The 2018 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Jazz Album of the Year was given to big island Kings of Hawaiian Swing group, Kahulanui for Mele Ho’oilina produced by Kahulanui LLC and Michael Surprenant of Mana Music Studio.

Also presented was the award for Instrumental Composition of the Year, Kahulanui Boogie Woogie composed by Bill Noble who performs with the group.

The album Mele Ho’oilina was inspired by all the forerunners of the Hawaiian Swing genre including the grandfather of band leader Lena Naipo. It was a great thrill for Lena’s father who was also in attendance at the Awards ceremony show.

Kahulanui was also nominated for two other categories: Group of the Year and for Graphics Award by Scarlet Eskildsen, both coveted and esteemed awards.

This was a big win for the group as they continue to perpetuate the blending of genres and cultures in Hawaiian music.

Message from Jesse: Kahulanui is grateful for all of the musician brothers and sisters who helped to make this latest album (Mele Ho’oilina) a Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner! Especially, to Michael Surprenant, Sarah Bethany, Joshua Timmons, Mike Lewis, Brian Christ, Andrea Lindborg and Loren Frank Wilken. Mahalo nui loa to Dave Pierce for making such an amazing contribution to Hawaiian music with his arrangement of Ka Ua Loku. And, all of the musicians who have helped Kahulanui along the way: Garry Russell, Duncan Bamsey, Frank Musacchio, Eldred Ahlo, Payton Meyer, and Jenny Brown. Mahalo Jody and Charles Brotman for getting us off the ground and for your continued support!!

Kahulanui is:

Originator Rodgers Lena Naipo on lead vocals and guitar, Patrick Eskildsen on bass guitar and vocals, Robert Duke Tatom on ukulele and vocals, Tim Taylor on drums/percussion, and Dwight Tokumoto on steel guitar.


Horn section: Primary horn arranger Jesse Snyder on clarinet and tenor sax, Bill Noble on alto saxophone, Joshua Timmons on trumpet, and Vincent D’Angelo on trombone. Eldred Ahlo on trumpet for Hoku performance.

Kahulanui is on tour this summer. Look for complete schedule at

2018- Jesse celebrates four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards with Kahulanui!

Kahulanui has been nominated for four 2018 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards from the Mele Ho’oilina album: Group of the Year, Jazz album of the year, Best Original Instrumental song (Kahulanui Boogie Woogie) and for album graphics. Awards will be announced and presented at the Hoku Awards Dinner on May 19, 2018.

Kahulanui2017 – Jesse toured with Kahulanui on the west coast:

9/2 – 66th Annual Strawberry Music Festival at 1:45pm on the main stage – Tuolumne, California (westside) 17807 Tuolumne

9/3 – Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse at 7pm – Berkeley, California Tickets $22/$26 at the door. 2020 Addison,

9/4 – Don Quixote’s International Music Hall – Felton, CA (Santa Cruz) – 6275 Hwy 9 – Tickets $20/$22 at the door.

9/6 – 12th Annual “Music on Main” Summer Concert Series – Portland, Oregon – 5pm to 7pm – Free outdoors at S. Broadway & Park Avenue (next to Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall). Rain venue: Antoinette Hatfield Hall (1111 SW Broadway. Next door).

9/9 – Rumba Notes Lounge – Seattle, Washington 7pm.  5041 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle. $10 cover

9/10 – The Secret Society – Portland, Oregon

For more info go to:

Hawaii’s own Kahulanui, swing jazz band appeared on the TODAY Show live at the grand opening of Volcano Bay, Universal’s first water park in Orlando, Florida on May 25.

On May 25, Universal Orlando unveiled its first water park, Volcano Bay, and TODAY’s Take was there for the grand opening with Hawaii’s own swing jazz band KAHULANUI featuring the horn arrangements of Jesse Now Jerome!

Kahulanui core members are Patrick Eskildsen on electric bass, lead guitar and vocals; Duke Tatom on ‘ukulele and vocals; Tim Taylor on drums/percussion and, of course, Lena Naipo on lead vocals and guitar


Filling out the full band sound is an exciting horn section lead by arranger Jesse Snyder on saxophones and clarinet, Bill Noble, Joshua Timmons, Vincent D’Angelo and Dwight Tokumoto.

Other performances in 2017:

The Hub in Hawi on May 11 with Ricardo, Brian McCree, Joe Gargiulo & Alex Czerny. 7pm.

Jesse Now Jerome was on the road in May with the Red Water Trio:

5/21 Kenyon Hall – West Seattle 7:30pm. Tickets are $10-$14. $8 seniors, $5 students. RWT & friends including: Jesse, Richard Russell, Brian McCree, Orville Johnson, Joe Gargiulo and Brooke Lizotte

5/24 OM Winery & Tasting Room – Whiskey Island 7:30pm. No cover. A benefit for PYE Global. RW Trio

5/25 The Triple Door – Seattle 7:30pm. $25 a benefit for Centrum/Port Townsend Blues Festival