Talk about time passing by really fast. And for some strange reason, it was even faster this year. As cliched as it sounds, the end of last year only seemed like yesterday. But in 2006, a lot of things happened, and suffice to say, it was a very, VERY interesting year in more ways than one. A lot of ups and downs in some ways. So just to fill out blog space, despite the drag in internet connection due to the Taiwan quakes, I'm just gonna list down a few of them:
- Got involved in the Jonathan Lee World Tour concert. This was really special for me (it's still ongoing), because I really got to travel quite a bit. We went to Taiwan (I love that place!), Hong Kong, and various parts of China (I don't love that place!). But I really love travelling, and this year we really got the chance to do it. Next month, we're going to Beijing, too!
- My new band, BOPLICITY. This is also another plus for me, although it only took place towards the end of the year. In a way, it was a kind of affinity for me. It wouldn't have been possible if I didn't get to meet and play with those guys a lot more this year. Most importantly, meeting our piano player, Cher Siang, who without him, I wouldn't be able to form this band.
- Moved to a new house. We moved to our new place at Taman Bukit Mewah Phase 9 early January 2006, and fianlly I GOT MY OWN ROOM!! After staying in the same room with my brother for 27 years, this will be my first year that I have my own room! My own space and privacy! It is quite gratifying. A queen-sized bed all to myself! People don't disturb me, I don't disturb people!
- Branford Marsalis Quartet. Being able to watch and meet Branford Marsalis and his Quartet when he came to Malaysia to play in April was definitely one of the most inspiring events that has happened this year. Seeing and hearing his band really opened up my eyes and ears, and totally changed my perception of the music I play, and my attitude towards it. In some ways it was almost life-changing. It was definitely the best jazz band I've seen so far!
- David Muehsam. I met this guy sometime in March/April, and he also inspired me musically as well as personally. A yoga instructor, as well as a fantastic saxophone player, he's opened up my mind a little bit more about many other things, from practicing saxophone, yoga, life, music, and then some. A very spiritual person (and a yoga master, too!), we talked about a variety of things that affect us and the world in general, not to mention jamming with our horns out in the open at the side of the street!!
- Out of training mode. This year, due to my overseas tour gigs, and a different hosts of gigs, I am out of training mode, and my last race I did in 2006 was the KL International Marathon. Because of the over-eating during my travels and the lack of training, my weight has also gone up. My fitness has gone down. I didn't run as much, or ride my bike as much. I'm definitely not so proud of it.
- (Un)Happy People. This year my 3.5 year old band, Happy People, finally disbanded. Due to some ongoing circumstances, I have had to finish with the band so that I could also move on to other projects and other ventures. It had been good while we lasted, and we did a quite a few good gigs together, such as two years at the Sunrise-Mont Kiara Jazz Festival, and then some. And some of the members also have had to move on to other projects, so there was no reason to continue it. Don't worry though, we're still good friends!
- Politics. Nothing like office politics. There's more and more of it every year, and each year when I'm more aware of things around me, I see it more. There is lack of unity of musicians in KL. This guy hates this guy's guts, that guy hates the other guy, or one fella hating everybody else. What the hell? Get over yourself and see the world around you? Can't we just resolve our petty differences, be a better person, and just work together? You know why the music scene here is bad... it's because of ALL of us. Not the industry only, but the musicians themselves. Self-centred, self-involved, and inconsiderate. Can't think beyond the tip of your nose! All I want to do is just play, make good music. And we're trying to do it not just for our pockets, but for everyone to enjoy and have a good time. Smarten up people, we only life ONE life at a time. Don't ruin it out of your own petty interest. We all can be better.. we're not getting any younger you know... why keep your minds at such childish levels?
Anyhow, I definitely have some things to work on this year. I actually have PLANS for this year. In previous years, I never really had any kind of real plans on how to go the year ahead, but this year I do.
1) Prepare myself to go to the US
This includes doing all the necessary arrangement so that I can ACTUALLY go to New York this year! I plan to leave sometime in late July to early August. I'd like to spend some time there before semester starts.
And in no particular order...
2) Practice a whole lot more, and do less unnecessary things
Yes, practice. It's like I haven't done it for a long time, due to inefficient use of time and activities. And I really need to get my sh*t together, if not I'm as good as useless when I go to NYC. I might even turn down gigs which I feel will not be worth my time - society gigs like weddings, etc.
3) Train a whole lot more.
I slacked so much from running, biking, and swimming the last year, due to lack of discipline, and also a lot more work (which involves travelling). Whatever it is, I'm determined to not let it stop me from getting back into a more serious training regime. I want to start doing races again, and also to lose a whole lot more weight!
4) Work more on my band, Boplicity.
I have plans to work this band much more, to tighten up as a band, and also to progress musically. I will try to get more gigs for this band, and play as much as possible, to get better, and who knows... maybe even record. But most importantly, I want to work this band, so that there's a band that can work after I leave for the US, made up of a bunch of dedicated cats, who will have the resolve and the initiative to progress as a band as well as musically. So, in short, Boplicity might be a shortlived band, I'm afraid. But it's one band I'm really proud to work for.
Wish me luck.
PS: Oh by the way...
***HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007!!!!!***