Cool Sounds Return On Sundays

Sara and Trey Thompson make beautiful music together and with friends

It may be the perfect way to end a weekend, and now live jazz is happening again on the North Shore, at the St. Regis in Princeville

Amesmerizing red sky splashed with pink and purple streaks isn’t the only phenomenon residents and visitors will experience if they journey to St. Regis Princeville Resort on any given Sunday eve. They also can expect to be serenaded by the dulcet voice of Sara Thompson, accompanied by husband Trey strumming the bass, Rick Avallone tickling the ivories and Tony Rodarte keeping beat on the drums.

Capping off a lazy Sunday afternoon at the beach with friends and family by watching the sunset and listening to jazz is the perfect way to end the weekend, says St. Regis Princeville Resort bar and beverage manager Jose Perez.

Which is exactly why he invited the quartet to participate in the Sunday Afternoon Jazz Jam session every weekend from 4 to 7 p.m. at the resort’s bar.

“Jazz is very popular,” he says. “It was a piece of the puzzle that was missing.”

Ever since Hanalei Bay Resort’s Happy Talk Lounge closed earlier this year, jazz musicians had been looking for a new outlet, says Rodarte.

“It was a jam session where all bands touched bases,” he says of Sunday evenings at the lounge where he used to play. Even though he kept hoping the lounge would reopen, the economy told Rodarte another story.

Tony Rodarte gets in a groove on drums

And while hope is all that musicians have, he says the St. Regis was the perfect opportunity to bring jazz back into the North Shore weekend mix.

Perhaps the St. Regis atmosphere is more polite than HBR, Avallone says of the calm and collected harmonies the group performs for patrons in the subdued surroundings.

But people now have a “wonderful place to go,” says Trey Thompson, who doubles as a high school teacher by day. “It’s a beautiful setting, beautiful music. It’s a great night out.”

Plus, where else could one go “to get this kind of ambiance without paying a cover?” Trey Thompson asks.

Moving to Kaua’i from los Angels 11 years ago, Trey – who did a lot of studio work with some of the biggest names in music – and Sara have always had a passion for creating melodies and even met in a recording studio in California.

“Singing is relaxing, it releases endorphins and is very healing,” Sara says of her trade. “It’s like a wolf howling. It feels good; you can’t stop. You just want to keep it going.”

The musical duo already make harmonies together as Treysara, but found that teaming up with Avallone and Rodarte for Sunday Afternoon Jazz Jam was something that just “organically kind of happened,” Trey Thompson says.

Rick Avallone handles piano at the St. Regis for Sunday jazz

“The jazz community on the North Shore is pretty small,” he says, adding that he also plays Saturday nights at St. Regis Princeville Resort with Avallone.

And when good musicians come together, “it’s like a conversation,” says Avallone. Otherwise, it’s like an argument or watching an episode of The View. Moreover, one does-n’t have to be a jazz enthusiast to appreciate the melodies.

“You don’t need to know Miles Davis, you don’t have to have a doctorate to enjoy it,” says Trey, who adds he knows for a fact the St. Regis is interested in promoting local musicians and is making a concerted effort to reach out more to the community. In fact, the audience is typically composed of 50 percent visitors and 50 percent kamaaina.

The group looks forward to seeing more familiar faces in the audience.

They also are excited to jam again with special guests such as jazz musicians David Benoit, Larry Dunlap and Donald Fagan, who have paused to play in the past while visiting the island, says Avallone, a regular performer at the Princeville hotel since 2000.

Drop-in guests are perfect for the moment-to-moment composing of jazz.

Participating in it and creating music in general is “something I have to do,” says Trey Thompson.

“For me, it’s like eating, sleeping and breathing.”

The St. Regis is host to a variety of live music every evening, including Hawaiian on Fridays. Visit or for more information.

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