Sunday, July 30, 2006

Kenny Garret on "Human Nature"

Check this video of Kenny Garrett's solo on Michael Jackson's "Human Nature".

From Miles In Paris DVD concert in 85 (I think!).
My favorite sax player.. what a killer!

Ladies and gentleman.. Kenny Garrett!!!

Song: Chief Blackwater, from Standard of Language.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

This week @ The Top Room!

July 29 & 30 marks two firsts at The Top Room.

The "first" first...

Julian Chan, that magnificent young chap and his "multihorniebilities" [well, he does play the flute as well as alto, soprano & tenor sax!] is back at the swingiest joint in town... this time lending his name to his very own five-piece line-up.

The "second" first...

The charismatic Sharizan Borhan of the recently launched Timeless [recorded live @ Avanti Jazzaurant] album is appearing for the first time at the Top Room!

Presenting...



Be there this Friday and Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and get your hearts a-throbbing with these two cats. Entrance to The Top Room is now down to a one-drink minimum so there really is no reason why you shouldn't be there!

And not forgetting, our Sunday afternoon jazz jam sessions are picking up and you can really spice up your weekends at this joint! Now you can enjoy ALL-DAY HAPPY HOUR rates every Sunday with beers at RM10.00 nett, red/white wine at RM 12.00 nett and house-pouring brands at RM 18.00 nett! With great jazz happening on stage, ample space for parking which you don't have to pay or fight for and delicious hi-tea for only RM20++, you have every reason to be HAP-HAP-HAPPY!

So what are you waiting for? Pick up that phone and make yor reservations pronto! Call 03 21428611 or fax 03 21413611 or you can even book here. It's that easy. Really! Try it! Like now would be good... :p

See you on the weekend...

visit us at:
http://thetoproom.blogspot.com

Write up courtesy of Toppings!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Happy People Quintet @ The Top Room.. THIS WEEKEND!

Hey guys, just to remind y'all again, we're back once again in the Top jazz club in town.. the Top Room this weekend to rock your senses! And as I've mentioned in the last post, we've got all the original members of the band playing as well, with Justin back for summer break for a few weeks!

So, if you've followed us in the past, it's a good time to check us out again, with the original band setup!


HAPPY PEOPLE QUINTET @ THE TOP ROOM



And as the ad says, we'll be guest-featuring, the soulful, effervescent Junji Delfino, on vocals!



The Happy People Quintet are:

Julian Chan - saxophones and flute
Eddie Wen - trumpet and flugelhorn
Justin Lim - piano and keyboards
Nazrin "AJ" Nasir - electric bass, electric upright bass
Charles Wong - drums

and

Junji Delfino - vocals

We'll be playing a rich fusion of straight-ahead and contemporary forms of jazz, with works from the hardbop sounds of Jackie McLean, Horace Silver, to the contemporary masters such as John Scofield, Bob Mintzer and The Yellowjackets, and more. To add spice to the dish, Junji will be performing tunes to the likes of Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, to Dusty Springfield.

So, save your weekend for us, and you'll expect nothing but one of the best music in town, in the best jazz joint in town!

We'll be playing for two nights - 21 and 22 July (Friday and Saturday), cover charge is RM25++ inclusive of one drink.

Book here or call 03-21426211 to book your seats... book soon, as seats are limited!

See ya all there! And don't be a stranger and come say hi to the band!

SUPPORT LIVE JAZZ IN KL!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Hong Kong Experience! - Part 2

Day 5 - Tuesday 11 July

Me and Eddie got up early (a real miracle for Eddie! heh heh heh!), and we joined Mac and Jenny for breakfast at a nearby restaurant in the shopping complex. And of course, it was a great opportunity to hang with them, and hear stories. Of course, we talked about pretty much what happened AFTER the concert, and stuff like that.

After that, we all checked out of the hotel, and the rest of the band went to the airport to go home, while me and Eddie stayed on for another two nights. We housed ourselves at Stanford Hotel at Mongkok (quite a decent hotel, not that cheap either). And I think we did the right choice (and also the most economically, value-for-money option) in choosing that hotel there. Mongkok is such a happening spot in Kowloon with lots of little shops and flea markets at night.

That night we walked around Tsim Sha Tsui. It was quite a packed area, and we checked out different spots in town such as Kowloon Park, the Arena of Stars (it's a walkway where you might see some celebrities, and also an awesome view of HK Island), the Harbour Front (where you take the ferry to the island), and different shopping complexes around the area. We even checked out the biggest music retailer in HK, Tom Lee Music. They were selling lots of nice stuff, even for woodwinds, and I was already eyeing a few items I wanted to buy.

Did I mention it was frickin' hot.. even in the evening? We were walking like for over eight hours, I think. Our legs and feet were just so wasted!!

Mongkok has a nice scene at night, when all the flea markets open, and you could check out a lot of good buys. Oh yeah, it's shopping season in Hong Kong right now.. Shopping Festival with lots of sales! And when they say SALE, they really mean SALE! Unlike KL, where the Malaysia Sales Festival only involves getting rid of old (usually lousy) stock, in HK they sell off good stocks, a lot of them also very recent in design, etc. We bought a few tees in Giordano and Bossini, which would've cost much more in KL.

Day 6 - Wednesday 12 July

We were supposed to wake up early to cover quite a few places but ended up waking up close to afternoon. Me and Eddie split, as he went to North Point (in HK Island) to go to a music shop (specializing in trumpets), while I headed to Tom Lee to buy some saxophone accessories (stuff I cannot find here in KL, or even in Singapore). Then I met up with HK Jazz Association President, Peter Lee for lunch. He gave me some contacts of HK jazz musicians, who I could call up and check out.

After that I rendezvous-ed with Eddie at Causeway Bay, Times Square Shopping Complex on the Island. We met up at Starbucks Coffee to sit down and rest to recover from that heat and walking. Interestingly, we stumbled across a fellow Malaysian trumpet player friend Wei Lun, who's in HK to do a show with a choir he's joined. After that we headed to North Point again to check out the trumpet place and I got some reeds, and Eddie got another trumpet mouthpiece.

Next I headed to Tsim Sha Tsui again to check out a local sax player who was playing at the Intercontinental Hotel, but unfortunately, I didn't get to meet him. I had mistaken his number, so I think I ended up trying to message and call someone else (luckily that person didn't pick up the phone!). Eddie then rendezvous-ed with me and we headed back to Mongkok to our hotel to freshen up and eat dinner. We also walked along the Ladies' Street or Lui Yan Kai in Chinese. It was basicaly a street-long flea market (something like Petaling St), and I got a whole bunch of nice Hong Kong t-shirts.

Eddie continued his exploration around Mongkok while I headed back to HK Island to the Central area, where places like Lan Kwai Fong are located. I went to check out a jazz club called Gecko, which Peter recommended earlier that afternoon. Amazingly, it was located in a small little alley lane, and I would've missed it if I didn't see the sign. Checked out this piano player cat, called Jason Leong, as well as a bass player I met about 13 years ago when he backed Eric Marienthal when they came down to KL to play, by the name of Paul Candelaria. The place was even smaller than No Black Tie, and it was packed to the brim. I sat in for a couple of tunes. It was back to the hotel after that.

Day 7 - Thursday 13 July

Woke up early to do some last minute shopping around Mongkok - got two G2000 shirts for about HK$195 each, and a 3 Giordano boxers for HK$100. Very nice and cheap! Quite a miracle for us (and especiallyy Eddie) to wake up so early! LOL!

After that it was packing our remainder of stuff and heading to the Airport. We went by a direct train line to the airport (similar to our ERL). Oh yeah, on the way to the airport, there was this long stretch of running track, and we saw this bloke running in the middle of the afternoon! Crazy fella! But the jogging track was interesting! Too bad I didn't get a chance to run on it! LOL!

Then in was an uneventful trip back home!

Home sweet home!

That was it... pictures on the way!

UPDATE: Yes, we also met fellow musician and gila perv fella cum violinist Fung Chern Hwei (LOL!!) at HK Airport on the way back, while waiting for our flight! He was on transit to LA for his one-month music workshop at the Henry Mancini Institute, and then back to New York to continue his studies. Just had enough time to chat a bit, and take some pics! See you in New York bro..

PS: Happy now, Mr. Fung? hehehehe... don't cry yah?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Jam Session @ The Top Room!

Hey y'all jazz music fans!

Other than the fairly recent Bangkok Jazz Thursday Jam Sessions, there hasn't been another place that has jazz jam sessions over the last year or so, where you'll get to meet and hang with local cats and see them jam with other local cats.

And thus..
IT'S JAM TIME @ THE TOP ROOM!



So if you've missed the Thursday jams, come over to the Top Room @ Top Hat for the Sunday Jazz Jam Sessions, which takes place from 4.30pm to 8.30pm, where David Gomes & Friends will lead the sessions. In addition to the already great stuff happening there on the weekends, come Sunday will be the first of many more lazy Sunday jam sessions! I'll be there myself to jam and hang out!


Here's more..

(courtesy of Toppings!)

And, as a lazy Sunday special, Mrs D of Top Hat Restaurants has put together two scrumptious sets of hi-tea grub to choose from for only RM20++ so make your way to The Top Room this Sunday afternoon for some swingin' good time. The perfect way to cap off your weekend and get you in high spirits for the week ahead!

Jazz Tea Set A:

Finger Sandwich - Egg
Spicy Vegetarian Samosas [with coriander sauce]
Chicken Curry Puff
Deep Fried Wantan Dumplings [with chili sauce]
Banana Cake Slices
Choux Puff

Coffee or Tea

Jazz Tea Set B:

Mini Chicken Pie
Vegetarian Spring Rolls [with homemade chili sauce]
Pita Pocket Filled with Tossed Green Salad & Cheddar Cheese
Finger Sandwich - Cucumber
Chocolate Brownies
Scones with Strawberry Jam

Coffee or Tea


So far, the response has been positive from those in the loop so call 03 21428611 if you want to ensure a seat in the house!!!

And for those musicians out there... BRING YOUR HORNS/AXES!!!

SUPPORT LIVE JAZZ IN KL!!!

The Hong Kong Experience! - Part 1

I was gonna write about it in this post.. but I guess everybody already knows what happened to Jackie Chan in Hong Kong! I didn't know it made such big international headlines! What a boo boo... although I have to say, the Press made it a little sound rather exaggerated than it really was.

Anyway, I'll just get on to write about our trip to Hong Kong:

The trip to Hong Kong for the Jonathan Li was a blast.. not to mention a few surprises here and there. Don't get impatient.. I'll try to write it all down. But I'll try be as concise as possible. At least I'll get to finish this story (yes, I know.. I didn't finish my Taiwan story... so sue me.. I'm busy!).

Day 1 - Fri 7 July

I only started packing in the morning, and after lunch with my brother and my mom, they sent me to the airport. The usual suspects for the Jonathan Li band arrived one-by-one: Aji, me, Eddie, Gary, JJ (replacing Roger for this gig, as he was tied down with the NSO, much to his dismay), Ameer, Chet, Itchie, Mac and Jenny. As usual, it was checking in, going to the terminal, and then boarding the plane. The flight itself was uneventful (I watched V for Vendetta on the plane.. interesting movie).

We arrived sometime around 9pm, and one of the first things we noticed as we got out of the airport was that intense humidity at that hot temperature (around 30C and above). It felt like we hit a wall of heat, as though we were stuffing our bodies into an oven! And much to our distaste, it was to persist during the duration of the trip.

We were housed at the Harbour Plaza Metropolis Hotel, which is next to the Kowloon Harbour, and next to the Hong Kong Coliseum, where we were performing for the concert. The hotel itself was pretty high class, very posh, but unfortunately I can't say the same for the room we got. We hoped we'd get a harbour view, but we were housed on the other side of the wing, and we didn't really get much of that view. But it was still a nice view of the surrounding area. Not only that the size of the room was rather small, as well. But of course, it was adequate. After all, it IS Hong Kong!

As usual, it was out for supper after we've settled in, and Mac and Jenny took us to one of the char chan teng (small little restaurants) which was about 10 minutes walk away from the hotel, through a connecting bridge from the shopping complex (adjoined to the hotel), overlooking the Kowloon side of the Hong Kong Island tunnel, and into some shops near the harbourfront. I had chee cheong fun and soy bean drink, and the chee cheong fun was slightly different, where they put soy sauce, with peanut paste sauce and the sweet gravy (usually eaten with the chee cheong fun we are familiar with). The walk to the restaurant was a very hot, humid and sweaty one. The restaurant inside had aircon, so it was comparatively more comfortable than being outside. And after that it was back to the hotel again.

Day 2 - Sat 8 July

Me and Eddie got up late as usual, but I still woke before Eddie and had some time to go to the gym for a 5k treadmill workout, before going to the food court for lunch (they had a vegetarian stall too, so that was a plus for me). After that we headed to the HK Coliseum for a whole day soundcheck and rehearsal. We rehearsed some of the old songs once, and two new songs (for Karen Mok who guested on the first night's concert), and some other reworked songs (in different keys).

We finished around almost 11.30pm, and after the rehearsal, we (the band) headed back to the same area from the night before to have our dinner/supper, but just in another restaurant, with more food choices. It was another char chan teng, very similar to the Kim Gary concept in KL. I had this baked cheese and vegetable spaghetti, and we shared a french toast, and pineapple bun.

The Germany v Portugal game was on, we caught some of it.

Day 3 - Sun 9 July (first day of concert)

I got up slightly earlier in the morning to join Mac, Jenny and Chet to take a ride to Sham Sui Po to check out some electronics and computer stuff. But when we got there at around 10am, a lot of the shops weren't open still (although we expected that it would by then). Must be the World Cup effect.

We got back to the hotel, and prepped to go to the Coliseum to do another soundcheck and rehearsal with some of the artistes. On the first night, Jonathan's guests were Karen Mok, Jeff Chang, Richie Ren, Gigi Leung, Fish Leung, and Jackie Chan (who did a duet with Jonathan). Jackie's son, Jaycee was there as well (note: Jaycee's apparently one of the Jonathan's few proteg├ęs as well). Anyway, the show went very well, plus minus a few (hopefully unnoticeable) hiccups. Unfortunately, none of them stayed long enough for us to catch and take pictures with. Would've loved to take some pictures with Karen. The best part was this: I forgot to take my camera on stage!! Arggh!!

Anyway, after the first night concert, we went to eat again. This time, it's the same area, but just a different eatery. We went to a char chan teng or something like a coffee house. It's a similar concept of eateries such like Kim Gary's here in KL. I had a vegetable and cheese baked spaghetti (although the noodle technically wasn't spaghetti.. it was a slight thicker noodle), and we shared some polok bau (pineapple bun), and the hongkie version of french toast (basically to slices of egg-toasted bread, with peanut butter in between, served with a dollop of butter and honey)... lethal stuff!

It was back to the hotel and...WORLD CUP FINALS!! France v. Italy... AND ITALY WON!!! Wooo Hooo!!! It was pretty hard to tell who would win, until the end of the game! But nevertheless, it was a fantastic game to watch, apparently it was like the best finals game in over 20 years or something to that effect. Heh, and apparently not without some kind of sensationalism, as well.

Oh well, that's the end of World Cup for now... and also me getting fat because of it! And not to mention lack of sleep! We were walking pandas for one month.. damn!

Day 4 - Sunday 10 July (second day of concert)

Woke up late just in time for lunch, and everyone was talking about it, while having lunch at the food court at the adjoining shopping complex. The rest of the afternoon - evening was just rehearsals with some of the artistes for the second day. This time around guests were only Emil, Jaycee, Slyvia Chang, and Jackie.

The second day concert also was a blast.... until Jackie came on! The rest is history. Well, to clear things up a little bit, the international press exaggerated a little bit on the Jackie story (and so is their source of information... I gather the HK papers don't like him very much), he didn't exactly trade insults, although he said something like "lei lou mei".. I'm not sure what it means, but it's not as severe as something like say... "f**k you" or something like that. I think it was something along the lines of "your momma...". Feel free to correct me on that, if anyone knows what it means. And the tone of the whole deal was he said all that in a rather jokingly manner, even though he was drunk.

It was a long 3 1/2 hour concert, and halfway through the concert I was already feeling the urge to go to the loo! But it was a blast nevertheless!!

After the concert it was the post-concert makan (and press conference), at the hotel restaurant. Saw a lot of HK press there, and you could tell how much of a paparazzi they were. Scary thought. We saw Jonathan do the press conference, but he left rather hastily, as the press was getting on his nerves asking more of the Jackie incident than the concert itself. It just seems like the press was more interested in the "flash-in-a-pan" stuff than the meat of things.. typical. But that's Hong Kong for you.

to be continued...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Off to Hong Kong!

I've just got back from the KL Music Fest gig on the gala night (closing night) for most of the music events that took place at the Istana Budaya.

Last night, the jazz night was great! We were the first band to go up and play, and we were the only ones who were dressed to kill!! All of us were wearing shirts, ties, and coats...almost like how one would dress to play in a jazz band in the US!! We played almost all of David's original tunes, such as Turnaround, Fire Within Water, Just Swinging, Just Around the Corner, Entry, and one vocal cover Have You Met Miss Jones! The show stealers were pretty much David and surprisingly, Thomas Theseira!! He really played his a** off that night.. kicked pretty much my musical butt and Eddie's! For all the years I've known Thomas, he still surprises me sometimes.. like pulling a rabbit out of a hat! The band kicked butt!!

And tonight, just few hours ago, was the KL Music Fest gala night, and it had us playing a little bit for those who might have missed it. Since most of the band guys couldn't make it tonight, it ended up with just me and David doing a sax-piano duo! Although I thought David was joking in a previous conversation that we could do a duo and do something different from what the other performers were doing... I really did not expect that we'd really end up doing a duo! But it went great.. or at least it felt like that! We did David's Entry and I even took up the soprano sax role, rather than the alto like how I would usually do. It seemed just appropriate for the situation, and the song felt like it required soprano for it, so I did it. It was rather intense for me.. as it's the first time I'm doing a jazz sax-piano duo for such a grand show at the Istana Budaya.

It's also a good opportunity for me to try the new soprano mouthpiece I got from Woodwind and Brasswind (retailer from US), a Selmer S80 E hard rubber mouthpiece. The mouthpiece was nice.. looks like a real keeper! It might even make me play more soprano in the future.

Anyway, as of writing (and dropping eyelids), I'll be flying to Hong Kong in about 12 hours, to go to play for the Jonathan Lee two-day concerts that will take place this weekend on 9th and 10th July. Yippeee... definitely something to look forward to (although I can't say for sure the cost of living!), and it'll be much fun for sure!

I'll be back on the 13th, and just in time to do Sharizan's gig at Alexis next weekend.

Take care y'all.. have fun!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

No game.. and KL Music Fest

I'm skipping the game tonight. Lazy to watch.. no mood.


Anyway, preparations are going okay for the David Gomes Sextet to play at the KL Music Fest at Istana Budaya (located at Jalan Tun Razak), which has been going on for three days now. Tomorrow night is the Jazz night, and the acts include
The David Gomes Sextet, Mr. Gambus Band featuring Chie Hanawa on the shamisen, the KL Music Festival Selection, and the Aussie acapella group Idea of North.

Heard that the tickets are selling fast, so I'm not sure if you can still get them. But don't let that stop you from trying, anyway. And a recent update says that there's also the Gala/Finale night on Thursday, July 6th. You can join in that fun for
FREE!! All you have to do is go to the Information Counter at Istana Budaya and just get your free tickets there, before 8.30pm. Thanks to Brian from www.alldatjazz.com for the info!!

Do come and check it out!!

SUPPORT THE KL.. MALAYSIAN JAZZ SCENE!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006