Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sky Wars Episode 3: Return of the Haze

You wouldn't believe the haze this morning! Well, you would... but it still blows you away when you see it!

I went to Lake Gardens to run this morning. I only managed one round until I couldn't run... it's a combination of starting out too fast (I went with some friends who I was pacing with.. bad idea if you haven't been running consistently) and the bad air... I could feel my lungs "burning". It was downright pathetic. I'm gonna try out tomorrow morning.. hopefully, the haze won't be there or not as bad as today. The evening sky looked pretty clear.. so I hope that persists!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Greg Lyons Nonet new album!!!!

Oh wow, man..

I just got back from a 3-day studio recording session at Synchrosound Studios with my sifu Greg Lyons. We've just finished recording eight tracks of Greg's tunes for his latest album. Seven of those tracks involves the Greg Lyons Nonet... with Greg on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, and an additional five horns: trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, bass clarinet and baritone sax (played by my friend Chee Meng), and myself on alto sax and flute. Only one out of eight tunes involve just the Quartet (with Lewis Pragasam on drums, Andy Petersen on electric bass and electric double bass, and my good buddy Justin Lim on piano and keyboards).

It was quite an awesome experience, because it involves ALL of us recording simultaneously in the studio.. a live recording! Unlike pop/rock albums where you can overdub, do "cut-and-paste", or track-by-track recordings, a jazz album is usually done LIVE on the spot! And just imagine: We're recording with Greg coordinating not just with his usual rhythm section (piano, bass, and drums), but also with the rest of the horn section! It's quite a large band to coordinate! And not to mention that a bunch of Greg's horn arrangements are quite challenging... from 5-beat meters to 7-beat meters! So while most of your usual music count in four... we had to accustom ourselves to count in FIVE and SEVEN! Try dancing to THAT! Ahaahaha...

But anyway, we manage to record the 7 tracks for the Nonet within the last two days! The average pop/rock album takes WEEKS.. not TWO days.

Not only that, we've got the best producer/sound mixer in the country: none other than the brilliant Roslan Aziz (the guy who brought you the successful Konsert Ikhlas back in the 90s, and also famous albums by Zainal Abidin, Sheila Majid, and of late, Atilia and ALI - his own group). Even after recording all the songs, the basic sound of the recording was already awesome! Imagine if it it further mixed and mastered! Wow, I can't wait for this album to come out.

And I'm so honored to be even a part of it (even though I made SOOOOOOOO many mistakes in some of the songs!). I got to be part of an actual production of a real jazz album!

Thanks Greg! Now I really, REALLY feel honored being part of it (even though you might not use some of my parts.. hahahha!).

Expect a kick-butt album in the next couple of months!!

And also kick-butt shows to go with it!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Chinese New Year Open House @ Julian's

Ahhhh... just did an open house dinner at my place today. Or rather, YESTERDAY, on Sunday. Invited a few of my friends, musicians and non-musicians, my brother's friends, my parents' friends, neighbours, etc. It was fun. Chinese feng-shui says that it's good to do open house, 'cos it'll bring more luck to the household! Not to mention fun... I had fun helping out my mum with prepping the food... had fun entertaining people... had fun gambling... had fun la, generally!

Thanks for coming, guys (and gals)! I really had fun with those of you who managed to come! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Thanks....

Anyway, some minor updates on the last couple of days:

...Talk about not training properly. Everyone else really pia themselves to train to run KLIM, increasing mileage and everything. Myself? It's like not training at all, man! Sigh. In that case, looks like it's confirmed a 10k for me at KLIM. Well, did a run on Friday morning near my place, and I found I couldn't go more than 6km that day (I didn't run since the Friday the week before!). On Saturday, I went to Lake Gardens, and did about 10k... 3 rounds around the Gardens leading up to the Bkt Aman car park. I think that's about 3.5km a lap. So I managed to cover almost 10.5km in 1 hr 17 minutes. Felt pretty good too, did 2 rounds non-stop (even without carrying my water bottle, which I usually do!)... then stopped for a few minutes to refuel with iso drinks, then went the opposite direction for one round. Well, maybe I can still train a little bit for 10k la. Better try than not.

... on Friday, I did a show with the JJ Jazz Ensemble at Sri Cempaka school in Cheras. It was a fairly nice gig, get to show some Form 1 to Form 5 kids a bit about playing jazz. Played some jazz standards like Take The A-Train, Green Dolphin Street, as well as some original tunes from the band, and even some Malay tunes (Pok Pok Bujang Lapok jazz style!) and cartoons (Flintstones, Old MacDonald's)!!! It was pretty fun. Lotsa young girls screaming (but most of the band suspects it's because of our good-looking drummer Martin.. everytime he solos, screams aloud!).

... after that I watched Constantine, at Times Square. Damn kau nice movie! Based on the Vertigo Comics' Hellblazer, it's about this bloke called John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), who's a anti-hero in the battle of good and evil. His role in the world, is a very convoluted one. And the world he LIVES in, is as well. Apparently, he's like a demon buster, who does what he does to try to "buy" his way back into heaven... although he's not a great believer in God. In the movie, he's discovered some leads that may seem that demons from the netherworld are trying to break into human realm (they can't, and they aren't supposed to), and his path locks with a female cop (Rachel Weisz...wah liao, she's hot!), whose twin sister was found commiting suicide in mysterious circumstances. Well, I ain't gonna spoil it for ya... go watch it yourself.

REVIEW: Well, I think they did some justice to the spirit of the comics. I think Keanu's role wasn't "anti-hero" enough. Although I think he did a good job anyway. Rachel Weisz.. wah... she's awesome. The effects aren't as great as some of its peers, but unlike some of them, the film-makers definitely know that effects are only tools used to make a story better, not as a main factor in making them good. Some people may find that the storyline, or the progression of the movie rather slow, save the last part. But I think that the momentum was done just well for the movie. It moves not TOO quickly, but not un-interestingly as well. The portions of the movie which is "slow", reveals interesting bits about the character and the storyline, so to keep it interesting still. Well, I really liked how the whole story reveals itself. Keeps you guessing on some things. Overall rating: B

That's it for now.. stay tuned.

Will be going for a rehearsal tomorrow with my sifu Greg Lyons, to prepare for his next album recording. He'll start recording on Tuesday, and I'll be involved too! My first involvement in a serious jazz album! Cool! Anything more, I'll update later!

Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Monday ... 6th day of New Year

10:30am: Man... started out fairly quiet from a busy weekend! Did the usual non-work day stuff, like check emails and stuff.

3:00pm: Went to the Internal Revenue Department (Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri) at Wisma PGRM to get the form to register myself as a tax-payer. The employees there very nice.. unexpected. But I'm glad that is so!

4:00pm: Went to Bukit Bintang area to check out the New Balance shop while waiting for my friend, we were going to go run later. Checked out the NB 766 and 718 (both upgrades of my current shoes: 765 and 718) running shoes. I really liked the 766, it's light as my 765, but has more support on the heel. The 718 looked nicer, but still the same feeling of my 717. So the 766 is in my To Buy Later list!

5:00pm: Drove to KLCC to drop my friend off to send his parcel (we were in a hurry... we thought it was gonna close at 5:30pm). Found out that they were closing at 6pm. But we decided to go to Lake Gardens after that. But we couldn't... too jammed. So we took one whole big round back to KLCC Park again.

6:30pm(YES IT TOOK THAT LONG!!! BUGGA!): Started to run. Did a run/walk the first round as a warm-up. Then it started to rain, so we took shelter at the nearest hut. Thought it would recede soon... but it didn't! AND IT RAINED HARDER!! Ahhhh... NUTS!! We waited for more than half an hour. And we decided to run back to our car... got drenched, naturally. So much for training. Looks like I might do a 10k for KLIM. Sheetttt...

Man.. the jam back home... wah liao.. beh tahan.

Still haven't registered for KLIM. Nuts.

A plug for me boss, Greg:

Greg Lyons - Island To Island

Venue: The Sugar Club, Crown Plaza Mutiara
Date and Time: Tuesdays, 9:30pm - midnight
Admission: Free

After a week of holidays from Chinese New Year, the Greg Lyons Quartet is back again at the Sugar Club, Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel, Jln. Sultan Ismail on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm. The Greg Lyons Quartet is Greg Lyons on sax/flute, Justin Lim on piano/keys, Andy Petersen on bass, and Lewis Pragasam on drums.

A powerhouse quartet, which will be playing songs from Greg's album, Island to Island (which you can purchase by emailing him at as well as some other jazz tunes that he's arranged. In addition, the next couple of weeks, you'll be seeing a slightly larger group joining him at Sugar Club, the Greg Lyons Nonet (that's 9-piece for you who don't know). It's basically adding another 5 horns to the Quartet (which will include myself on alto sax and flute), and it's in conjunction with Greg working on his new album (which includes the Nonet). Recording starts sometime this month. So, if you want to be the few who want to see the Nonet, do come over to the Sugar Club. There's no cover charge as well.

Sugar Club is the brand new club in the same premises as the old “Tin Mine”, to the left of the lower lobby of the Crown Plaza Mutiara (formerly Hilton) on Jalan Sultan Ismail. Tel 03-2143 0020.

See you there!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy Chinese New Year 2005

Year of the Rooster 2005 Posted by Hello

Happy Chinese New Year 2005 everyone! I hope that the start of this new Lunar Year bid well for you...

.... more gigs for us musicians...

.... better PRs for us runners...

.... get gf's/bf's for those who aren't hitched...

.... hope that we get to fulfill dreams and plans that we have...

Have a good one!

Julian da Sax Man(iac)!

KLCC 8-lapper update..

Went to KLCC for a run today with my friend Kay Ti. Wasn't sure if it was gonna be an easy training run or what. We stumbled on to Ronnie a.k.a PM1 and Azwar a.k.a PM3 as well. Wah, saw them run (especially Azwar, who I've NEVER seen train before), I felt very motivated la. But I've also decided to try out an 8-lapper (or 10.4km), easy run.

So we started out nice and easy, not running too fast, too soon. And we slowly increased our pace after the first couple of rounds. I was careful that I don't pace out too fast. But my friend Kay Ti wanted to try out running at a faster pace after hydrating and basically fell out after the 6th round, and I continued mine. So here are my timings:

Total time - 1:19:24
Distance - 10.4km (8 x 1.3km)
Average pace (min/km) - 7:38/km
Average pace per lap - 9:56

Lap 1: 9.55
Lap 2: 9.35
Lap 3: 9.24
Lap 4: 9.45
Lap 5: 10.51
Lap 6: 9.57
Lap 7: 10.06
Lap 8: 9.48

This means it's a slightly better PR than my previous KLCC 8-lapper, which was 1:21:59. Cool...


Went shopping earlier before my run, only managed to buy 2 nice shirts, one red long sleeve, and one beige short sleeve, both from Soda (at Isetan). Very nice shirts, in terms of cut. To describe it, it is SLIGHTLY body-fitting. Something I'm proud to wear now that I actually CAN wear one! Thanks to my running for that. Last time I wouldn't even dream of wearing one of those. Yay...

1 day to Chinese New Year...

.. I haven't finished my shopping yet. Shopping round 2 later in the day.. and need to cut my hair, too! Haven't even finished cleaning up my house yet.. jia lat...

... I'm really not ready to "sambut" CNY this time around...

... how ah?

Monday, February 07, 2005


Let me introduce to you two of our most faithful Japanese music fans: Izumi and Shiho.

Justin and Izumi
Posted by Hello

Me and Shiho
Posted by Hello

They were there during the early years of my coming out into the music scene, especially when I started playing at No Black Tie. They were there when we were Black Machine... they were there when I was with Groove Unction... they were always there when we were playing Greg Lyons' Biophonics or the Nonet... and they were there when Happy People Quintet was formed.. and now, they're going back to Japan... possibly for good.

To Izumi and Shiho: On behalf of Happy People... and all da jazz artists in K.L... thanks for your support and friendship... we hope to see you again. Do come back to KL for your holidays.. and I hope we get to go to Japan to see you all too!!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Rain... rain...

Monday, 31 Jan: I planned to run in KL with some friends from Kajang. All nicely packed and all, I left to KL with my kajang mate, Jeya, to pick up another Kajang mate, Kay Ti, who was working at KL Plaza. The moment I got to KL, the skies started to darken... and at exactly 6pm, it rained cats and dogs! Cursing, I was. So we decided to hang at KLCC, just in case the rain would subside... and subside it did not... until 7pm! It rained from 6 - 7pm EXACTLY! Ohhh.. the irony of nature.

Later that night, my Kajang mates and I decided to take an overnight trip up Genting Highlands. Booked a room and stayed overnight. We checked out the place, and the casino as well. Brought a couple of drinks, but I stayed off, wasn't feeling up to alcohol.

Tuesday, 1 Feb: Came back down to Kajang by 12-something in the afternoon. Finished up some music arrangements for a function I was going to do with my band, backing Sean Ghazi and Izlyn Ramli. Went to the studio in ss21 for the rehearsal and then went for a run at Lake Gardens after that, at around 6:30pm. Boy it was sure a good run... especially after not running for exactly one week! I think I covered about 8km in about 1 hour 3 minutes. Luckily, I met a friend of my brother's.. a former classmate. So we ran together and chat most of the way. Basically it was an easy, relaxed run. Felt really, really good after that.

Managed to check out Greg's quartet at Sugar Club that night, too.

Today: Went to Sheraton Imperial for our gig with Sean Ghazi and Izlyn Ramli. We were to perform for the Nokia Communicator 9300 launch and exhibition.


Some stuff:

... missed Sting... buggah.. I was told it was ORGASMIC!! Damn..

... going to miss Harry Connick Jr.'s show at the Petronas Phil... shit! Tickets waaaayy too expensive. I could've bought it.. but with my new horn and all... a bit over-budget la....

... February isn't too busy for me. Hope I can train a little more intensively this time around for the KLIM. More long runs...

... was told that the New Balance 766 running shoe is out! It's an upgrade from my 765, hopefully better. It might be in my next shoe buy list.

... Chinese New Year is around the corner. I don't know why, but I'm not looking forward too much to it. I just don't... I don't feel prepared for it. We haven't even packed our house yet! Oh well... I'm going shopping with my mum later today... maybe some new clothes would perk me up (and pick up some nice running gear along the way? Ahaha..).