Sunday, December 25, 2005
My KLIM training didn't start out that great.
All my plans to run the last two weeks turned out rather lousily. I still ran, but not at the frequency that I wanted it to be. So much for base training. Only ran like twice a week. Somehow the motivation to train seemed to be eluding me.
However, I went out for a long run this morning on a beautiful Christmas morning with KT at Bukit Aman. We got there only about about 9am (very late for some, I'm sure). We saw Ronnie, Tey, and Adam Loh there. Instead of running in Lake Gardens, we decided to hit up Bukit Tunku.
The run started out quite okay, felt a bit heavy at the start, so I made sure I was running at an easy pace. We went the Olympic Run route, where we didn't go to the double hills exactly, but a short cut across, which comes out the Jalan Mahameru. Then we went into Jalan Sultan Salahuddin and came out back to Bukit Aman through the Tugu Negara. My run time just hit one hour exactly, and I finished the run feeling rather good, although not at the fitness I was at before.
Here are the stats for the Christmas Run:
Distance: between 6 - 7km
Time: 1 hour
Ave HR: 156bpm
Max HR: 175bpm.
The hills, as expected, would've pushed up my heart rate quite a bit, but I made sure my Perceived Effort (PE) was on easy-to-medium. But it was quite a n enjoyable run. I just realised I hadn't had a real decent long run in a long time. My motivation has returned a bit. I hope next week I will really swing into training mode!
It's a bit late in the day already, but nevertheless, I want to wish all my Christian friends, and to anybody that celebrates Christmas..
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!
I hope this Christmas brings you joy and happiness, and peace to you and your family! And I pray that it comes every Christmas!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
It'll be on the 5th of March 2006. I am aiming to the half-marathon distance (21.1km plus minus a few.. but knowing M'sian standards, it'll be plus a lot, or minus a lot). I've mapped out a rough training plan for the 14 weeks starting from last week.
Goal: To finish the 21km below 3hrs, secondary goal to finish at or below my Desaru 21k time of 2:47
Training Goals: Build up my running endurance base again, and to do more long runs.
My childhood pal KT has also agreed to join me for the 21k, and we both have started out training last week for it. But sadly, my training last week started out not that great, as I only managed to run 2 days out of the planned 3, and all less than an hour so far. I've laid off run-training for quite a while now, with work and shows last month. Even cycling took a back seat (until today).
Hopefully I'll be able to do more this week than not. Gotta start bucking up and really prioritizing the training aspect of things.
I'll try to blog my training as best as possible.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Where? The Bayview Beach Resort, Batu Ferringhi (beach.. yayyy!)
When? 3rd and 4th December 2005
I decided to drive to Penang instead of taking the transport with some of the other bands. Eddie Wen came with me, and I figured, it would've been easier to move around while in Penang. We won't be tied down with going with the transport, etc.
Oh yeah, I was pretty stupid: I forgot to bring my camera.
2nd Dec - Friday
Nice indian lunch before the drive...
I started out late from my house. My initial idea was to leave between 10 - 12pm, but to pick up Eddie (Wen) at his place in Section 5 PJ. But I only woke up AT 10am (or was it 11am?), and it took me an hour to pack my stuff. Talk about taking my sweet time. I eventually got to Eddie's place at about 1:30pm, we had lunch and we took off to Penang at about 2:30pm. Talk about a real divergence from my plan.
Surprisingly, the traffic was pretty good for the whole trip. It rained here and there, but nothing too long. It was a fun drive (thanks to my brother Gavin, for lending me his Waja.. if he ever reads this), and me and Eddie were talking a lot about stuff, from music to other stuff (we haven't hung out in a long while, so it was a good time to catch up and talk stuff with him!), while listening to the loads of songs in my iPod. I got a digital sound converter cassette, which I connected to the car cassette deck, and I hooked it up with my iPod, and waaa laaa, thousands of songs without bothering about bringing lots of CDs!
We reached Penang around 5:30pm (apparently I was driving rather above the speed limit!), but took another hour to pass through the bridge and reach the hotel at Batu Ferringhi. We checked in with the Festival secretariat, and we managed to get our room keys, and hung out a fairly short while. Before meeting up with the rest of the groups for dinner, we checked out Randy Bernsen's rehearsal with the band, consisting of Mac Chew on keys, Lewis Pragasam on bass, Andy Petersen on bass, and Greg Lyons on saxes. It was quite refreshing to hear Randy's music... the sound reminds me of the fusion jazz sound I haven't heard for a long while, stuff from the mid-to-late 90s. Very nice, especially with a live group, and no sequenced drums or stuff like that. After that, we were brought to one of the Courtyard places just down the road to eat, and we got to hung out a bit with some of the different bands that were to play at the festival.
We got to meet some of the Penang musicians that were playing, namely the Penang Areca Jazz Ensemble, led by Penangite jazz cat-pianist Wilson Quah. The members range from young school students to working, but part-time musicians.
Dee-vee-dee buy one free one...
Me, Eddie and Cheryl (the Nonet's baritone sax player) then went to walk from the Courtyard all the way to the hotel (about 2km long I think). Along the side street, there were lots and lots of stalls, selling loads of stuff, from souveniers (sp?) to dee-vee-dee... pirated obviously! But one of the stalls were offering all four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise for RM80!!!! I totally regret not buying it now.. bugger. Anyway, after walking for about an hour, I managed to find a stall selling some nice GQ-tribal shirts (the ones made in Thailand), of which I got two just for the jazz fest!
After reaching the hotel, we realised we walked pretty far!! But it was worth the fun. A jam session was happening at the time, and I got called to jam, as well (I hadn't expected to jam.. hadn't showered all day!!), but brought out my horn and played a couple of tunes. It was goodnight after that..
3rd Dec - Saturday
Woke up in time for breakfast, and met up with Greg, Sonia, John Borque, Andy, and the rest of the band at the coffee house, and just stuffed myself down with the usual continental breakfast buffet! About 10am, we did our soundcheck for the Greg Lyons Nonet on stage. While warming up with long tones and some quick warmup exercises, I thought to myself, "Nothing like waking up the neighborhood with a bunch of noisy horn players blowing and blowing, from overtone exercises to chromatic exercises!".
Dip in the pool in the hot sun..
After checking sound levels and running through all the tunes briefly, we headed to the pool to swim (it was getting pretty sunny then!). After about an hour, we went to have lunch (prepared for us!), and I got ready for my soundcheck with Sufiah. After another nice shower (it was really, REALLY hot then!), me, Eddie, and Fly just chilled in the room and slept.
After we woke up and got ready, we headed to the buffet room and had a nice dinner (prepared for us, too!). Caught up with the Penang Areca Jazz Ensemble as they started first, but only managed to catch the last two tunes.
Next up was Shanon Shah who did a 25-minute solo act, playing solo piano and singing some classic jazz tunes as well as re-arranged versions of pop tunes.
Sharing the stage after Shanon was Sufiah Noor, and her backup band was me on sax, Eric Li on keys, Fly on bass, and John Thomas on drums. We did 5 tunes, mostly R&B-like tunes, and one of them is Sufiah's original jazz-influenced tune, Malam. After we got off stage, it was Steve White's turn to take the stage. Steve White is a one-man band - playing guitar, harmonica, vocals, and his own custom made foot drum (which he lined into the mixers)! If there's anything, he was the only act that night that reiterated the blues, and its relationship to jazz music! Nothing like the blues...
Our turn next.. the Greg Lyons Nonet (plus one!)! The addition to the band was Sonia Croucher, who plays flute with the band. We started out with Greg's only swing-based tune, Twin Flow, followed by his 7/4 tune Out From The Shadows. Next up was another original (and one of my favorites) Forward Motion (also the title track of Greg's upcoming Nonet album), followed by another odd meter 5/4 tune Built To Last. This song had a very infectious melody, almost reminiscent of an old English folk tune. The mood was brought down quite a bit, as we did Heart Of Stone, a beautiful ballad, re-arranged for the Nonet. We ended our set with the cutting edge, and intense Bridge Of Sighs, another odd meter tune (mixed one at that, from 7/4 to 2/4 to 6/4). It ended with an inspiring and intense drum solo (you could see all the drummers that attended the fest standing off stage next to the drums, checking out every stroke that Lewis was doing!) backed by the 7/4 bassline played to a building intensity with each horn coming in every 2 bars.
The Greg Lyons Nonet were Greg Lyons (saxophones), Lewis Pragasam (drums), Andy Petersen (bass), Mac Chew (keys), Julian Chan (alto sax), Cheryl Mah (baritone sax), Sonia Croucher (flute), John Borque (trumpet), Eddie Wen (flugelhorn), and Francois Godere (trombone). All the tunes except Out From The Shadows, and Heart Of Stone are new compositions which will be out in Greg's new upcoming album.
Next up was Zailan Razak's band.. with special feature, Danial Razak, on percussions! The kid's only about 5 years old and he's already playing some percussion rather notably! On the band was Eric Li (keys), John Thomas (drums), Jimmy Sax (tenor/soprano sax), Danial Razak (percussions), and Zailan Razak (electric bass). They played various funk and latin versions of jazz tunes, which are their strong points, from A Night In Tunisia, to Freedom Jazz Dance.
The last act and the headliner for the night, was Saharadja. A world-music, fusion band from Bali, Indonesia. They played their originals, as well as re-interpretations of covers, such as Sting's Roxanne, and a couple of grooved up classical pieces! A couple of things that impressed me about the band was the bandleader and trumpet player, and one of the guitarist cum vocalist. That cat can sing soprano range with perfect pitching and tone... it almost sounded like it came from a synthesizer! Very nice feel-good music, they played! Of course, there was dancing all around by the end of their set!
Post concert - makan lah... what else?
4th Dec - Sunday
Woke up pretty much in the afternoon.
It was a relaxed day for me. Due to some technical problems, I didn't get to play for Farid Ali's Mr. Gambus Band. So the only thing Eddie and I did was go to town a little bit, had Starbucks Coffee and checked out their female barristas (woo hoo.. cute Penang chicks!), and went back to the hotel to check out Greg's Jazz Improvisation workshop.
Met some Penang sax-playing friends, and we shared some info as well as trying out my horns.
The rest of the night was just enjoying ourselves listening to the bands play.
First up again was the Penang Areca Jazz Ensemble, led by Wilson Quah. Still in their early stages of development, it was nice to see a bunch of people, kids and adults (read: my age group), really interested in playing jazz music! So much enthusiasm... something I have missed for a while!
Jaja (from Japan) was up next. They played their brand of smooth jazz, which wasn't my cup of tea, so I went in with Eddie to have my dinner at the buffet room, as I was getting pretty hungry. I am so mean.. ahahah... but no, I already heard them in Cotton Club two days before.
We got in just in time to see David Gomes Trio featuring Junji Gomes. It was a nice change, as they played some real good straight-ahead jazz stuff, as well as vocal jazz standards! In fact, David's band is probably the only band there playing straightahead jazz, while the other bands had more contemporary and world influences. They played tunes such as Can't Buy Me Love, Almost Like Being In Love, Bluesette (one of my fave tunes they sang that night... not an easy tune to sing.. or play!), Besame Mucho (it had us standing and dancing, that one!), the lovely ballad You Don't Know What Love Is and more. The band consisted of David Gomes (piano and voice), Junji Gomes (vocals), Charles Wong (drums) and Ruslan Imam (double bass).
Korean fusion/progressive jazz-rock group Lazy Monday tore the stage next! Only a guitar-bass-drum trio, they had a rather full sound to start off with, which is a good thing. They played mostly originals as well!
Farid Ali's Mr. Gambus band was up, and they played quite a number of Farid's originals, as well as some jazz standard covers. After a few tunes, he invited Japanese shamisen player Chie Hanawa up on stage. The shamisen is a three-stringed japanese traditional instrument, where the sound is made by plucking them using a rather large pick! She played an original tune, and collaborated with Farid to play tunes such as Take Five, My Favorite Things, and one of Farid's original tune Peace And Friendship. The Mr. Gambus Band was Farid Ali (gambus and voice), Eric Li (keys), Fly (bass), and John Thomas (drums).
The last band, and headliner for the final night, was Randy Bernsen Group - with Randy Bernsen on guitars, featuring Mac Chew on keys, Andy Petersen on bass, Lewis Pragasam on drums, and Greg Lyons on sax. Special guest vocalist Mark David also graced the stage. Randy's tunes were very reminiscent of the jazz fusion stuff from the mid-to-late 90s, with live instruments. I think, one of the key aspects to the sound of that music is the variety of sections in the songs' arrangements, complemented by solo improvisation sections. But of course, the most prominent aspect of the show was that Randy had LOTS of soul! And you could feel it in the music.
The second last tune had special guest Zainal Abidin on vocals and percussion. It's noteworthy to know, that Randy had come and performed in KL many years back, many times. And one of his collaborations included Zainal Abidin as well as Sheila Majid (back in the RAP hey-days).
The finale had me, Eddie, Rio (the trumpet player from Saharadja), and Mark David jamming with the Randy Bernsen Group on Stevie Wonder's Superstition, and it was the party finale, with the audience dancing on the floor in front of the stage! And we all got the chance to play and solo as well. Greg and Rio took individual solos, while me and Eddie decided to do the trade solos, call-and-response kinda thing! That had the audience goin' wild... Yeah!!!
Post concert - we jammed some more at the Swing Pub with some of the Penang cats, Farid, and Randy Bernsen. Then it was makan time. And we all slept through the night.
5th Dec - Monday
I am soooo not a morning person...
Woke up just in time just before the breakfast buffet ended. And I didn't see the usual cats there having breakfast, so I almost had breakfast alone, until Sonia came down. We had breakfast together, and my other mama, Salamiah Hassan (who came with David and Junji), joined us slightly later as well. Then I met up with David, Junji and Charles, and we went to one of the dim sum place a short drive from the hotel (although I only had a drink then).
I didn't want to go back just yet, as I was in a chillout mood the whole day. So I was a little heavy hearted on packing and having to drive all the way back to KL.
This time around, Charles, John and his girlfriend Yin Yee, got a lift back in my car along with Eddie. We joined Greg and wife June, Randy, Andy and daughter Anusha, Peter Lee (president of the Hong Kong Jazz Association), for a nasi kandar lunch. And we drove back home around almost 5pm.
The ride home..
After a rather gruelling drive back to KL, we stopped by Eddie's restaurant at Sec. 5, PJ to have a nice hot chinese home-cooked meal! Eddie drove John and Yin Yee back, while I dropped Charles off back at his place.
It was just great fun in Penang. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Bayview Beach (thanks Paul!). I hope that this year's festival will warrant next year's! I think a lot of us are really looking forward to it.
Hmmm.. if only they could've sponsored one more day, just to chill out...
Here are some pics that I got from other people's camera.. enjoy:
gosh, I'm still too fat dammit!
The Three Stooges - Charles, me, and Eddie
Me contemplating the future..??
The band watches as Greg plays till he turns blue..
Greg making fun of the band.. ahah..no, introduction of the band.
More pictures later!
Pictures courtesy of Sun (Black Machine Productions).
Friday, December 09, 2005
For some highlights and pictures of the second night of the Penang Jazz Fest, check out AllDatJazz.Com website!
Update: Check out the Penang Jazz Festival review on the Kakiseni website here, written eloquently and objectively by James Lochhead.
I played last night at Shangri-la Hotel for the 30th Anniversary of the Sultan Of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah (he was our Agong for a term a couple of years back, remember?) and his wife. I played with members of the National Symphony Orchestra (we were name affectionately the KL Ensemble for the night), and some other outside musicians (like myself). We did a mixture of pop and jazz arrangements with strings and horns. Guest singers were Syafinaz (hot! hot!), Jaclyn Victor, and Sean Ghazi. Datuk Ooi Chean See even conducted two classical pieces (the Sultan's fave tunes) for the night as well. Was a fun gig, nonetheless.
Anyway, I'll be heading up to Penang again this weekend for a club gig... saxophone and DJ. I'm not sure where the club will be or if it's an open gig. But I'll be up there again.. which means, probably more gorging myself down with food!! Argh!!
Well, next week I will have some time to write about my PJF experience.
Till then... TTFN!
Monday, December 05, 2005
I'm really exhausted from the festival, we all just had SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun!
I will write about it soon, I hope. I was kinda stupid that I forgot to bring my camera, but Eddie and a couple of other cats who were there had some pictures taken. So if I do get some pics I will certainly post it online.
... but right now, I just wanna sleep.
But have to finish some emails first... later!
Friday, December 02, 2005
I hope to see you at the Penang Jazz Festival! If you see any of us there, please don't be shy and just come say hi! *damn, that rhymes*
I'll write some more about the fest and what happened (or at least I'll try to), when I get back.
Yay.. vacation for the weekend!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
This time it'll be at the Bayview Beach Resort, Batu Ferringhi, Penang. Click on the pic to go the site, and find out more:
Greg Lyons - tenor, soprano and alto saxophones
Julian Chan - alto saxophone
Cheryl Mah - baritone saxophone
Francois Godere - trombone
John Bourque - trumpet and flugelhorn
Eddie Wen - trumpet and flugelhorn
Mac Chew - keyboards
Lewis Pragasam - drums
Andy Petersen - bass
Date and Time: Saturday, 4th Dec. 9.50pm
MR GAMBUS BAND Featuring CHIE HANAWA from Japan Berklee Graduate, Farid Ali aka Mr. Gambus has in the past couple of years been successfully promoting the “Gambus” – a 12 string Malay traditional lute to the world of jazz.
Farid has performed at numerous Music Festivals all over the world and his recent Festival performances include the PORI Jazz Festival and Jarasum International Jazz Festival with one of Asia’s top Jazz Fusion groups “Asian Spirits” and at the “Jazz On The Lake”, Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa with his own group. Other members of the band include Julian Chan (Horns), Eric Li (Keyboards), John Thomas (Drums) and Fly (Bass).
Joining the Mr. Gambus band is Chie Hanawa, who is the youngest winner in the history of the National Women’s Championships of “Tsugaru Shamisen”. The Shamisen is a Japanese 3 stringed instrument played with a plectrum called the “bachi”.
Like Farid, Chie is in the process of introducing a traditional ethnic Eastern instrument to the world of jazz. This collaboration marks the first time of the fusion of these 2 instruments in the genre of jazz on a Festival stage.
(courtesy of http://www.penangjazz.com)
Sufiah Noor, a Finalist in the Inaugural Malaysian Idol competition, Sufiah started singing at an early age and with aspirations on pursuing her dreams in the entertainment world, Sufiah entered The International College of Music.
Sufiah’s initial foray into the entertainment world began as a backing singer on a number of albums and shows before embarking on her own career. Her debut album showcases her ability in the vein of R&B / Jazz Fusion.
Backing her will be Eric Li (keyboards), Fly (bass), John Thomas (drums) and Julian Chan (sax).
HOPE TO SEE YOU IN PENANG!!!
SUPPORT LIVE JAZZ!!
The gig went okay, wasn't that fantastic, but we had fun nonetheless.
The next day, Saturday, we then played a HSBC function - "Save The Tigers" campaign - at Sheraton Imperial Hotel, KL. It was quite a fun gig, with the David Gomes Ensemble (with three horns, namely me on alto, Shazee on tenor, and Eddie on trumpets), with guest vocalist Mia Palencia. We did some tunes from her Swinging Down To Business repertoire, and then some. Edwin Sumun was MC, and Junji Delfino and Corrinne did a skit based on the endangered tigers. That gig went very well, and the band was SWINGING!!!!!!! Woo hoo.. I hope to be able to play more big band gigs with David.
Sunday's gig was just David's quartet, and the function was the final night for Danaharta. It was held at the KL Hilton Sentral. The gig was okay, not as happening as the HSBC one. But we got rooms at Hilton, with flat screen TV.. so that was cool!
This week.. is all rehearsals. We're preparing for Penang Jazz Festival!
Singapore Marathon 2005
The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will take place on the 4th December this weekend. A lot of my running friends, Pacesetters, Pacemakers, and more will be at this awesome event. I won't be, as I'll be in Penang. But I'll be there in spirit with you guys.. I hope you guys break some PRs there!
GOOD LUCK SINGAPORE MARATHON RUNNERS!!!!
I got my MyKad a couple of days ago! And after having it read in the MyKad reader, I also found out that they updated my driving license into it as well! AHahha.. cool! This means I don't have to go all da way to the JPJ to do my license again! Yee haa... kill two birds with one stone.
But man, I look like a perv on the image they took lah.. oh wait, I think I am lah.. hahahah..
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
It’s been a busy two weeks for me. I thank GOD for that! I’ve been busy playing and stuff, I hardly even had time to go exercising!
This next two weeks, I’ll definitely be busy as a bee, so here’s why!
The KL Hard Bop Quintet @ Avanti’s Friday Nite Jazz
Date and Time:
25 Nov 2005, Friday. Music starts 10pm onwards
Avanti’s Italian-American Ristorante, Sunway Hotel, Sunway.
Contact: 03-7492 8000 ext 3176 for reservations.
The KL Hardbop Quintet, a newly formed dynamic group, will be the first few groups ever to play bop classics from the 50s – 70s, with influences ranging from the great Cannonball Adderley Quintet to Horace Silver. In addition, they will also inject modern stylistic influences into the music, creating a palette of traditional and modern expression. They made their performance debut in KL at Alexis Bistro, Ampang earlier in the year. So if you’ve missed that show, don’t miss this one!
Led by Julian Chan on saxophones, he will be backed up by some of KL’s most stellar musicians around, including David Gomes on piano, Wan Azfarezal on double bass, Charles Wong on drums. Also get ready for some special guests performers to sit in with the band!
Sit back, and enjoy the “HARD BOP”- style sound presented and re-interpreted by this newly formed quintet.
* * * * *
The Greg Lyons Band @ Alexis Ampang
Greg Lyons is back in Alexis for this weekend, and he’ll be backed by his numero uno stellar jazz all-star band, with Michael Veerapen on piano, Lewis Pragasam on drums, and Andy Petersen on electric bass. He’ll be performing his original tunes from his Island To Island album (which you can purchase at the gig), as well as other jazz standards. Expect nothing less than beautiful, riveting music from this world-class jazz quartet!
Date and Time:
25, 26 Nov (Friday and Saturday). Music starts 10:30pm onwards.
Venue: Alexis Bistro and Wine Bar, Great Eastern Mall, Jln Ampang.
Contact: 03 4260 2288 for reservations.
Don’t miss it! Head down to Alexis this weekend to finish off your weekend with great music from a great band!
Having said that…
Next week will be full of preparations, rehearsals for the upcoming Penang Jazz Festival, at the Bayview Beach Resort on 3rd and 4th Dec. I will be updating more when I return from my Jazz @ Southbridge gig in Singapore tomorrow, and after the Hardbop gig.
So stay tuned!
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Long answer, go look it up yourself, if you have time. I can use an entire Blogger server to try to explain it. In fact, I'm still trying to figure it out, and learn it as well. So the "server" in my brain is still trying to digest the 100-year history and the significance of jazz. But I'm not getting into that... what I'm getting into, is about being in a jazz band.
What's it like being in a jazz band?
The answer to that varies. I've played in jazz-based bands which are kick-a** and I've been in less than mediocre ones. The good bands I've played in have all one thing in common: respect. And also the spirit of teamwork.
Okay, so that's two things. Actually there's more lah.
This past five years have been quite interesting for me musically. I've listened to more jazz than the first eight years of my sax-playing life. And as each year passes, I come out having learnt and understanding more things than before, about jazz and playing music.
Playing jazz isn't about mindless, masturbatory soloing and showing off your chops (not to say my chops are great... I'm still working on it). Playing jazz is about playing any music... it's about making music. Every musician in a jazz band (or any band for that matter) has an important role in the band. A musician in a jazz band isn't isolatory... a jazz band is a single entity, and each component in the entity must function with the rest of the group to able to create music and make sense out of it. The moment one person in the band starts to lose sight of that, the equilibrium and the synergy of the music will fall apart. It becomes a one man show. Can you imagine what happens if one of your body parts, say, your HAND, starts to have a life of its own? Scary right?
Yours truly have been guilty of such indiscretion. Of course, at one point, every learning musician will go through this. It's a rite of passage, in a way. If you're lucky, you'll have people telling you off. If you're unlucky, no one will.. and you might spend the rest of your life thinking you're the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Where a band is concerned, it's about a group of musicians, with same understanding and respect for the music, coming together and trying to work together to make a statement, to create something beautiful together.
The drummer - he's the very foundation of where the band lies, the primary responsibility isn't only to keep time, but to lay the groove. The drums are the platform where the band stands on. It has to be firm, but also complementary to the rest of the band members.
The bassist - he's the backbone of the band. The bass player has a dual responsibility of laying the groove AND playing the root of the harmony of the song. His time, groove, and harmony must be firm.
The pianist/guitarist - the primary source of colors for the band. The chord and harmony players. They also provide some of the rhythmic colors in the band. Unless they're taking a solo, they're usually accompanying, or comping, the soloist. Comping usually involves playing the chords, in a rhythmic manner, which complements what the soloist is doing. In addition, the chord players also provide rhythmic or harmonic ideas for the soloist to feed off on, and the soloist will take it someplace from there. On SOME occasions, the pianist will reply a melodic idea from the soloist, and if the soloist reciprocates, the pianist will do the same (but probably with another idea), hence creating a "conversation" between the band members.
The soloist (singer, horn player, sometimes guitarist, instrumentalist) - he's the frontline of the band. For most part, they're usually in charge of playing the melody. If there's more than one frontliner, then there are usually separate harmonic voices playing the melody, creating a richer melody of the song. Their main role is to state the melody nice and clear, and augment and create more melodies in their solos.
It takes a certain amount of empathy, alongside musical understanding to try to complement each other in a band. There are times when a particular component in the band will have an idea, and if based on his musical empathy, the player feels that the idea can make the music more interesting, he will play it at the right time to feed ideas into the live musical process. This serves as possible interesting ideas for the particular soloist at the time, and he can feed off it, and take the music into a more interesting area.
Each of these components have their place in the band. There's a time and place for each members to play certain things. If any of them starts to go beyond a certain boundary, or to proverbialize it... stepping on others' toes... then, the whole thing becomes rojak! A real mess. When the soloist is playing or improvising, if the piano player starts to play and improvises melodies (than comping) more than the soloist, it gets in the way of the soloist, and not giving space. First thing - it's terribly irritating, and secondly it's basically taking away the only space the soloist have in trying to tell a story.
Imagine a coffee table conversation: one person talks, telling his story. While that person talks, another person tries to talk simultaneously, but not to complement or give ideas to the main person talking... but saying totally incongruent, irrelevant topics. Rude or not?
This concept applies to everyday dealings. If you work in a team, and a member in your team starts having illusions of glory and not thinking about the project at hand, he/she is going to be a liability in the the team, and you're not going to achieve your team goals. And most importantly, it's total disrespect and inconsideration to the rest of the team members. Next thing you know, you get fired!
Jazz... is about cooperation and respect, in line with fulfilling the same goal and objectives: Creating beautiful music.
It's not about showing how well you play or sing. Or showing off to your friends.
It's about making music.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
But on the local front, check out these gigs:
GRUVAVÉNUE™ @ BANGKOK JAZZ BISTRO
Date and Time:
18 November 2005, 10pm onwards.
Bangkok Jazz Thai Bistro, Lot B1, Chulan Square, 92 Jalan Raja Chulan 50200 KL
603 – 2145 8708 for reservations.
Cover: Free admission!!
GruvAvenue is Vincent Ong (bass and leader), Charles Wong (drums), Clement Siow (piano and keys), and Shazee (saxophone).
For more info, check out:
Band website here.
Band updates page.
* * * * *
SUFLAN AND FRIENDS @ ALEXIS BISTRO
Date and Time:
18 and 19 November 2005, music starts 10:30pm
Alexis Bistro and Wine Bar, Great Eastern Mall, Jln Ampang
02-4260 2288 for reservations
This time around, bandleader and pianist cum lawyer by day Suflan will be backed by Julian Chan (saxophones), Fly (electric bass), and Steve Nanda (drums).
On guest vocals will be Sari (sp?) from Akademi Fantasia, where he'll be belting out some Stevie Wonder, James Ingrams and some interesting R&B favorites.
Catch you there!
SUPPORT LIVE JAZZ SCENE IN KL!!
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I can't believe my story on me being pickpocketed became such a hit!!
I really appreciate the consolations, etc... but I really have to say that it wasn't a race issue! Actually, I only wrote some of the stuff I wrote out of anger of things that HAPPENS in KL. And also it's perpetuated and made worse by some of the lacksadaisical attitude of public servants, and I dare say the typical Malaysian (I didn't say MALAYS)... the fact that the majority of public servants are Malays isn't the issue. However I can't deny that most of the Malay public servants seemed to have that kind of attitude, most would associate with what former PM Tun Mahathir identifies as "The Malay Dilemma".
But I don't think it's a racial issue.. it's an environmental (and not of the green variety, thank you!) issue. The typical Malay of the new generation (born post-1970s) are spoiled by their predecessors who are now in positions of power in the government. They are "overprotected" if you will, and we all know what happens to a person when we get overprotected. We don't have to look far.. just look at Proton.. and the quality of the cars it's been making the last 20 years! Not all Malays will be spoiled... some of them are aware of the situation in Malaysia, and they work hard not to fall into the trap. They are trapped in the situation where they're thinking has become such where, "oh, I don't have to work so hard lah.. why work so hard.. not much difference also.. i'm content on just working my share and then going home to eat and sleep". There's no room for self-improvement, or rather, one would find thinking about the future WAY too much trouble! All this manifests into whatever I or any other blokes, Malay or non-Malay, would've experienced, having encountered public servants.
My friends Azwar and Ajeep are definite part of the latter.. and a few of my Malay friends too! My current next-door neighbors too. Very hardworking, forward thinking people.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, not all public servants have that attitude, and I've certainly encountered them. But they're only a small handful. Those in the private sector would have more to worry about, to earn their keep. They're made to work hard and work well, so that they get promoted, or get more pay, or even a better reputation. This is the same for non-Malays.
Now.. the Chinese.. wow! That's another story. Our environment is such that, because we're not bumiputra, they are a lot of matters that non-bumiputras have to face, that pushes them to work hard and make sure they don't fall behind. However, after a long period of having being in that situation, we've become more materialistic, and have this "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude. Some may even be kiasu. We focus our lives into gathering of material, and making sure we have plenty for the future (which is not a bad thing), but to the point it has become the SOLE purpose for working! Like Boney M... it's MONEY, MONEY, MONEY... or Poetic Ammo... IT'S ABOUT DA MONEY...
... just look at the Singaporeans! But I think the Singaporeans have it worse... it's like.. it's almost a non-choice for them!
Azwar: BTW, Singapore has plenty of Malays... but I think, being the minority, they're actually in the same situation as us Chinese here in Malaysia!
The only difference between Malaysians and Singaporeans... the Chinese aren't "protected" by the government. Anyone who resides and works in Singapore are equal in terms of footing.. be it Chinese, Malay, Indian, or foreign ethniticity! Work hard, or eat nothing!
I'm ranting here.. I don't think TOO hard about this! Where I'm concerned, there are things I don't like about Malays, Chinese AND Indians in this countries. But most importantly, I definitely don't like some of the TYPICAL Malaysian attitudes, like the "tak apa" kind of bollocks. There's plenty of that around. And I'm also guilty for it, but only for certain situations where it's not appropriate.
But even most importantly... I appreciate the multi-ethniticity (am I spelling this wrong?) in our country. It makes our country one of the most liveable countries in the world! I like my Malay friends, my Indian friends, and certainly my Chinese friends.
So cut that crap about all this racial bullshit... it shouldn't even be there. There are no room for racists in Malaysia. If you are, you're probably no better than the Nazi's!
Like Russell Peters said.. we're all gonna be brown or beige.. so let's start "mixing" now!!! Any ladies wanna mix with me?
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I never had the liking for going to the dentists' office. But then again, who in their right mind does? I don't.. but believe it or not, dentists play such an important role in our lives, whether you know it or not. I was sitting on the chair waiting to to be operated, and some of the small epiphanies that I got was that the whole world is like a giant machine. Or each individual is a smaller machine running the bigger ones. As a self-contained machine, we do things in our life as we do them, but sometimes there are small, unnoticeable things play a part which can enrich the process or wreck them. A rotten teeth is the latter, while having a dentist is the former! Even though we (supposedly) go to the dentist only TWICE a year, but it is this small inconvenience and sometimes pain, that makes the rest of our lives comfortable, and we can do the things we have to do in our daily lives.
So, despite hating going to the dentists, I take my hats off to you! Good job, guys..
I'll be heading over to the NEW No Black Tie later!
YES! No Black Tie is back... the most musically-charged club is back in town! Expect nothing less than top notch inspiring music from this place! A lot of us have been waiting for this to happen, and now it's here. Despite what a lot of people said about the club in its previous form and its owner, that's the closest you can get to some real good music and some real art and expression. It takes such a person of real passion to be able to run a good jazz club!! It takes a person of real passion to really create that vibe that you get in a good jazz club.
So, when it opens up officially, go and support the club, and you're supporting the local music scene in town
NO BLACK TIE is at 17 Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, behind Istana Hotel. Music starts 10pm
If you haven't read the news on it on Sunday, let me update you a little bit:
PENANG JAZZ FESTIVAL 2005 is happening on the 3rd and 4th December, Saturday and Sunday. There'll be six acts a night, and the ticket prices are going for RM35 a night. Among the local acts will be David Gomes Trio, Greg Lyons Nonet, Mr. Gambus Farid Ali band featuring Chie Hanawa, and Penang Arcea Ensemble. The international acts will be Jaja (Japan), Randy Bernsen Band (USA), Lazy Monday (Korea), Steve White (USA) and some others.
For more information visit the Penang Jazz Fest 2005 website and AllDatJazz.Com.
See you in Penang!!
SUPPORT LIVE JAZZ IN MALAYSIA!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
I just got back from Singapore yesterday evening, from my Southbridge gig. If you don't know already, I'm playing with the David Gomes Trio at Jazz @ Southbridge (JSB) on Thursday nights for the month of November.
David is the resident pianist/bandleader at JSB every alternate month, and he's backed by house rhythm section Eddie Jensen on electric bass and Tan Boon Gee on the drums. I'll be playing on Thursdays this whole month except on the 17th, where guitarist Eugene Pao from Hong Kong takes the weekend there. Other than that, Wednesdays feature Singaporean guitarist Andrew Lim (really nice cat and jazz guitarist!), Fridays and Saturdays feature Junji Delfino on vocals.
I hitched a ride with David and Junji on their van, as the decided to drive down instead, to beat the festival rush. We left at 4am and got there around 10am, and to our delight, it was still clear from traffic! Then, we had a late breakfast in a nice little coffeeshop, kopitiam-style, and we crashed at our respective accomodations. I stayed at my aunt's place in Bedok.
I woke up a short while in the late afternoon, only to sleep again after about 20 minutes. I didn't know I was that tired. Woke up again, finally, at almost 6.30pm, soaked my reeds and practiced a short while. Then I headed out to JSB to check out David, Andrew and the rest of the band. I also got to jam with them, or rather, finish both the second and third set with them. It was quite a pleasure listening to Andrew play AND jamming with him as well. A very Wes Montgomery, Grant Green kind of style, it's the kind of guitarist that I enjoy listening to... tasteful, and melodic, and not overindulgent when it comes to improvising.
After the gig, I joined some of the young cats, like Andrew, Boon Gee, and a few other friends from Singapore, and went to Arab Street to have supper. We went to this Middle Eastern restaurant, and I ate something called foul, some kind of beans usually used for chili (the Western-style chili not the Asian spicy-hot type). It's made into gravy, and he also added fried egg on top of the foul (I think it was cooked on top of the foul), and served with arab bread. Oh my god, it was such a delight! I've never had anything like that here in KL. I'm gonna make it a point to drop by again next week! Anyway, after 2-hours of talking and bantering, we headed home to crash.
I woke up late morning, and I headed out to town to get my bus tickets from Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road. I was a little apprehensive about getting tickets in light of the festival rush, but I managed to get 1pm tickets for Friday. I then had some spare time and headed down to Borders to check out some books and CDs, but didn't intend to buy anything... no budget! Headed home to rest before the gig.
First night at JSB..
I got up about 7-ish, got ready and had dinner before heading to JSB. Although not my first time playing there, I was still rather nervous, as it's my first official night at the club.
We started off playing Footprints, several other jazz standards, such as Body and Soul, and some vocal tunes from David for the first set. During the break, my sifu Greg Lyons and wife, June, came to the bar! Now that was double-y nerve-wrecking! My sifu going to see me play. Anyway, the second set started with Invitation, and David invited JSB-owner Eddie Chan to play a couple of tunes on vibes. We jammed on Just Friends and Chick Corea's 500 Miles High. Then, David invited Greg (gulp!) to play on stage. We jammed on Miles Davis' Four, and I proceeded to let Greg have the stage to finish off the set with Here's That Rainy Day and It Could Happen To You. Wow.. lucky night! In the third set, after a couple of tunes, David invited Singaporean pianist Wei Siang to jam on a couple of tunes. We played Bye Bye Blackbird and finished off with a blistering fast (my fault.. for play-counting it off real fast) version of Cherokee.
Supper and more..
As usual, it was suppertime. David, Junji, Boon Gee and myself headed to this nifty place called Mustapha's somewhere near Arab Street. It's really a shopping complex, and Boon Gee describes it as the whole Orchard Road in one building! After a quick supper, we checked out Mustafa's and it seemed like they almost have EVERYTHING.. from blood-pressure monitors to sports equipment, and everything in between! And the prices weren't too bad too, not necessarily much cheaper, but some things are.
Did I mention they open 24 hours?!?!
I managed to buy some stuff there, and use up a third of my night's pay! Hehehe.. but mostly stuff for my family. You can't get Gardenia's flavored grain bread (Fruit and Nut Loaf, or even California Raisin) back here in KL. So I had to get a few to freeze-keep and we'll have stuff to eat for breakfast and sometimes in between meals!
Headed home in a taxi, while it was raining cats and dogs.. a nice night to sleep tight!
Warning: The following passages will contain explicit language. If you're easily offended by it, please do not continue reading. It's rated PG-15 (L).
I woke up late morning again, and just enough time to pack my things and head down to the bus station. I managed to find a vegetarian stall in the Golden Mile foodcourt opposite the bus station that served really nice mee rebus on Fridays! Wow, talk about a nice meal!
Boarded the bus, and had an uneventful ride back to KL.
I reached KL, and I arranged a ride with my bud, KT and rendezvous with him at Kelana Jaya Putra station. So I took a Star LRT train and headed to Masjid Jamek stop to grab the Putra line to Kelana Jaya. And like usual, it takes ages for the train to come and it such a pain to transit in between service lines. Just a little note, that I was carrying my horn on my back, another backpack, and a heavy bread-filled skycap luggage! And some of the escalators weren't working! Biatch..
Again, the mass rail transit system in Singapore is so effective and efficient, you won't have problems getting around town. And the trains and the stations are so user-friendly, you don't have to scratch your head finding the transit stops.
I got onto the Masjid Jamek train, and I couldn't believe it was so packed with people. I noticed that it was packed with people who weren't local as well.. lots of foreign people, who I presumed were either from Indonesia, Thai, Burmese or some others. Instead of politely getting into the carriages, they happily BARGED themselves in the train pushing all others in the process.
Because I was carrying so much stuff, and jammed packed like sardines in a can, I didn't pay full attention to that nugging feeling in my ZIPPED pocket. When the train stopped at Central Market, some of the crowd in the train dispersed and exited there. I only realised then, when there was a sudden lightness in my right side of my pants, that I had been pickpocketed!! Some motherf*cker took my wallet!! I couldn't really do anything at that point, as the thief may have went out at that last stop, and I decided to exit out at KL Sentral station. I called KT and told him what happened, and he came over to KL Sentral to pick me up. I also made the necessary calls to cancel the credit cards I had on my wallet and told my parents (who were in Port Dickson). I also reported with the KL Sentral authorities.
Police..?? What for...??
KT and HS came over to Sentral, and we proceeded to find out which police station I have to go to, to report this. I asked the cop who was outside at the station, and he took me to the pondok polis (police hut/branch) at KL Sentral. They then forwarded me to the Jalan Brickfields station, and made the report. I was only told then I found out that to report a stolen wallet (crime-based reports) I have to go the Jalan Tun H.S Lee station at Jalan Stadium! The officer actually called the KL Sentral police hut branch and told them off, for "forwarding" this report to the wrong station. Oh yeah, they had the cheek to charge me rm2 for issuing a missing driving license report!
WHAT THE FUCK?????????
I just got my fucking wallet stolen, and they wanted me to pay rm2? Where the fuck am I supposed to get rm2?? From my asshole ah? Abso-fuckin-lutely stupid idiots! That's MALAYSIANS for you, ladies and gentlemen!
NOTE: Thanks KT and HS for helping me out on the short term money problem!
Oh yeah, then I was forwarded to the Jln Tun HS Lee station to hand in the report. I got there, only to find out that I didn't have to! But those lazy fucking idiots at Jalan Brickfields were to fucking lazy to report it themselves! The officer at the Tun HS Lee station had to apologize to me for having to go all the way there.
What the fuck is wrong with this system??? If you wanna report a crime, you have to go to this station. If you wanna report a car accident or road-based reports, you have to go to that station? Absolutely fucking stupid idiots of Malaysian government! Might has well just get rid of the police in the whole?
Calm of the storm...
I apologize for the blatant anger in this one. If you met me in person yesterday when this shit happened, I was a whole lot more calmer and composed than I sound. I didn't see a point of getting all raged up. The deed is done, and there's nothing much I can do about it. I'm only using this blog as a conduit to vent out them frustrations in me, which I will not do it out physically.
The rest is all just bad karma. And I'm willing to take it in as just part of life experience, and as retribution for my bad deeds in the past lives or so.
To the thief who stole my wallet:
If you die today or in the next couple of days, or ever....
...I hope you die out of a car accident, or you get shot, or you get mugged, or you die from diabetes, hepatitis, herpes, syphillis, STD or AIDS, get fucked in the ass by some ass-lover from the lockup who makes you his bitch, and whatever method you like!
But I forgive you. I consider this as retribution for the wrong I did to you in my previous incarnation.
If you ever return or leave my wallet somewhere and take the cash, please leave my essentials behind.
Oh yeah, this will be the last time I'm ever taking public transport in Kuala Lumpur. I'll say it once and I'll say it again... the public transportation system in KL is ABSO-FUCKIN-LUTELY HOPELESS!!!! I thank God in its infinity for my car. I'll even spend the extra cash for a taxi.
FUCK YOU PUTRA LRT and STAR LRT! I hope you bankrupt and let the goverment take over fully! Then again, the government wouldn't even do a good job doing it as well! Forget it, you all are doomed muthafuckas!!
After making all that police reports, we had some dinner at PJ, and KT sent HS and me home. I went out for a 30k bike ride at 11.30pm at Putrajaya to sweat out some of this deep aggression.
It's like a totally different reality here in KL. Especially just coming out of Singapore, it feels like I'm in a totally different dimension from the last one I was at. Maybe I should have stayed a couple of days more..
Monday, October 31, 2005
I got to know Pudjo Djuliarso by chance, really. He somehow managed to find my number and he SMS-ed me to try to hook up his piano player son, Nial, with some local jazz cats to do a gig here in KL. Nial's a Berklee graduate, an awesome player by the way, and now doing his Masters training in Julliard (with those Lincoln Center cats!! Wooo hooo.. shows you where he's at!). Then, I only met Pudjo in person early September when I was in Singapore to watch Joshua Redman. Pudjo is a bass player, and he used to gig when he was younger in Germany and a few places, before he finally became a fulltime lawyer. He's such a nice cat!
Anyway, we had lunch and coffee, and later on parted ways. After doing a few stops in some of the shops in KLCC, I proceeded to Lake Gardens and go for a run (always bring running gear just in case!). I felt good enough to do one, so I did. I planned to do a long run, well.. sort of a long run.
Here was my running route in LG:
Bukit Aman car park --> past Lake Club --> children's playground --> up into Carcosa road --> down back into Lake (facing KL Hilton Sentral) --> up on to Jalan Perdana slope --> Bird park --> back to Bkt Aman car park.
I estimated the distance to be around 4.25km. Managed to do two rounds of it.
Here are some stats:
Date: 30 Oct 2005
Location: Lake Gardens
Time started: 6pm
Total time - 1 hr 13 mins
Distance - approx 8.5km
Pace - 8:36 min/km
Average HR - 155 (80% of max)
Max HR - 170 (88% of max)
Main goal for this month and part of next month is to build some endurance running base, before I can start training for 21k for KL Int'l Marathon next year. Planned heart rate range is between 70% - 80% of max, i.e. the aerobic training range. This is to help build endurance by using more slow twitch muscles so that I can run longer distances, and also it's the weight loss range. Running at that range trains the body to use up energy from from other sources (ie. fat) and not directly from glycogen sources in the muscles.
After a nice shower, I met up with my parents for a nice dinner at The Curve.
It's called a kolam, an indian color art. I'm not too sure at the moment if it's colored rice, or powder. Fellow Indians, please enlighten me and my readers by posting a comment and telling me what you guys use to do the kolam. It's an amazing piece of art, usually done in festive celebrations, like Deepavali.
Now I'm sure you all must have seen the banners: HAPPY DEEPARAYA or something to that effect. Talk about media blitz.. such a Malaysian thing. DEEPARAYA?? That's like a combination of Deepavali and Hari Raya, which has been close to each other for the past 2 years, I think. If you ask me, it's just a lazy man term. Instead of printing out Selamat Hari Raya dan Selamat Deepavali, they come out with this term. HAhaha...
So, to not subscribe to that kind of laziness,
I would like to wish all my Muslim friends and Hindu friends a..
SELAMAT HARI RAYA AND HAPPY DEEPAVALI!!!!
So I can't wait to down your ketupat and kuah kacang, as well as your thosai and dhal and kurma!!!! Which means I will have to work double-y hard at my running!!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
We did the usual Powerman 30k loop. But we did only 2 loops. Took us about 2 hours and 16 minutes. I think I was working a little harder than usual. I was pushing a bit more on some of the hills, and definitely hitting it up more than before. So much so, it sure made my heart rate go up to 90-over percent, but only for short periods, less than 2 minutes of intensity before my heart rate recovers to around 75%. It's definitely good training to build and increase power output on flats as well as hills.
So here are some stats:
Date: 29 Oct 2005
Time start: 9:53pm
Location: Putrajaya, Powerman loop
Distance - 55.5km
Time - 2:16:10
Average speed - 24.2km/h
Max speed - 48.5km/h
Calories burnt - 978.0
Average HR - 142bpm (74% of max)
Max HR - 176bpm (91% of max)
Did I tell you I actually love cycling, and wanted to get into it for a long time?
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Woke up late for one, as I planned to go out for a 30+km ride. Instead of 8am, I woke up almost 10am. I still decided to go and ride, although the weather was getting a little warmer. Just as I was out the door, and clipping on my right foot, I heard the sound of high pressure air release. It was coming from my rear tyre....
I could just forget about riding for the day. After that I changed the tube (that's THREE tubes, gone, mind you!), and making sure that it's placed properly (I think the last tube wasn't placed properly). I proceeded to try to adjust the rear caliper brakes, as the quick release mechanism wasn't adjusted properly. A couple of other small mishaps also happened from that, and after managing to put everything back together, I had to readjust the whole rear brake, and make sure the brake travel and braking response was good.
By that time it was already almost 2pm. Shit.
Already lost my mood to practice. And I got a bit of a runny nose, so I just took a short nap.
Came online, and found an interesting story from my cycling/running buddy Azwar. Check out his interesting adventure that took place yesterday, here.
I'm going to KLCC to go run after this. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I got this off Edwin's (Joo Ngan's Bike Shop in Uptown, PJ) yesterday, when I sent my bike for a monthly tune and check-up. Paid rm15 for it... but it's original (despite the fact it's made in China.. bollocks). It cost that price, simply because of shipping costs. The Lance Armstrong Foundation store does not ship their merchandise to Malaysia (awww, come on Lance.. you got lotsa supporters here, man!), so he had them shipped to Australia, and then to Kuala Lumpur. The bands actually cost US$1 a piece, but it's sold in packs of 10s, 100s, and 1200s. So now my right wrist is highly decorated with Malaysian Cancer Society's black and white CELEBRATE LIFE and LAF's LIVESTRONG™ band.
If you're interested in getting the wristband, go to Joo Ngan's Bicycle Shop in Damansara Uptown, PJ SS21 to get yours now. Edwin Ng (son of Ng Joo Ngan, national cycling coach) runs the place. So drop by, have your bike fixed, and say hi to the guy. Nice cat, he is.
* * * * *
On another note, I also managed to get Siti Nurhaliza's Royal Albert Hall performance on VCD yesterday.
You must be thinking? WHAT? Julian watch Siti Nurhaliza? Julian's a fan, meh?
Well, I'm not a big fan of Siti or whatever. I'm definitely not into the Siti craze. I mainly got it to check out the show. I saw parts of it during their stage rehearsals at PWTC, and it was pretty amazing. The whole crew, the musicians, dancers, sound people, producers, etc, worked for several months to get this show on the road. And from what I saw in the VCD, the hard definitely paid off.
Anyway, my teacher, boss, friend Greg Lyons and a whole other bunch of top-notch Malaysian musicians played on that show. Cats like Aubrey Suwito, my friend Jason Woo, the distinguished Andy Petersen, Zahid Ahmad, me Aussie mate Jamie Wilson, seruling (bamboo flute) player Kesavan (also from Aseana Percussion Unit), and others.
The show was musically directed by Roslan Aziz, a visionary in his own right.
Anyway, my comments on the concert: It was simply AWESOME! The whole production was definitely fantastic. First things first, to have a Malaysian act to go into RAH in this scale is already quite a historical achievement for Malaysia. Siti is a real class act, her voice definitely unique. And from what I've been told, she works really extra hard... going for so many rehearsals (more than what other artistes would be normally comfortable with). And in each rehearsal, she gives it 101%. That's so un-Malaysian...which in this case is a good thing! Fantastic working attitude.
By the way, I got the VCD ORIGINAL!!! For RM29.90. So if you're interested in watching a good show, or a Siti
friend fan, get the original, and support the local music industry. I think the DVD will be coming out soon. And I heard the mixing will be better. So look out for that one too.
* * * * *
Sh*t.. didn't run today. Was planning to run in KLCC park, but it was raining, even before I wanted to leave home. Got that info from a friend living in KL. Argh, will try to do a ride the morning and a run in the evening (hopefully) tomorrow.
Oh yeah, I just updated my gig listings again. Check out the Upcoming Performances section for the revised dates. Hopefully you can come and watch some of it.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
When I got to the 30k point, I decided to continue on rather than doubling back. I saw the side road sign, saying Kajang was another (approximately 40k). So I thought to myself, "what the heck, let's just go straight and go all the way back to Kajang from this way". I basically knew where the route will end up: basically passes the Nirwana Memorial Park and out to Semenyih, and turns right on Jalan Semenyih to go back to Kajang.
The first half of the ride wasn't as interesting as the second half. I didn't like the puddles from last night's rain, and basically my bike and some parts of my bike gear was soiled from mud puddles. It was a fairly easy ride, for me.
Here are some picks from before the 30k point, this is in 14th Mile, Sg. Lui, Hulu Langat:
You could see that it's pretty quiet on Sundays. Which is great for cyclists, I definitely saw several groups riding past me on the opposite side.
After several kilometres past the 30k point, I was shifting some gears as I was approaching a slight incline. My chains skipped gears and it came out from the cranks. At the time, I lost momentum and was just stopping. And it was then I realised I was still clipped on the pedals! I couldn't remove shoes in time, and next thing I knew, I FELL! I fell to the left on the grass and grime. What was more embarrasing was there was a house under construction right ahead of where I fell, and there were several workers. I wasn't sure whether they saw me, but I don't think they gave a damn (even if they did notice me, I think). After brushing off sand and grass from my hands and legs and wherever, I fixed my chain and continued my ride.
Just as I was cruising nicely, I saw up ahead, the T-junction to which lead to Semenyih. But before that T-junction was a fairly high slope! I was like, "Oh, sh*t..", and next thing I knew I was down to my smallest gears and slowly climbing up just to that junction. I turned right, which heads to Semenyih, but right after that turning, is another uphill! Oh my god...tough, man!! And you know me, I'm heavy, so I'm so bad with hills. I made another totally stupid mistake, I wanted to stop and adjust my pants. So I unclipped myself, and I had trouble trying to start up the hill halfway! Just at that moment, a bunch of training professional cyclists (with support car, even), just passed me on the opposite side of the road, all enjoying the downhill and watching me struggle trying to clip my shoe in and start up the hill! Malu siut... (embarrassed like hell!).
After climbing that hill, I came across a few flat parts and some other uphills which I handled okay, just by climbing slowly with all small gears. There were even a few downhills which were really fun to go through, as they were really smooth downhills and I was going at about 60km/h, and how exhilirating it was!!
Later on, I realised my rear tyre was running out of air! I stopped at the side of the road, just overlooking the Hulu Langat dam, so I could pump air into my tyre (and take my PowerGel to get some energy boost). After pumping it, I took another two pictures:
I then proceeded to continue cycling. I stopped another two more times to pump the rear tyre, as it kept getting flat. I passed Nirwana Memorial Park and I'd expected another 6 - 8km before I reach Semenyih at the Jalan Semenyih junction. At this point I was still cruising at around 25 - 30km/h. All of a sudden, a cyclist passed me from behind. We exchanged greetings. I was rather flabbergasted... he was on a mountain bike! Here I was on a road bike, and I was being overtaken by a mountain biker! Pretty embarrassing, actually. But then again, this guy might have been riding for a long time, and he seems to be hitting to really big gears. I tried to tail and overtake him, but I couldn't, as the road surface wasn't that smooth, and I didn't want to further stress my tyre.
After turning right into Jalan Semenyih heading to Kajang, my rear tyre finally gave way, and coincidentally (or maybe not, it could be just divine intervention... if you believe this stuff, and somehow I think it might be), it was right before a ProJet petrol station! I got off the bike, removed my shoes, and walked to the station. I then sat at the patio with tables and chairs, and proceeded to change my tyre tubes. It's my first time changing them tubes, and it took me about half an hour, I think.
Met up with KT when I cycled to his place (on the way back home), and had a small lunch. I left my bike at his house, and when I came back to get it, it was still flat again!! We both examined the tyre, and we found a small little pebble stuck in the outer rubber tyre which caused both old and new tube to puncture! So I had wasted one tube. Bugger. Luckily, I bring two spare tubes, so
we KT helped me as well to change to a new tube again (KT: Never trust the book, entirely). I also used up one CO2 (carbon dioxide) cartridge to fill up my tyre with air.
I rode home after that.
Talk about a ride with experience. I learnt how to change a flat, and even had my FIRST EVER fall on my bike. Well, I was quite happy actually, that I learnt a couple of new things today.
So here's a summary of my ride today:
Route: Kajang -->Hulu Langat, Sg. Lui --> Semenyih --> Kajang
Riding time: 3 hours
Starting time: 8am
Average speed: 23.6km/h
Max speed: 61.3km/h
Calories burnt: 1261.o kj
Average heart rate: 145 bpm (75% of max HR)
Max heart rate: 177 bpm (91.7% of max HR)
Till the next time! Have a good weekend y'all.