Award-winning performer Katie Thiroux said she was 15 when she went to a workshop given by professional jazz musicians – an experience that helped her pursue her career in music.
Thiroux, who sings and plays bass and composes songs, hopes to create a similar experience for Maui high school students through her and other professionals offering free jazz workshops.
“It’s such a fun feeling,” Thiroux said. “It builds confidence.”
As part of the Valley Island’s celebration of International Jazz Month, the nonprofit Jazz Maui organizes the Maui Music Series, featuring free jazz workshops for students and live jazz performances.
The Maui Music Series is supported by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Community Enrichment Program and the Maui Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The shows are chargeable, but the student workshops are free and have grown from around 50 to hundreds of attendees, organizers said.
“We are pleased that student participation continues to grow,” said Bryant Neal, a Jazz Maui manager.
Neal, who has been running jazz education workshops for 20 years on Maui, said after several days of student workshops, Thiroux’s trio will perform at a Maui Music Series event on April 30.
Additionally, at the same venue, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Rock Hendricks will perform with keyboardist George Tavey and guitarist/vocalist Mitch Kepa.
Thiroux, 32, whose latest album “Off Beat” received “Best Album of the Year” from Downbeat magazine, will perform with pianist Justin Kauflin and drummer Matt Witek.
Record producer Quincy Jones once said of Thiroux: “That girl, that’s it.
Besides the United States, she has performed at international jazz festivals, including Mexico, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Singapore.
She lives in Los Angeles but has a grandmother who resides in Maui.
Thiroux’s musical style is reminiscent of legendary bassist Ray Brown with his deep rhythmic grooves.
Thiroux recalls attending a workshop led by Grammy Award-winning bassist John Clayton who studied under Brown.
“John is definitely amazing,” she said. “The workshop has stayed with me for years.”
Thiroux’s steady rise on the music scene has been incredible, receiving the “Shelly Manne New Talent” award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society and the Phil Ramone Presidential Fellowship from the Berkley College of Music.
Her debut album was named one of the “Top 5 Debut Records of the Year” by NPR polls.
For more ticket information, go to jazzmaui.org or call Bryant Neal, 808-283-3576.
For a weekly list of Maui music and other events, go to Maui Entertainment, Arts, Community, April 14-20 and click here.