Category Archives: General

Performance Dates – Oct 2018

Hi all,

I’ve got quite a busy month this October, and I’d like to share my performance dates with you. I hope you will be able to come check it out! It’s quite a big variety of shows, I must say! So here we go!

5, 6, 7/10 – The Shanghai Sisters, Live at Bobo KL
Venue: Bobo KL, Jalan Bangkung
Time: 9:30pm
Tickets: RM60++, RM45++ (diners)
https://www.facebook.com/events/193438944782243/

10/10 – WVC Live at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas: Purnama – Phases of The Moon.
Venue: Petronas Philharmonic Hall KLCC.
Time: 6:30pm.
Tickets: RM37 (available online or at the box-office)
http://mpo.com.my/08-happy-hour-i/

13/10 – WVC Live at TEDx Petaling St.
Venue: Dewan MCA
Time: 9-6pm (we’re on about 2pm I think!)
Tickets: (check website)
https://www.facebook.com/events/2145024349049717/
https://tedxpetalingstreet2018.peatix.com/

13-14/10 – Philharmonic Winds Of Malaysia: American Tapestry (featured soloist Misa Yamamoto).
Venue: British International School KL (BSKL)
Time: 8:30pm (13/10), 3pm (14/10)
Tickets: RM40 minimum donation
https://www.facebook.com/events/268928920404363/

17/10 – WVC Live @ Karuizawa Kogen
Venue: Karuizawa Kogen (Wisma TA KL)
Time: 9pm onwards

18/10 – WVC & Janet Lee at Wind Down Thursday @ Commune
Venue: Commune, Level 5 Sunway Velocity Mall
Time: 8pm
Tickets: RM20 early bird from Sept 24th, RM30 door

Hope to catch you there!

Advertisements

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.

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

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!

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!

The Thailand International Jazz Conference 2015 – some thoughts

Talk about another inspiring and educational weekend! This was most certainly a great follow up to the Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival the previous week.

(You can read more about my thoughts on the MJFP 2015 here.)

First and foremost, a big shout out to the organizers of the Thailand International Jazz Conference (TIJC) 2015 for a job well done. It is my first TIJC conference (they’ve done it for the 4th year now, I believe), and it had been nothing short of an awesome and inspiring experience. It was nice to feel like a student again, to say the least. Going there to witness the musical greatness that was the George Garzone Trio, Lage Lund Trio, and the Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet, was something I will always look forward to. Not only that, seeing a whole bunch of Thai musicians (young and old) playing at a reasonably good-to-high-level, was also inspiring to me! The workshops were all conducted reasonably well, and all the artistes had enough good information for me to learn a few new things, and be inspired to work on some of them. More on that later.

The TIJC is an annual event organized by the Mahidol University Music College faculty. You can read more about it here. They bring in some very notable artistes in to conduct workshops and concert performances, and some of their previous artistes include Seamus Blake, Aaron Parks, Billy Hart, Ari Hoenig, Peter Bernstein and more. In addition, their local Thai established artistes and educators were also brought in to conduct these workshops and concert performances. This year, they brought in the George Garzone Trio (with Francisco Mela on drums, and Peter Slavov on bass), The Lage Lund Trio (with Matt Brewer on bass, and Clarence Penn on drums) and also the Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet (along with Troy Roberts on sax, Manuel Valera on piano, and Hogyu Hwang on double bass). Their local acts also include my good friends Koh Mr. Saxman, Passakorn Mirasilpin (or better known to us as “Mint”), Hong Chanutr Techatananan, and MANY (and I mean *MANY*) others.

The workshops were definitely one of the main highlights for me, and although half of it were in Thai (with their Thai educators, and that the primary demographic of the attendees were Thai, except us, the Malaysian contingent and then some), but they demonstrated well enough for us to get a good gist of what’s happening. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the workshops, and especially more so for Mr. Garzone’s saxophone workshop and also the Clarence Penn drum workshop. Some of them were better at explaining their concepts and thoughts and others, but all of them explained it clear enough (at least for me, being a native English speaker) for me to understand. The jazz competition was also an interesting one, where the students competing were all really skilled and were technically proficient in their instruments!

The live performances were of course, the main highlight of the whole event. And boy, they didn’t disappoint! The Thai bands were really amazing, and playing at a seriously high level. Although some of them weren’t really my cup of tea, but there is no denying their reasonably high skill level in their performance. The headliners (George Garzone Trio on Day 1, Lage Lund Trio on Day 2, and Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet on the last day) were, without doubt, just simply amazing. These are real Masters at work, and nothing beats the experience of seeing them live. And even though the festival ran from early in the day till almost midnight, it was extremely well attended. And it also helped that the venue was also beautiful and well-suited for the occasion (even the mosquitoes were having a field day!). If you have a chance to visit the Mahidol University campus, you will see how beautiful it is.

What was also beautiful about this event was how it brought together all the different music schools/universities/institutes to participate in this event. It was a joint collaboration with three of the top jazz music departments in Thailand – Mahidol University, Rangsit Conservatory, and also Silpakorn University. In addition, bands and ensembles from the various departments – student bands, army bands, etc – all were given a stage to perform! I really wonder when Malaysia will achieve this state of collaboration and communication in the music field. Hopefully I’ll get to see it within my lifetime? Other than meeting some old friends, I also got to make some new ones, and I’m plenty grateful for that.

I am seriously looking to next year’s conference, and I may try to make it an annual pilgrimage (unless I’m going there to perform, well, that’ll be a different story, then!). To all music students (and I’m not talking about only the ones STILL in school, if you get my drift) interested and SERIOUS about jazz, I think you should also make it a point to attend this conference. This is probably the closest thing you can get to, in terms of getting first hand information from the current masters of this music. Great job to Mahidol University College of Music and all its partners for a job well done!!

Special thanks to my traveling mates Toro Cheng and Chee Seng, and also Az Samad and Yin! It was a good hang, full with a-toro-ciously bad az jokes, and thoughtful conversations! Hope to do it again at some point.

The 2nd Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival… my personal thoughts!

I am truly and unequivocally inspired and humbled from last night.

The final night of the 2nd Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival at KLPac was truly an amazing night of music IN MALAYSIA I’ve had in a while, I must admit. And I’m doubly/triply more proud and happy that the people who have given me a huge dose of inspiration and humble pie are my personal friends (who are also my colleagues/mentors).

To see all of them perform and play in their trio settings, and every single one of them playing to their best (mistakes and all) and just simply KICKIN’ ASS, was something that I really miss having to see. EVERYONE had something interesting and unique to offer, there was no competition, no cutting contests, no politics, just a lot of inspiring music and soul from different personalities…and a real fellowship, in every sense of the word.

To see some of the younger cats who are putting their hearts and souls out to be part of this amazing event, was also no less inspiring. I may be OLDER now, but I still feel the same fire and passion that they have, like when I was still a young fat saxophonist trying to make it into the scene. Now I’m just older but still fat, saxophonist. I am inspired by every one of them to be a better musician, a teacher, and a person.

I must say, in all honesty and without hesitation, that this Festival is TRULY, *THE BIGGEST* highlight of the Malaysian jazz scene. PERIOD. It’s not just a one-off event just to sell tickets and just about having a party and having fun. It’s the making of a real and growing jazz scene in our country, and integrating it as part of our culture. It is a an important piece of history in our Malaysian Music scene.

A BIG shoutout to Michael Veerapen and all the amazing team of pianists that performed, conducted workshops, and contributed to make it an amazingly inspiring and successful event – David Gomes, Ee Jeng Hin, Cheah Wei Li, Wee Lern Ch’ng, Justin Lim Fang Yee, John Dip Silas, Toro Cheng Pin Xuan, Tay Cher Siang (who was there in spirit, although physically in India), and the rhythm section Daniel Foong, Steve Nanda, Charles Wong, John Ashley Thomas, Terrence Ling and Wan Azfarezal. Kudos to ALL you guys!!

Congratulations to Melvin Goh for being the FIRST person to make Malaysian jazz piano history for being a deserving winner of the FIRST ever jazz piano competition in our country. A big shoutout to the rest of the participants whom I know, kicked ass, in one way or the other – Jack Lim Hui Jie, Leroy Lee, Vester Liew, Shaun Chow, and others.

If you have missed any of the shows, you have truly missed out on A LOT. I am really looking forward to seeing next year’s Festival.

(PS: Now, I really LOVE/HATE you guys even more.. I really wish I could play piano like that!!! LOL!!!!!)

Happy New Year 2015…thoughts and quips.

Happy New Year 2015, everyone!

I know, I’m a little late and it has already been a few days good of the new year. But like they say – better late than never.  Well, I was also too knocked out cold in bed from falling sick right at the eve of the new year, so I just didn’t have the strength to think or write anything.

Anyway, it’s a good time to sit down and gather my thoughts about 2014. As I’ve read through many of my friends’ posts about their new year reflections, I’ve noticed that one thing remains unchanged – all of us have experienced highs and lows, and everything else in between. To say the least,  that also applies to me. But more than anything, I’m just grateful for the opportunities I’ve had last year – whether it is the blessings that stem out of the bad experiences, or the learning from the good ones (and everything else in between).

For many, 2014 has been a extremely terrible year. Too many tragic plane incidents, natural disasters, political unrest, unnecessary and terrible deaths. To think back of it causes such distress in my heart (and I’m sure it is the same for most of us, if not all of us), that nothing can really help to alleviate that. More so than ever, that I am more inspired to be a better person, to be a better musician, and I hope the music my friends and I make can be some form of light of hope and inspiration for many.

Nevertheless, I shall write out some of the highlights of last year, and plenty there are (in no particular order):

1) Did a shit load of projects with my band, WVC TRiO+1 – two live performance video livestream shows; recorded our new instrumental jazz album (with this line up) and also our post-tour album launch; numerous album recordings for Pop Pop Music, Yudi Yap, and Janet Lee’s upcoming album, among others; numerous live shows as a group and with vocalists at No Black Tie, recorded and released 12 episodes of our WVC podcast, and others.

2) Toured with my band to China, Macau, and Bangkok with my band for a whole month, having played 20+ shows across 17 cities.

3) Started having more and more interested and passionate saxophone students from universities and privately.

4) Played a lot of gigs that I thoroughly enjoyed with my band and others, whether it is in the clubs or in private events.

5) Played four symphonic band concerts, of which the last one was at the Chiayi Band Festival in Taiwan, right before the year ended.

6) Performed with Jeremy Monteiro for the Singapore Wind Symphony concert (and my debut show at Esplanade Concert Hall); the Asia-Europe Tour with the Asian Jazz All-Stars (along with Eugene Pao and Hong Chanutr Techatananan), including going to Paris and playing my debut show at the world famous jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London!

7) Traveled to Europe for the FIRST TIME, albeit short, but it was a memorable one.

8) Did two musicals, one big and one small, both with people I truly enjoyed working with (SuperMokh Restage, Kopisusu Recham).

9) Finally became a Yanagisawa Saxophones Artiste (and got a new horn from their new line of WO Series altos).

As for the not-so-pleasant things, well, suffice to say they are meant to happen for a reason, and I really believe that. I’ve learned more than ever that bad experiences are lessons in itself, and one can stand to learn from them – and that is a real blessing in itself. More than ever, I’m just grateful to be alive, breathing, and being able to do what I do. I truly thank the Creator/Heavenly Mother/Universe, for which all these is possible.

It is now 2015, everything that I’ve written is now in the past. Time to work towards a new future. Let’s see what 2015 has in store for us…

Happy New Year 2015, everyone!

Much blessings,
– JC

GIG UPDATE: JEREMY MONTEIRO QUARTET Live at Sing Jazz Club, SINGAPORE

GIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

I’m back from Hong Kong to Singapore for another two club dates, before we fly off to Paris and London to continue the Asian Jazz All-Stars Power Quartet tour. This time, it’s the Jeremy Monteiro Quartet (featuring Jeremy on piano, Christy Smith on bass, Tama Goh on drums and myself on saxophones) LIVE at Sing Jazz Club at Jalan Sultan.

Titled “Here, There, and Everywhere”, we will be performing several original compositions of Jeremy’s, as well as some standards and re-arranged Christmas tunes. Check out the poster for details:

JM4tet Sing Jazz 12&14 Nov 2014

If you’re in the hood, please do drop by!

See you then!

Julian Chan… the EDUCATOR?

It’s almost the end of my 3rd year of being an inadvertent music educator. Dang. Time passes faster that I can say, “ah one, ah two, ah one, two, three….”

Just having to reflect on that, I guess all I can say is that I’m really grateful and proud of that, and also for all the individuals that I have (and had) the opportunity to consider, my students. I have learned a lot from each and everyone one of them, and it also makes me really proud to see their progression as musicians (whether professional or not). Some days I only need to reflect on that as a form of a testimonial to affirm on what I have to do. It is also a part of my journey as a student of the music and of life.

I’m getting a lot more students than I ever had in my entire career as a musician, and I’m glad to say almost all of them are really serious about it. That’s why I’m more than happy to spend those hours with them.

I never thought that I would actually be a teacher in such a serious way, but somehow things worked out the way it did. So, in an unexpected way, it was possibly a calling that has come my way, and I’m pretty glad about it. I only have all my teachers/masters (in music and in life) to thank for, because it isn’t just their knowledge that they have passed to me, but more importantly, their SPIRIT. To me, it’s like a giant fire that burns non-stop that keeps the passion of music in me going. It has its low days and high days, but it is always burning. I’m so thankful to be in the presence of these masters to learn from.

I only hope I can do justice to them and to the music, as I will try my best to keep sharing the music and the spirit behind the music with those that I meet along this interesting journey called life.