What a sad Jam Of The Week…

What a sad and pathetic week it is in this week’s Jam Of The Week (JOTW).

For those of you who don’t know, JOTW is a Facebook group for musicians to post videos of themselves playing or improvising over a song, based on a weekly theme. The weekly theme could be a specific tune, or a self-chosen song from a specific artiste/composer. Of course, it’s a very jazz-centric group, so the themes are always usually from the jazz genre. Once the weekly topic is posted, you’d find hundreds of videos uploaded onto that group thread, musicians of various instruments blowing over one (sometimes, two) choruses of that particular tune. The mission statement of the group is noble: to open up a network of musicians to connect with one another through a common language – jazz – and get inspired by one another.

So, this week, the founder of the site, Farrell Newton, decided to really put out the challenge of doing the music one particular artiste jazz musicians love to hate – KENNY G!

Now, what is sad is not the fact that the topic was Kenny G. It was the fact that not many of them rose up to the challenge, overcoming their prejudice. In addition, there was a lot of hate comments going around and badly done joke videos, dissing Kenny’s music AND his playing. It really shows you the degree of musicality they really have in them. Instead of finding a musical way to interpret his songs, they choose to throw in the gauntlet, and go the easy way out by belittling the subject in point.

A lot of these folks on JOTW can blow thru choruses after choruses of Giant Steps and Rhythm Changes, play complex meters and harmony. But ask them to play a simple and effective melody with feeling, and I can almost say for a fact that the same detractors will fall flat on their face. It’s just pathetic. They can’t play it, so they diss it and apply prejudice on it. So typical. Kind of like American politics right now. Democracy, right? It’s only good if it works in your favor? What if it doesn’t?

Say what they want, Kenny is still one of the most successful saxophone artiste on the planet. And, whether they choose the accept it or not, Kenny is more than just a decent saxophonist. He is actually a really good saxophonist. Sure, he may not be as revolutionary or innovative like our saxophone legends of jazz like Coltrane or Bird, but his mere presence in the music world has certainly opened a window for many to be able to peek into the realm of jazz saxophone.

Now, I’m not saying this to convince people to like and dig Kenny G. If you like it, and it appeals to you, then please don’t let other people tell you otherwise. Everyone has their freedom to like whatever they like. Some may disagree with you, and that’s ok too. But unless you can do what Kenny does and be so successful at it, no one really has the right to diss him. You don’t have to like his music, but you don’t need to diss it, especially if you can’t even do a decent or better version of it.

And here’s the awesome reality of it: Kenny is hugely successful, as a music artiste and also as a business entity. He’s flying planes, playing golf, touring all over the world, getting paid handsome royalties for his songs, like “Going Home” (a song played every evening after work hours in China), selling his music and all his merchandise, just being famous and recognized for his work. What are these judgemental JOTW folks doing? Still trying their best to be heard and seen playing lots of “finger music” for other MUSICIANS who are equally on the same dead end boat. Does the wider audience care if you can play fast and loads of notes?

Not a damn bit.

Now, jam that into your heads and think about that.

PS: Despite my rant, I would, however, like to applaud and credit JOTW founder, Farrell Newton, for giving an online platform for players from all walks of life to show their skills and a way to connect with one another.

Gig Updates – July/Aug 2016

ANNOUNCEMENT: GIG UPDATES

After a short hiatus from live performances for a few weeks, I’m glad to announce that late July through August is set to be a busy month for me. I’m glad to be out there performing for you again. I hope to see you at some of the shows, if not all!

Here’s a brief list of upcoming performances:

21/7 (Thu) Michael Veerapen Trio feat. Julian Chan. 9pm.
Venue: No Black Tie, KL. Check out www.noblacktie.com.my for details.
Tickets: RM40

22/7 (Fri) KK JAZZ FEST – WVC Jazz Ensemble.
Venue: Sutera Harbour Tennis Courts, Kota Kinabalu.
Check out www.kkjazzfest.com for details.

23/7 (Sat) KK JAZZ FEST – WVC & Shanghai Jazz Reprise.
Venue: Sutera Harbour Tennis Courts, Kota Kinabalu.
Check out www.kkjazzfest.com for details.

26/7 (Tue) WVC @ Forbidden City Live Band KL. 9:30pm.
Venue: Forbidden City, KL
No cover.
Check out www.forbiddencitykl.com for show details

27/7 (Wed) WVC @ Karuizawa. 9:30pm onwards.
Venue: Karuizawa Kogen, Menara TA One, KL

28/7-1/8 Taichung Saxophone Competition (judge)
Venue: Taichung, TAIWAN

1/8 (Mon) WVC @ NBT Jam Session. 9pm onwards
Venue: No Black Tie. Check out www.noblacktie.com.my for details.
Tickets: 2 drink minimum cover.

3/8 (Wed) Michael Veerapen Quartet. 9:30pm
Venue: Forbidden City KL. Check out www.forbiddencitykl.com for details.

More updates coming soon! Please do stay tuned. And many thanks for your support!

Gigs updates – May 2016

Hi all,

I hope everyone is well. The past 4 months had been a seriously off-the-charts busy period for me. January to March 2016 was a mix of private functions, jam sessions, big band show, concerts with WVC (ours own and with others) locally and out-of-town, arranging horns for several album recording sessions, my teaching classes (both privately and in UCSI) and others. It was just non-stop!

April showed a bit of slow down, with the end of the semester in university, a short holiday with the lady, and performing with the MPO, a George Gershwin & Leonard Bernstein programme, aptly named RHAPSODY IN BLUE. I have a few days off before May arrives.

But May onward is set to be another busy season! My band WVC will be making a comeback after a brief hiatus with a vengeance. From Shakespeare to KL Swing festival, our schedule is filling up like crazy. Anyway, here’s a brief update on my performance schedule. I hope you can make for some of it, if not all:

May 2016 Performance Dates:

May 1st (Sun) : International Jazz Day Jam Session @ Bobo KL. 6pm onwards, no cover.
Bobo KL: https://www.facebook.com/BoboKualaLumpur/?fref=ts

May 2nd (Mon) : NBT Jam Session w/ WVC. 9pm onwards, 2 drinks minimum charge.
No Black Tie: http://noblacktie.com.my/shows/nbt-jam-session-with-wvc/

May 8th (Sun) : WVC “DO NOT GO GENTLY” album launch. 1pm. Starmount Studios.

May 19-22nd (Thu-Sun) : WVC & KLPac presents Shakespeare & Jazz – “If Music Be The Food Of Love, Jazz On.” 8:30pm & Sunday 3pm, Pentas 2, KL Performing Arts Centre.
KLPAC: http://www.klpac.org/if-music-be-the-food-of-love-jazz-on-concert-19-22-may/
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/849660368479154/

May 22 (Sun) : MJQ (Malaysia-Japan Quartet) @ No Black Tie. 9pm onwards, RM60 cover.
No Black Tie: http://noblacktie.com.my/shows/mjq-3/

May 27-29 (Fri-Sun) : World Lindy Hop Day – KL SEA Jam (music by WVC). 7pm.
KL SEA Jam: https://www.facebook.com/groups/seajam/

May 31 (Tue) : WVC featuring Nadia @ Geographer’s Cafe Jonker Walk. 8:30pm.
Geographer’s Cafe Jonker Walk: http://www.geographer.com.my/

That’s it for May…June’s also going to be a killer month, but more on that soon. Hope you can make it to some if not all the shows! See you!

JC

Happy New Year 2016

Hi all!

Here’s wishing all of you a Happy New Year 2016. I hope the new year has been treating you well so far. Personally, I’m glad we’ve come to a new year. Although 2015 was an awesome year on many fronts, it was also quite a hectic one. I felt somewhat tired and almost burnt out towards the end of the year, so I was practically operating like a sloth. But I am resigned to the fact that I just need to chill out to finish off the year. And that I did.

Nevertheless, writing this on the fourth day of the new year, I’m back in work mode, and as much as I’d like to ease my way back into it, it seems that I will be starting the new year with a bang, musically! I started the second day of the year with what was supposed to be a jazz jam session at Mezze Wine Bar (with Michael Veerapen on piano, Tan Jen Wei on bass, KJ Wong on drums, and Andy Chong sitting in on guitar), but turned out to be a jam session for the band itself, which was also really fun! Seems that most musicians in town were all already busy working gigs! That’s a good thing, and like I will always say about musicians’ life, “busy is ALWAYS good!”.

Anyway, this week of January 4th (and basically the whole of January) will be filled with performances, gigs and rehearsals on my part! Check them out on my Performance page by clicking here.

I hope to catch you at some of the shows this year. Many thanks for your continuous support for all this time! Have a great year ahead!

JC

Youth and Jazz…Asian Youth Jazz Orchestra

Last night’s (7 Oct) Asian Youth Jazz Orchestra (AYJO) concert at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas was really an enjoyable musical feast. Congratulations and well-done to Japan Foundation for putting this together. I’m jealous because I’m slightly more than 10 years too old to qualify for it! HAHA!

Being a musician for a quite a while now, and a professional one for the last 15 years, it is always inspiring to see younger musicians in situations like these. And most of us musicians understand what it’s like, because we have been that young and full of energy to play. It is not to say that we don’t have that kind of energy now, but we’re just getting better at knowing HOW to use it.

There’s something to be said about watching a youth band play “old people’s” music. In contrast, watching my elders and established musicians & jazz artistes has always been a musically fulfilling and also educational experience, because one gets to see upfront, the masters at work. There’s a certain kind of elegance and Zen to their music and playing, and when it reaches into the deep corners of the soul, it has a lasting and profound effect.

However, watching a good youth band play, there’s definitely a different kind of energy output. The combination of musical discipline of playing this music, coupled with the fire of youth, ever ready to be blasted out into the open air, is an interesting one. There’s a lot of energy, but one does not release it all in one go. Rather, it has to be tempered with by training, and there’s a time and place to ‘let go’ of all that pent-up energy in the music. A good music arrangement will help deal with that. But above all that, I think it gives us (the ‘older’ musicians) some kind renewal of fire, and helps us to glimpse back at the time when we were also full of energy to play, and why we love to play in the first place.

Nevertheless, the Orchestra isn’t an orchestra that any kid can join. One has to be at a certain level of playing to be able to do so.  These kids have worked their butts off real hard to get in. And they performed excellently at their last stop of their Asian tour (and I’m sure, of their other stops). Congratulations to Muhammad Abdul Karim for being the only Malaysian to qualify to enter into the Orchestra, and making us Malaysians proud. You did real good. Also, congratulations to my Singaporean little brother, Rit Xu, for also doing so well in the Orchestra, and for being able to contribute one tune in their repertoire.

I think we all look forward to the progress of these excellent young men and women in the Orchestra in the years to come. Hopefully with the right guidance, hard work, and affinity, they will go places in their lives.

Kudos to JAPAN FOUNDATION for putting the Orchestra together, and Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur for bringing them here for the Malaysian audiences.

DiverseCity 2015 – ASEAN Jazz Festival 2015

First off, please pardon my lack of updates on my website, especially in the blog section. However, I do update my Twitter and Facebook a lot more, so do please check my FB page when you can, for more recent updates.

Secondly, I’d like to talk about the festival I just performed at with my band, WVC – the ASEAN Jazz & Percussion Festival. It was one of the the festivals under the month-long DiverseCity Arts Festival 2015 (www.diversecity.my), held at one of Desa Sri Hartamas’ longest running F&B outlets, SOULed OUT. Of course, the music portion for this festival was curated by one of Malaysia’s most respected musician/pianist/composer/arranger, and the head-of-state for jazz in this country, Michael Veerapen. Naturally, as a jazz musician at heart, the ASEAN Jazz and Percussion Festival (as well as the No Black Tie and Alexis Sessions) would be his pet projects for this festival.

I remember having this conversation with Michael over teh-tarik about him wanting to put up a city-wide, month-long festival that would encompass the entire arts community in KL – dance, music, comedy, theatre, etc. Goes without saying, it would have been a MAJOR undertaking. And guess what? He did it! Despite facing a major setback in sponsorship cut, he managed to save a big part of the Festival – the Pub Festival, Alexis & No Black Tie Sessions, and of course the Jazz & Percussion Festival. I would’ve loved to see the KL Pops Symphony concert though.

Having worked with Michael for quite a while now, I am very well aware of his style of doing things. With no exception, this festival stays true to Michael’s quality of work, and I’m quite sure the other bands would testify to that too. He managed to put together a really great show together – from the artiste line-up to the technical part of the team (sound, lights, backline, etc). You want to know how easy it was for us for WVC? We went up for soundcheck, and it only took us 20 minutes to finish it! Everything was so smooth, the sound mix, EQs and monitoring were all done so well in such a short period of time.  As far as WVC was concerned, the sound mixing was good enough that we could almost make full use of our dynamic range that we have in our tunes, comfortably.

The festival itself, was a blast, for both the audience and the performers, from what I have observed. Overall, there were all the necessary elements a festival of this kind needed – food, drinks, a relaxing open air ambience, great sound, and awesome emcee in the form of Malaysian’s jazz mamma, Junji Delfino, (who also managed to sing a few tunes, standing in for Dasha Logan) and of course, a really good programming of performances. Practically every detail was taken care of, down to the screen projectors that were placed so systematically so that people at different parts of the restaurant could watch the show. The programming of the performers were also done with great thought, and each band put up one hell of a show (including us, of course!). It was a real JAZZ festival, at least in my books! Even though the acts that were invited to play all had their own strong musical identities, we all had one thing in common – JAZZ. Enough said. All the bands that played were amazing – The Steve Nanda Group (with Patrick Terbrack on sax, WeiLi Cheah on keys and Daniel Foong on bass), Singaporean group The Steve McQueens (with my buddy Fabian Lim on sax, Joshua Wan on keys, Eugenia Yip on vocals, Aaron James Lee on drums, and Jase Sng on bass), and of course Koh Mr. Saxman and the Sounds of Siam (Uhh, I won’t even bother trying to list out their band members Thai names). I had such a great time watching and listening all of them play. I’m also glad to call them my friends, as well, as I do know all of them personally.

I’ve mentioned it on FB and all that, but I’ll say it right here again: The ASEAN Jazz Festival was one of the best jazz festivals I’ve played in KL, or in Malaysia, in a very long time. I’ve played in many festivals before whether with WVC or other bands, but this tops the list of one of the best, if not the best.

Congratulations, Michael Veerapen and his team, for putting up such a wonderful and successful event, and also inviting WVC to be part of it! I personally hope this will be able to continue and grow in the following years to come.

A BIG THANK YOU..

…to those of you who made it to our show, WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble Presents…WAITING FOR THAT DAY: A Live Concert, at KLPAC on Wednesday and Thursday.

After several months of working on the concert, we have finally done it! In a way, this experience has left a bittersweet feeling, the long months of work leading up to the show, and it is done in two very quick days. Nevertheless, the main thing about the concert that has kept us in good spirits and a heart of gratitude was the tremendous support you have shown us by making it to the concert and making it a sold-out one… ON A WEEKDAY, no less!

My heart is filled with gratitude and humility from working with amazing people these past few months, from the production team, the artistic collaboration team, to the performers themselves – the string ensemble, the dancers, our singers, and even the master calligrapher that we managed to rope into the performance. Their contribution to the music was so much more than just being “guests”, they took our music to places that we couldn’t have necessarily gone to easily, on our own. And they have done it with their own touch of passion and artistic spirit. That was a truly special experience, even for us.

Most importantly, having playing to a sold out house on both nights had also given us a sense of affirmation on our work as a musical unit. It has never been an easy thing to tell with us. We don’t really know how much reach our music have had to the Malaysian audience. But after the last two nights of the concert, I think we get a slightly better picture. For that, we owe you a big thanks of gratitude.

We hope to see you again at our future shows!

ANNOUNCEMENT: WVC Presents…WAITING FOR THAT DAY, A Live Concert.

Hi all,

One behalf of my band WVC (or formerly known as WVC TRiO+1), I’m really happy and excited to announce our biggest project for the year:

WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble Presents…
WAITING FOR THAT DAY :  A Live Concert!

Musicians:

WVC TRiO + 1 –

Tay Cher Siang (Piano, Compositions)
Aj PopShuvit (Bass)
KJ Wong (Drums)
Julian Chan (Saxophones)

Guest Artists :
友弟Yudi (June 24)、周博华Chew Paul Wah (June 25)、Winnie Ho 何芸妮 (June 24& 25)、Janet Lee (June 24& 25)

Collaborative Artists :
10 piece String Ensemble Arioso Sinfonia, Calligrapher Tan Guet Bee , Videographer Tan Choo Harn, Photographer Wong Horng Yih, Dancers led by Sae Min.

Date & Time :
24th & 25th June 2015 @ 8:30pm

Venue :
Pentas 1, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre,
Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, Off Jalan Ipoh, KL .

Tickets:
VIP – RM158
Category A – RM108
Category B – RM 78
Category C – RM58
*All inclusive RM 3 ticket handling fees.

A) Student Promotion :
15% discount to students
VIP – RM 135
Category A – RM 92
Category B – RM 67
Category C – RM 50

B) Group Promotion :
20% discount for purchase of 10 tickets and above
VIP – RM 127
Category A – RM 87
Category B – RM 63
Category C – RM 47

C) Both Day Ticket Promotion :
20% discount for purchase tickets of two day shows.
VIP – RM 127
Category A – RM 87
Category B – RM 63
Category C – RM 47

*All inclusive RM 3 ticket handling fees.
*B & C Promotion ONLY applicable via 03-40479000 / 014-6445592 or walk in to klpac

Box Office :
klpac 03-4047 9000 , penangpac 04-899 1722/2722 , ticketpro 03-7880 7999

Website :
http://www.klpac.org
http://www.ticketpro.com.my

For More Information :
Enquiry : 014-6445592
Email : wvc.bookings@gmail.com
Facebook : www.facebook.com/wvctrioplusone
Website : wvctrioplusone.com
Youtube : youtube.com/c/Wvctrioplusone

Production Team :
Music Director / Arranger : Tay Cher Siang
Project Manager : Melissa Teoh
Sound Designer : John Siew
Lighting Designer : Lim Ang Swee

Note: Ticketing will start soon, but in the meantime, you can also contact us with enquiries via our hotline number (014-6445592) or email us at wvc.bookings@gmail.com.

We hope you can come and support us at our concert this year, and we’d love to see you all there. We look forward to have you enjoy the show as much as we’d enjoy playing for you. Meanwhile, we’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for the support you have shown us over the past few years!

So… mark your calendars!!

SEE YOU THERE!!

GIG ALERT: Johor Bahru Jazz Festival 2015 (26 – 28 Feb 2015)

If you didn’t know already, Johor Bahru (south of West Malaysia) will be having its inaugural jazz festival this weekend, from the 26th Feb until 1 March 2015 .

Check out the poster for details and links to tickets:

JB Jazz Fest 2015

This festival is organized by the same group of people that organized the annual JB Arts Festival (10 years and running!).

As you can see, there will be some notable artistes, both local and overseas, who will be performing there. I’m proud to say that I will be part of the David Gomes Jazz Ensemble & Junji Delfino, and will be performing on the opening day of the festival, 26th February. We’ve got an awesome line-up of musicians: David Gomes (vocals & piano), Junji Delfino (vocals), Patrick Terbrack (tenor sax), Eddie Wen (trumpet), Hanafie Imam (bass), Shawn Kelley (drums), and of course, yours truly on alto sax.

I’m looking forward to this festival, and it will be an awesome hang with some friends, and also loads of fun music to play. If you’re around the hood, we hope to see you there. If not, make a trip down over the weekend and join us for a weekend of fun.

 

Happy Lunar New Year of the Goat (Ram)!

Seasons greetings from Julian Chan Music!

Here’s wishing everyone, a Happy Lunar New Year of the Goat! May your year be filled with blessings, loads of good music, good health, good company, inspiration, and also strength to not only endure, but to overcome, whatever challenges that come your way.

XIN NIAN KUAI LE! SAN NIN FAI LOK!

GONG XI FA CAI! GONG HEI FATT CHOY!

Welcome to the official page of Malaysian saxophonist Julian Chan

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