Swing Star plays Gypsy Jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club of France.
This musical style includes swinging jazz, Waltz, passionate Ballads, Bossa Nova and Waltz, as well as the sound of European Gypsies.
The group of guys; Steve Elliott on guitar, Loren Tilley on guitar, and Michael Guzalak on clarinet and sax, got together on Maui in early 2018.
Steve is the founder and instigator of the group, so you can blame him. His burning passion for Gypsy Jazz drew in Loren next, and Michael soon joined in to form Swing Star.
All the members are multi-instrumentalists and over the years have played in many different bands and styles of music, from Accordion to Zydeco.
Well known on Maui, Paul Marchetti studies drums and percussion in New York and has performed and recorded with artists such as Mick Fleetwood, Eric Marienthal, Walter Becker, Michael McDonald, Michael Buble and many more. He started his career in 1973, touring and
recording with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. Marchetti has appeared on national and local television shows and recorded and toured with an international list of artists.
Katie Thiroux is an internationally-acclaimed bassist, vocalist, composer, bandleader and recording artist. In addition, she teaches at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Summer Jazz Camp and serves as artistic and educational director of the Jazz Maui Camp, an opportunity to students from around the world to get a first rate learning experience as well as exploring the beauty and culture of Hawaii. Thiroux’s contemporary jazz draws upon the rich history of the music and her unique gift of simultaneously balancing sultry vocals and virtuosic bass playing leaves audiences worldwide in awe. In the words of music icon Quincy Jones, “This girl is IT!”
Los Angeles-based drummer Matt Witek has toured the world with many jazz musicians and recorded with Katie Thiroux on her award-winning album “Introducing Katie Thiroux”. A creative and passionate musician specializing in jazz, he is also an educator for the prestigious
Monterey Jazz Festival and for Jazz Maui Camp.
After losing his sight at the age of 11, Justin Kauflin gravitated towards playing jazz piano, despite having a classical background in violin and piano. He received top honors at jazz festivals nationally and began performing professionally by age 15. A protégé of Quincy Jones, Kauflin is the subject of a documentary entitled “Keep On Keepin’ On” that follows jazz legend Clark Terry as he mentors Justin as he prepares to compete in an elite international competition. A composer, producer, educator and Quincy Jones & Yamaha Artist, Kauflin is an instructor at Jazz Maui’s Jazz Camp, one of the organization’s music education programs.
Jeff Hellmer, jazz pianist and educator, has enjoyed a long and vibrant career. Twice named a finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, he has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and the Far East. His recording, Peak Moments, was declared an “exciting addition to the modern jazz piano catalog” by the All Music Guide. He has been a soloist and guest conductor with the Dallas Wind Symphony eight times, in repertoire ranging from Stravinsky to Bill Evans.