Tag Archives: jazz

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.

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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.

 

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.

GIG: Reuben Lewis (AUS) and the Julian Chan Quartet LIVE at No Black Tie

GIG ANNOUNCEMENT:

I’ll be performing with Australian jazz and experimental trumpeter REUBEN LEWIS with my quartet this weekend on Friday (5th Dec) and Saturday (6th Dec) at KL’s premier jazz club NO BLACK TIE. This time around, my quartet will feature our original pianist JUSTIN LIM, and two of my friends BENJAMIN LOW (drums) and JONATHAN HO (bass).

Reuben Lewis Dec 5_6 NBT

Some info on Reuben (www.reubenlewis.com):

Trumpeter, composer, improviser, and a driving new force in the Australian Jazz and Experimental music community. Reuben is a graduate of The Australian National University with Honours (1st class) in Jazz Performance and Composition.

In 2012 he relocated to Berlin, where he established lasting artistic roots and toured through Sweden, Poland and Germany. Since returning to Australia in 2013, Reuben has permanently relocated to the city of Melbourne, where he performs regularly in a plethora of musical outfits.

In Australia, Reuben has performed with his own ensembles at established festivals and concert series such as Jazzgroove, The Now Now Spontaneous Music & Experimental Film Series, Sound Out, Canberra International Music Festival, Capital Jazz Project, SIMA, MJC, MIC, MIUC, Jazz at the Gods Café, Lebowskis, Woodford Folk Festival, Womadelaide World Music Festival and the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. His current performance projects include the likes of established Australian musicians James Greening, Ronny Ferella, Miroslav Bukovsky, Geoff Hughes, David Tolley and Jordan Murray as well as emerging artists Luke Sweeting, Joanathan Heilbron, Callum G’Froerer.

As a composer Reuben has written for short film, classical ensembles, pop/alternative bands, reggae/roots/folk outfits and jazz/experimental/improvising ensembles ranging from solo to big band. He has been commissioned to compose educational work material for schools, has appeared in the Australian Jazz Real Book – Vol. 1 and was a finalist in the 2010 Sprogis Woods Jazz Composition Competition.

In both 2009 and 2011, Reuben received funding from the Friends of the School of Music as well as ArtsACT (2011) to release two albums – Samadhi, Fractured Spring – of original music under his own name. His third album, featuring a Berlin-based free improvised trio and electronic post-production artist, will be released in early 2014. As a collaborator he has appeared on several albums, such as The Goose is Loose – Dub Dub Goose, People and Lightbulbs – The Luke Sweeting Sextet, Live @ Alchemia Bar, Krakow – SVELIA and Trio – Praetzlich/Beierbach/Lewis (pending release in 2014 on gligg-records.com in Germany.

Reuben is a co-leader of the The Phonetic Orchestra, a contemporary music ensemble that has received a JUMP mentorship grant to collaborate with acclaimed artists Peter Knight, Jim Denley, Dale Gorfinkel and Eugene Ughetti in 2014.

Hope you can make it this weekend. It’s definitely going to be an interesting and fun musical experience, something a lot more different than what most of us are used to.

REUBEN LEWIS at NO BLACK TIE

Reuben Lewis – trumpet
Julian Chan – saxophones
Justin Lim – piano/keys
Benjamin Low – drums
Jonathan Ho – bass

DATE AND TIME: 5 & 6 Dec 2014 (Fri & Sat), 10pm
ADMISSION: RM50

See you this weekend! Support live music and live arts in Malaysia!

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!

July gig update #1:

July is a crazy month of sorts for me, something I definitely consider a blessing (since I know it can be quiet for some, in this auspicious fasting month….Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan, my Muslim friends!).

I’ll start off with the first gig update for this month:

JEREMY MONTEIRO & JASMINE CHEN: SHANGHAI JAZZ PROJECT (with Tama Goh on drums, Julian Chan on saxophones and special guest Ren YuQing on bass).

Hello all,

I’ll be performing tomorrow night, July 5th, at the newly launched SingJazz Club (formerly known as Sultan Jazz Club) with Jeremy Monteiro and Jasmine Chen for the Shanghai Jazz Project. There will be two shows, one at 7:15pm and one at 10pm. Ticketing details are as written in the poster and also the event page.

To my SG friends or my other friends in SG, if you can make it, I would love to see you there.

Thanks for the support!

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WVC TRiO+1 China Tour 2014: the story so far…

Hi all,

This is Julian reporting live from Home Hostels, Beijing! As I’m writing this, we are bunking in a hostel dorm where the five of us – Cher Siang, AJ, KJ, Choo Harn and myself – are bunking in the same room, for once.

We are on our ninth day, from our one-month long tour of China. So far, we have been to four cities and have done four performances, and we’ve got another fourteen to go. It’s been very interesting so far, to say the least.

Over the last nine days, we have performed at the following clubs in their respective cities:

1. JZ Club (Hangzhou)
2. Blank Space (Changzhou)
3. Wuxi Xie Tu Lu Bar (Wuxi)
4. JZ Club (Shanghai)

The trip has been interesting, and also quite challenging. Unlike the more high profile tours I’ve been on, this one (and the ones I’ve been on) is a lot more closer to the ground, where we are quite literally “on-the-road” – we have taken local transportation (buses, taxis, high-speed trains, hired vans, domestic flights) and stayed in their budget hotels/motels (Jin Jiang Inn, Hostels International, Motel 268), ate their local food (both of the street variety and more luxurious ones, thanks to some really good friends who hosted us) and walked around on foot from one place to another, whether it’s getting food or going to our performance venue. All of this while lugging around really heavy backpacks and also instruments.

Of all the four places we’ve played so far, JZ Club Shanghai was probably the most satisfying one in more ways than one. The rest were generally alright, but always had something that was a bit of a compromise, whether it was sound, equipment, and also the crowd. In some places, the crowd was good, but the equipment and sound wasn’t, or the venue itself was somewhat not as suitable for our kind of music. On the other hand, some venues were nice, but the crowd was not so happening. But I think it was somewhat understandable, Shanghai is a much more developed city compared to the rest, and the people in the other cities are still somewhat “catching up”.

We’ve also had the pleasure of the company of really nice, gracious and interesting people over the past week. Our good friend and brother-in-arms and photographer extraordinaire, Wong Horngyih, also joined us for a week until the Shanghai show and took some amazing shots of the shows (not to mention a lot of humour and stories on the side). We also reconnected with our hosts from the previous tour, Gugu (Wuxi) and also Yang Chen aka Chester Yang (Shanghai). What’s also interesting personally was that I got to meet up with Singapore legends – pianist Jeremy Monteiro and drummer Tama Goh, of whom I have the pleasure to consider good friends and mentors – during their tour with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra here in China. Definitely was a good hangout session as well.

Anyhow, we have quite a few more cities and shows to do over the next three weeks. I will report a little more as we go along. If I have time and adequate internet connection, I may post some photos.

Meanwhile, if you would like to keep yourself updated with little blurbs on the tour, please follow us on Twitter (@wvctrio) and Facebook (wwww.facebook.com/wvctrioplusone).

[CONCERT] INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY: WVC TRiO+1 and JANET LEE – WORLD HERITAGE CITY CHARITY JAZZ CONCERT

 

WVC TRiO+1 proudly presents:

Image

 

WVC TRiO +1 and Janet Lee: 
WORLD HERITAGE CITY CHARITY JAZZ CONCERT IN CONJUNCTION WITH UNESCO INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY 30 APRIL 2014.

This concert will be a fundraiser concert for the following charity bodies: National Cancer Society of Malaysia, Melaka Cancer Society and Melaka Hospice Association. In addition, this concert will also be streamed live online at: www.ustream.tv/channel/wvc-trio-1.

The concert starts at 8:15pm (Kuala Lumpur Standard Time)


WVC TRiO +1 is:

Tay Cher Siang – piano
Julian Chan – saxophones
AJ Popshuvit – bass
Kj Wong – drums

and featuring Janet Lee on vocals.

Gig Updates – May 2014

Hi everyone,

I hope the first quarter of the year have been good to you so far. We’re almost nearing the middle of the year (oh, how time flies!!). Thank God that I’m still being kept busy with work, and I’m not slowing down anytime soon.

Here are some gig updates for the month of May. There are some shows happening, but for the most part, I’ll be away on tour (for a whole month) with my band WVC TRiO +1 for the second half of May until the first half of June. I hope you can catch some of my shows before then. So here it goes:

2/5 (Friday) – The Julian Chan Organ Quartet @ Room-8, Moon Bar. 9:30pm, no cover.

This will be an interesting show, as it will be a debut of an organ quartet I’m putting together for this Friday. We will be playing a few standards and some organ-based funky material. This Organ Quartet will feature Ee Jeng (organ), KJ Wong (drums), myself on saxophone, and introducing an up-and-coming young guitarist Ho Chee Seng.

4/5 (Sunday) – No Black Tie Jazz Jam Session with WVC TRiO +1. 9:30pm, no cover.

12/5 – 12/6 – WVC TRiO +1: Waiting For That Day ASIA TOUR 2014.

This will be the second tour around Asia with this line-up, and with the help of the Royal Gala Arts Fund and MyPAA, we are able to do a more extensive tour around China and other parts of Asia. In total, we will be traveling to 17 cities in the span of one month – 15 in China, and ending with one show in Macau and one show in Bangkok, Thailand. This tour will also be documented by our good friend and video/photographer Tan Choo Harn, as well as Wong Horngyih.

This will also be our first tour with our latest album (out May 4th), WVC TRiO+1: WAITING FOR THAT DAY, the fourth album for the band (the first for this line up of musicians: Tay Cher Siang – piano, Julian Chan – sax, AJ Popshuvit – bass, and KJ Wong – drums).

(Tour schedule to be announced shortly)

I hope you will be able to make it some of our shows. If you’re around China and we happen to be in your city, I hope you can make it for our shows there, too.

Gig: JC with the David Gomes Trio @ RoomEight, Moon Bar

Just confirmed, I’ll be playing with The David Gomes Trio at RoomEight@ Moon Bar this coming Friday 4th April 2014. They are opening up their doors again for Friday Jazz after a short hiatus, with more live jazz coming your way.

Come by, we start from 9:30pm onwards.