Project Monday at Jazz Minds poster
Surprise guest musiciansLongtime friend and guitarist LaMonte DeMille happens to be in town for the next few weeks. LaMonte surprised the Project Monday cats by showing up unnannounced, guitar in hand, ready to play. After not seeing LaMonte for nearly 18 months, the band still finds the right chemistry to keep the energy flowing. Another surprise visitor, trumpeter Elliot Maker, came to play, too. He's never jammed with Project Monday, so there's some speculation whether his energy will blend with the group. After following a few tunes and feeling out the band, Elliot executes a string of exquisite solos—including "Watermelon Man" and "Sun Goddess".
Lamont DeMille: Project Monday at Jazz Minds
Bobo Butires: Project Monday at Jazz Minds
Having a good timeRight after the first break, musicians jump offstage to friendly banter amongst the crowd, teeming with energy from the 12 minute version of "Watermelon Man" they just finished. Bobo meets with Elliot for the first time, filling him in on Project Monday. Alvin and Bob bond with some old friends over drinks. The next set won't be starting for another 45 minutes, so everyone's simply having a good time. "No other clubs out there are doing this kind of thing right now," says Bobo. You can't find jam sessions like this in Honolulu, where some of Hawaii's best musicians collaborate in a wide-open platform with no restraints. Project Monday plays for tips. "Sometimes we make five bucks. Sometimes we make sixty," says Bobo. How is that sustainable? The musicians take advantage of Mondays at Jazz Minds to rehearse for upcoming gigs around town. The result is a relaxed atmosphere where the musicians move freely through the night, testing their solo chops and trying out new ideas.
Elliot Maker: Project Monday at Jazz MindsPlus, they can play till whenever—when I left at 1am Project Monday was just started their fourth set of the night, showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Earlier, Elliot Maker turned to me during the break and wondered if he should head home. He lives on the Leeward side, about an hour's drive from Honolulu. But Elliot stuck around, he wanted to play more. I've never been to Project Monday, but I've been to Jazz Minds. It's one of my favorite clubs in Honolulu. My favorite part of the night was probably Bob Hernandez grooving on his electric upright bass. He worked his instrument so well, the crowd responded with woos and cries of excitement.
Bob Hernandez: Project Monday at Jazz MindsBobo tells me it took he and Kirk a long time to find the right guys to jam with. When Bobo first got on a few years back, he almost left because the vibe wasn't right. Now, you can see it immediately, this team of passionate musicians believe in their music and communion.