1939 Martin Committee large-bore Handcraft trumpet and is accompanied by a half-dozen other artists on piano, drums, guitar and bass. Tonight is a celebration. Not just for Botti and the band (“We’re ready to let loose,” he warns the crowd, to cheers and applause), but also for this venue. At Blue Note Hawai‘i, tonight is its one-year anniversary.


Last year, Blue Note Hawai‘i opened in the main showroom of the Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort, which hosted four decades of performances by the Society of Seven. The 9,000-square-foot space needed a big makeover, but a $3.5 million renovation turned the aging club into a sleek and elegant venue. Today, Blue Note Hawai‘i seats more than 300 guests for two performances, at 6:30 and 9 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year.


Blue Note Entertainment Group president Steve Bensusan says, “What everybody told me before we went in is that Waikīkī isn’t a locals destination; people don’t really like to go into Waikīkī. But they’ve really embraced [Blue Note Hawai‘i]. It’s great to see.”


Sure, there’s a $10 food or drink minimum per set, but with stars that include Chaka Khan, Kenny G and Herb Alpert, it’s a reasonable price for a concert with front-row seats.


Blue Note Hawai‘i keeps up the tradition of the famed New York club by showcasing incredible talent. Last year alone, performers included Chick Corea, Kamasi Washington and the Roy Hargrove Quintet, as well as local artists Henry Kapono, Jake Shimabukuro, Amy Hānaiali‘i and Willie K.


Expect more great jazz and some new twists in 2017. “We’re starting a comedy series (Roseanne Barr, April 9); we want to have more expanded genres, like reggae, that people want to see,” Bensusan says.


Tonight it’s Chris Botti, who, over the course of this packed, 90-minute show, will bring on stage a classic violinist, an R&B singer-songwriter and an opera singer. The crowd is right there with Botti; nodding, smiling, drumming their fingers on tables, applauding. This is Blue Note at its best.


2335 Kalākaua Ave., at the Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort, bluenotehawaii.com, 777-4890.




Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine March 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags



Here’s How Hawai‘i Responded on Social Media to the False Ballistic Missile Alert

Ward Warehouse

A false alarm caused by human error sent the entire state of Hawai‘i into panic mode.


Twitter is Going Nuts Over Barack Obama’s Backward Hat and Rubbah Slippahs


Vacation mode: Activate.


6 Things You Need to Know About Rat Lungworm Disease Before You Eat a Salad

Rat lungworm disease

Everyone’s talking about the recent disease outbreak affecting the Islands. Find out what it is, where it comes from and how you can prevent it.


Here’s How to Survive a Possible North Korea Nuclear Strike in Hawai‘i

North Korea

What you need to do according to the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense.


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

Explore 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls and more.



Edit ModuleShow Tags