Due to the uncertainty of the 2020 October status of the covid-19 pandemic on the Big Island,
the board members of the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial Inc. postponed the
8th Annual East Hawaii Jazz & Blues Festival. However, we will be waiting and watching the
ongoing evolution of the covid pandemic with the possibility of an 8th J&B festival some time
in 2021. Check back from time to time for possible updates.
Deems Tsutakawa, was a favorite jazz performer for each of the last 7 years at the veterans Annual East Hawaii Jazz & Blues Festival at Nani Mau Gardens and played before that at a house party for HIVM board members here in Hilo when we first started our fund raisers more than a decade ago.
Deems died in Seattle, his home town, on February 25th after a long battle with cancer, and we will miss him. He was a much-sought-after favorite performer over many years at dozens of jazz venues in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area.
Deems looked forward every year to our festival and kept his health up to make his annual trip. He outlived his diagnosis by 7 to 8 years. He was always friendly, optimistic and enthusiastic during the times he spent in Hilo. A question often asked while selling tickets to our event was, “Is Deems going to be here ,this year?” He developed a big fan base in Hawaii. He released “Deems and Friends Live in Hawaii” in 2018. It was nominated for Jazz Album of the Year by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. That album is one of 17 that he leaves as a recorded legacy. Click here for a succinct but in-depth Seattle Times biography of his life.
Checkout his website for some videos: https://deemsmusic.com/