Ahh.. I'm up at 7am, although I slept sometime past 2am. Very unusual... I usually couldn't wake up past 10am! Must be that unusual request I did last night to wake up early. Anyway, good time than never to update my blog a bit.
Arturo O'Farrill Big Band @ Symphony Space - March 27
Arturo O'Farrill, pianist, and son of the late latin jazz legend Chico O'Farrill, has been making a big name for himself in NYC. One of his projects is the Big Band, where he performs compositions and arrangements of latin jazz nature. My professor and head of QC Jazz program, Michael Mossman, is also one of the main members (and lead trumpeter) for that group.
Their show at Symphony Space was an interesting showcase, as their premiered or featured works of contemporary arrangers/composers, from Paul Shapiro, Michael Webster, Fernando Otero, and more, all arranged in a latin jazz vein but with more edge! Latin jazz of the future, if you will!
One of the more outstanding soloist featured in the show was Badal Roy.. master Indian percussionist, who played tabla that night. Man... that was crazy.... no wonder all the Western percussionists/drummers are digging that stuff from the East.
James Moody Benefit - March 31
Just an update from the last post... this was the gig that Jeremy Monteiro was in town for. And thanks to him, I got to see this show (without causing a black hole in my wallet!) and see some legends play! By the way, this was a benefit concert organized by Mr. James Moody to raise scholarship funds for students in Purchase College SUNY. Every year he will award one of these to one student who qualifies, and of course, the beneficiary is subject to certain terms and conditions (very interesting, that one!).
Some of the cats performing in that gig were real big-wigs, and some of them legends - James Moody, Jon Hendricks (Junji.. you'd freak out!), Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Renee Rosnes, Bill Charlap, Jeremy Monteiro, Todd Coolman, Howard Alden, John Lee, Russell Malone, Antonio Hart, and Paquito D'Rivera, and of course last year's and this year's award recipients. I don't know about those kids, I'd be freaked out playing with them on the same stage!
It was quite a crazy night. Although it was more like a big, happening jam session than an actual artiste showcase, it was still a very enlightening one, especially seeing some of the older cats who are legends in the jazz world, play. Even my professor, Antonio Hart, proceeded to slip in a lesson while he was at it (LOL!).
After the show, we even headed down to Village Vanguard to check out the Vanguard Big Band. By that time, I think my head was already at the brink of exploding from all that good music! LOL! Can one ever have too much?
PS: Thanks again Jeremy!
Jimmy Heath Big Band - April 3rd
Another living legend of the saxophone, Mr. Jimmy Heath, performed with his big band at the Iridium last weekend. Among the line-up included both my professors, Antonio Hart and Michael Mossman. I went down there with a couple of my course buddies (some killer sax players and brass players, too!), and checked out the late set. Another inspiring experience, to see another legend play as well. I think he's in his early to mid 80s (?), but still playing like a young man but with a load of experience and music behind every single note. Of course, with his notorious big band arrangements, it amplified the experience even more!
Rozemaryz Babiez @ Studio A.I.R - April 5th.
My first new band in NYC.. it's a trio consisting of myself on sax, Fung Chern Hwei on violin, and Brian Lindgren on laptop/samples/electronics. Mainly CH's idea, he wanted to put up a group that collaborates live instruments with electronica. This was our first gig as this new band, at a nice little loft cum performance space in Brooklyn, called Studio A.I.R. We did a 15-minute piece we composed (or rather.. cook up) as a group, called "The Butcher". It was a more sound piece than a harmonically composed piece, where we play with different sound effects based on a certain storyline or movement.
We're on MySpace, so check it out. More stuff will be posted soon, I reckon.
Check out an interview I did for Vision KL via e-mail, about the jazz scene in KL. Click here to read it.
..that's it for now!