Monday, June 27, 2005

Subang Jaya 10K... and PR!!

The date... 26 June 2005 (Sunday)
The place... Subang Jaya City Council (MPSJ) USJ 5
The mission... complete a 10K race


I started my first day at the Cotton Club with my quartet on Saturday night.

I made sure I slept Saturday afternoon after waking up early that morning for a quick short run at Lake Gardens, then performing at a apartment developer's walk-in open-day in PJ, and jamming my way (half asleep) to MPSJ to collect the race kits for the SJ 10K. Then I went to work at the Club from 10.15pm.

I came home at 2am. Before I slept I prepared two bottles of Accelerade, one to bring during the run, and one for post-run. Then i took a quick shower and I headed straight into the sack.

Race day:

Woke up to the alarm at 5:30am, but refused to budge until it was almost 6am. Really feeling the lack of sleep. I dragged myself out of bed and did the usual morning rituals. Was already in my running pants to save myself the trouble of changing (I do it everytime before a race, or before an early morning run to psyche myself to get up).

I prepared the usual stuff like change of clothes, water, shoes, etc. Made myself a toast and Milo-to-go, and next thing I knew it was already almost 6:30am. I'm like, "oh my god, I'm going to be late!". Started rushing a little bit, to the point when I got into the car, fumbled with trying to put on those stupid running bibs (I hate putting it on the back of the vest... go NB Pacesetters 15K, one nice one in the front!) by taking off my vest and pinning them on to the back, then the front (naturally misaligned when you're in a rush!). Sped my way using the Puchong Highway to USJ in about short of half an hour, parked near the HSBC building, and promptly wore my Nike waterpack with Accelerade, and warmup-jogged my way to the reporting site. Sent in the reporting card and walked straight to the starting line. Saw and greeted my friend Alexis, stretched a little bit and chatted with her.

Flag off and first 5k:

Boom! Off the gun went at 7:30am (at least according to my watch), so I was quite amazed at how on time this race was.

Like usual, being the conservative racer, I started out running at a more conservative pace. At the first km or two, I paced together with Alexis at approximately 7:40min/km. But I found I could actually pick up my pace by 10 secs or so, and managed to maintain that pace, at least for most of the flatter part of the course. At about the 3rd km or so, there was a slow, long incline leading before the Summit Shopping Complex, before turning left into the other USJ housing area. There were actually other long, slow inclines along the way, which I thought was quite an energy sapper. It was still generally flat with some long undulating sections. With hills, you're mentally prepared once you see it coming. But with these long undulating roads, it's harder to gauge effort until you actually feel the incline, although it doesn't visually feel challenging.

Oh yeah, halfway around the 4th km or so, I met Albert from New Balance Shop, Bukit Bintang. I knew he was running this 10k, as he called me up more than 2 weeks back (before I even registered for the race) to ask for some training and race advice! Wah, he's asking ME for advice? I was flattered! Ahahaha.. but nevertheless just told him what I knew, and what I was basically doing to prepare for races. I think he told me that this was his first 10k race!

"Go, Albert... 'kah yau' (step on the gas, or generally means an encouraging "go for it" kinda thing), Albert!"

Last 5k:

There was NO water station!!! In most 10k's that I've done, there's always at least ONE water station. Wow, that's something interesting to ponder. Was it an oversight? Or they ran out of water/sports drinks very quickly? Luckily I always bring my water pack for 10k or longer distances.

I think I was already running at about 7:00min/km pace, which is pretty fast for me.

When we finally turned out back into the main USJ road from USJ 9, I knew that the finish was close. I looked at my watch and it showed around 52 minutes or something like that. I only could estimate that the remaining distance would be less than 4k or so. When we finally reached the USJ 5 road, I definitely knew the finish was close. But I was still rather cautious in terms of pace because I knew that the last 1.5k was a really long, steady incline all the way to the finish line! That last stretch goes from the start of one side of USJ 5 to the end of the road and U-turns back another 500m or so back to the finish line at MPSJ field.

Guess who I saw at this point? MAC CHEW!!!! He was just running into the MPSJ track area to the finish line. I was SOOOO surprised to see him there! For those who aren't in the know, Mac Chew is the arranger/composer for a lot of major Chinese recording artistes in Taiwan and China, and in Malaysia as well. He also played piano during the Malaysian Idol trials. He also backs a whole string of Malaysian artistes in their concerts, from Sheila Majid, Zainal Abidin, Juwita Suwito, and a whole lot more.

Before the U-turn, I slowed down my pace enough to tackle the incline (I was almost feeling pretty out at that point, as I was pushing quite a lot this race). After the U-turn I picked up my pace a little more, and once I entered the track area of MPSJ, I stepped on the gas ALL the way and sprinted my fat ass all the way to the finish line!

I clocked on my watch 69:36.

Post race:

I jogged around a bit to warm-down, and I met the Pacemaker runners, Azwar, Kenneth, Rohaizad, Jason, Justin, Ronnie, Phyllis, Tey, Jamie and few others more. Also met up with Pek Fui, when I lined up for drinks. I also rendezvous-ed with my sifu Greg Lyons, his wife June, and Mac of course to chat and stuff.

Post-race analysis:

Since I have trained for most part for this race the last 2 - 3 weeks or so, I felt more mentally and physically prepared for it, even though I technically didn't really sleep well enough for it. But I am paying for it at the moment of writing (I'm coming down with the slight case of sniffles, where I'm sneezing like nobody's business now!).

Pacing - I think I paced fairly well for this race. Like most of my other previous races, I paced out rather conservatively: slow and easy at the start to warm up, and slowly pick it up midway, slow down at certain parts of the race to recover, and then sprint kau kau all the way to the finish line towards the last 500m or so! Using the training log, my average pace for this race was around 6:58min/km (that's pretty out there for me!). I was told that the measured distance for this Subang 10K race was really 10k, plus minus a few yards, so this is probably the most accurate distance race in KL so far.

Timing - Although it was short of a minute or so from my 10K PR of 68:08 at Powerman, Putrajaya last October, my timing of 69:36 was definitely an improvement from the last few 10k races I was in. The last being Cops race where I did a lousy 76 mins and previously KL Marathon '05 at 71 mins (both races I was quite untrained for). As before, I still have a feeling that the Putrajaya route was less than 10k. But one thing is for sure, this race is definitely my PR for a 10K road race (and not a multisport race). So, yay to me. Ahahha.. I'm such a narcisssist! So sue me. But I'm still very happy with it.

Race organization - I was generally quite satisfied with race registrations, picking up of race kits, and even their goodie bags. Reporting cards were as simple as just putting it into a ballot box and off you go. No water stations, so that's a bit of a downside. Traffic control also was fairly okay lah, thought they could've done better, but no trouble so far. The MPSJ officers were pretty cool bunch of fellas, as they were like cheering us runners, so that was pretty cool. The flag-off organization was a bit messed up too, as some of the shorter distance (7k, 5k) runners also ended up starting off with the 10k runners. What do you expect shouting out of a low wattage portable PA speaker. How to hear? Not that it affects me or most of us.

See you next year?

I think I'm gonna lay off races, maybe until Klang 10K on 31 July. I'm still considering it, so that might be my next race. Other future races may include Adidas King of the Road, PJ Half, and definitely Singapore Marathon in December.


Happy Birthday Justin Lee aka PM19!

After the race, we, the Pacemakers group, dropped by Justin's house nearby the race site under the pretense of freshening up at his house before breakfast, but in fact we were there to throw him a surprise party. He'll be 31 (?) on June 30th.

It couldn't have been possible if it weren't for Justin's friend, Jeanne's, help in keeping it a surprise. Imagine the bunch of us, huddling around RIGHT after a race in a house, with all our combined "aromas", but like Rohaizad said, luckily the smell of the nasi lemak managed to overpower it!

Definitely a highlight of the Subang Jaya 10K race as well! Have a good one Justin!

You can read other race reports and Justin's little party at their websites: Jamie, Azwar, Rohaizad, birthday boy, Ronnie, and Kenneth.


Well wishes to Ajeep!

Ajeep aka pm26 aka HamsupMan was injured in a bike ride last week on the highway, when he ran into a pothole and crashed in the sidelines. He broke a collarbone and was admitted to Sunway Medical Center. Last I heard, he'll be out of commission from work for at least 2 months and running/working out for 4 months!

GET WELL SOON AJEEP! (although I know that won't stop you from being the HamsupMan)

Cotton Club dates!

For those who are awaiting the news, here it is... the Cotton Club is open for business, and so are we!

Please check Upcoming Performances on the right column of the blog, I've updated some dates for our Cotton Club shows for the remainder of June, and I'll be updating July's schedule shortly.

Here are some brief info on both residents bands playing at the Club:

Julian Chan Quartet (JC4tet):

Julian Chan - saxophones
Joseph Arnesto - double bass
Jason Geh - piano
John Thomas - drums

Formed for the first time in for the Cotton Club, we'll be playing a lot in the vein of jazz and improvisation, a lot of bebop, hardbop, jazz repertoire ranging from the 40s thru to the 60s, and even some contemporary jazz compositions. For the moment, there will be a guest vocalist performing with the JC4tet from night to night.

Jazzy Chillers:

Clement Siao - piano
Benjamin Lee - saxophones
Jimmy Tan - drums
Jeanie Lee - vocals

Enjoy lighter, chill-out jazz repertoire from this dynamic group, also formed for the first time for Cotton Club, which features the beautiful Jeanie on voice. With bandleader Clement Siao on piano, expect to hear a lot of different vocal jazz standards arrangements, as well as different instrumental jazz tunes, both old and contemporary.

The Cotton Club is located at G1, Maju Junction Shopping Complex, Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman. It has a restaurant on the ground floor, with a staircase leading up to the 1st floor section, where the bar, lounge, and the jazz band is located. Music starts on 9:45pm on weekdays and 10:15pm for weekends (Friday and Saturday). The band plays for three 45-minute sets.

More info coming along, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Training for Subang???

I was over at Lake Gardens earlier this evening, and BOY was there a lot of people today. All running... all training last minute pia kau kau for Subang 10K this Sunday??? Hmmm...

Well, went for a run today, about 8.5k I think. Felt generally okay la. Gonna do one more short run and some strides on Saturday, probably. Gonna perk my body up for the next day race!

Good luck runners, for those doing the Subang 10K!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Batman Begins!

Batman Begins (courtesy of Posted by Hello

I just watched Batman Begins yesterday with my family at Berjaya Times Square. One of the rare family outings that involves movies. Believe it or not, it was 16 years ago, since I watched a Batman movie with my family. Yeah, the 1989 Batman, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. We all went to the Rex Cinema at Petaling Street to watch. I distinctly remember waiting in the car going through a traffic jam at the traffic lights at Jalan Silang. Hmm... good to reminisce.

Anyway, it's the BEST Batman movie franchise I've seen so far! I thought the original 1989 was good, but this one is WAAAAYYY better. Of course, don't even talk of those crap sequels like Batman Returns, Forever, .. & Robin, especially the last two... total, absolute crap!

This movie stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman (wow, this one was a surprise!) as Gordon, Katie Holmes as love-interest, assistant DA Rachel Dawes, Liam Neeson as Ducard, Ken Watanabe as Ra's Al Ghul, and some more. Directed by Christopher Nolan, who did a good job, this movie depicts the story of Batman himself and the history of the creation of Batman. Unlike the previous movies, this version tells more of what Bruce Wayne is, and what he was to become as a result of the death of his parents, giving him more depth to his character as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Oh, but for techies, it also showed how some of his high-tech gadgetry came about, and the creation of the Batcave... from the Bat-suit, grappling hook, Bat mobile (or tank in this case!), utility belt (which looked more practical then the 1989 comically made one), and more. Oh yeah, to quote my brother on the Batsuit, "... thank God.. no nipples on the suit, man!". Couldn't agree more.

In terms of storyline, I was really glad that the writer of the movie stuck very closely to the original story in the DC Comics, and character wise, very close to the one Frank Miller created. A dark, pain-ridden Bruce Wayne/Batman like in the Batman: Year One written by Frank.

Christian Bale made an excellent Bruce Wayne/Batman... even slightly more than Michael Keaton (which was my personal favorite before). Michael Caine was also excellent as Alfred. It was surprising to see how Gary Oldman played the then-Lieutenant Gordon, in what Yahoo! Movies described as a William H. Macy role. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox (a character that was in the comics but never appeared in the previous instalments). Also the introduction to two new villians, Jonathan Crane as Scarecrow (played by a sinister-looking Cillian Murphy) and Ra's Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe). There's a slight twist to the Ra's Al Ghul character, but I'll leave it up to you to find out in the movie.

GO WATCH IT! Awesome.

Biased as I am, but it's an A+ for a Batman comic adaptation for me!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Justin!

Yesterday, 17th of June, was our pianist, Justin Lim's birthday. He is 25 years old already!

Justin posing... Posted by Hello


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gym and insoles..

Guess what? I finally went to the gym (there's a Fitness First at Cheras Leisure Mall.. yay!) on Tuesday, after such a long time not going there (and I mean loooonng time!). Talk about an expensive bathing place. Sheesh. Now my muscles hurt a bit, as expected. I'm trying to go there at least twice a week lah, do some weight training or something. Make use of the hundred over ringgit I'm paying aimlessly every month.

And yesterday Wednesday evening, I was geared up to run at KLCC. Went there with my NB 766s, and a pair of new Foot Solutions insoles (custom-made to my flat overpronating feet). Started running, and towards the second laps, my feet felt like there were being scratched at real bad. And when I inspected the insoles in the shoes, I found that there was a gap between the wall of the shoe and my insoles. I think the insoles were slightly smaller than the shoe room area. So the gap sort of ate at my midfoot area near the arch. And it caused a slight blister, and after 3 rounds, I gave up running. I didn't want to risk further aggravation to my feet, I've got a 10K race next week! Looks like I'll be running with the normal insoles.

The new insoles, are quite comfortable for walking. But I think it may be rather tough still for running. so I'll let it break in for a while. Since I'm flatfooted, the insoles were custom made to push up the arch, and give it support.

Prepping for Subang Jaya 10k...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Star Wars III... 3!

Believe it or not, I went to watch SWIII: Revenge of the Sith, again.. for the 3rd time!

Well, first time I watched the show was with my brother. The first two movies, we also watched together, so why break tradition? Second time, was with a bunch of friends, of which one of them is watching it for the first time too. And today, ANOTHER bunch of friends, of which one of them was watching it for the first time. But it was cool, cos I don't get to meet them often, so it's an opportunity to meet and hang out.

Anyway, some personal thoughts about Star Wars up till now. It's really quite amazing, watching it full circle. Me and my brother were watching the VCDs of the first sequels, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. It's quite interesting analyzing the sequence and the events that transpired from Ep. 1 to Ep. 6. The tale of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader is a compelling one, and then the beginning of his son, Luke Skywalker to Anakin/Darth Vader's death and redemption, makes good food for thought. I felt sad for Anakin in Ep. 3, even though we all know he's going to become Darth Vader. I felt that from Ep. 1 - 6, it has always been about Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, and not about Luke Skywalker, as most would've thought watching the first second-part instalments. But of course, Luke Skywalker was the important catalyst in the redemption of Darth Vader.

The screenplay and script weren't that great, unfortunately. The acting... well, I liked Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi best, as most would I think. Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu was great, although his scenes weren't much, but even so, he really made the best out of it. Hayden Christensen.. oh well... some parts he shines, but for most part, he was just okay. Oddly enough, I think he did play the role as good as it gets. But I thought he could've done better.

Hmmmm, last news I heard from George Lucas, there's gonna be an animation or even action series... can't wait for that to go thru...


Go watch Ep. 3: Revenge of The Sith, if you haven't.

Ahhh, another week ahead... gonna train for Subang Jaya 10K.


Friday, June 10, 2005

New jazz gig..

Well, some of you might have heard (perhaps I told you?) already...

... I'll be doing a regular 3-nights-a-week jazz gig soon, at a new jazz club, opening in the heart of town. The place is called, believe it or not, the Cotton Club! It's located at the ground and 1st floor of a corner lot in Maju Junction Shopping Complex, just adjacent to the Jalan Sultan Ismail/Jalan Raja Laut crossroads...

... The band that'll be playing will be my new, regular working band (I hope) The Julian Chan 4tet featuring newcomer Penangite Dorothy Cheoy on vocals. The current line-up will be myself on saxophones and flute, the drum prodigy John Thomas, Joseph Arnesto on double bass, and former Asiabeat-alumni Jason Geh on piano/keys.

... stay tuned to this channel for more info, coming your way.

Subang Jaya 10K...

Finally, for those who've been following my terrible lack of running career.. hahaha...

I had just registered for the Subang Jaya 10K run which will take place on the 26th June. A couple of friends will also be joining, including my teacher Greg Lyons and wife (yay!). Hopefully they'll actually run the race this time around (they couldn't do about one or two races I registered for them).

I went for a run this morning, for about slightly over an hour at Lake Gardens. I've got a question for you experienced runners out there: Why is that after a week or so recovering from a race, the moment you start training again, it feels like you're starting from absolute scratch???? During the 15K race last two weeks, I felt really good running. Today, when I was training, I seem to run out of stamina much quickly than before. Did a run on Monday evening, and only did about 4.5K. One possibility I could think of, is that I've just noticed my leg turnover has increased by about slightly over 5 steps. Last time I counted my leg turnover to be around 75 - 80 rpm, but today I counted maximum 84 rpm. That was sort of the average pace I was going at. Which is kind of wierd for me. I tried slowing down to recover a bit, especially going up the Carcosa hill, but that pace seems to just re-adjust by itself, and my cardio-vascular system is adjusting to the increased turnover? Sounds a bit over-the-top? I dunno... you tell me.

I remembered that when I started with this Chi-Running thing, my heart rate always went about 85% of max heart rate (MHR). But it did help my speed a bit. Maybe this is just another phase? Can't be what... it's not like i've really trained religiously to reach a slightly higher level?

I only hope it's temporary. I hope it's just a phase out of recovery-mode from the last race. I don't want to make my running development counter-productive.

Looks like I'll be training a lot more for the Subang Jaya 10K, or should I make it a part-of-training race, for Desaru, maybe? I think I'll make Desaru my yearly important race. After all, a lot of memories from my first 21K at Desaru last year!

Anyway, for those who are joining Subang Jaya 10K... see you there!!! Good luck.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I had just finished watching Yasmin Ahmad's Sepet (on original VCD of course).

I'm not a big fan of local movies, considering all that crap they serve on TV and the cinemas these days. But I have to say... the movie was awesome. And I'm definitely proud to say, it's Malaysian, too. The story is beautiful... tragic at the end, but beautiful. And kudos to the actors in the movie, Ng Choo Seong, Sharifah Amani, Ida Nerina, the inimitable Harith Iskandar, and Adibah Noor, and others.

It's a story about a Chinese boy who falls in love a with a Malay girl, set in the laidback town of Ipoh.

All I can say is, go buy a copy of Sepet and watch it. It's a beautfiul movie.

Kudos to Yasmin Ahmad for such wonderful work.

Weekend gigs update

Hey everyone, just gonna update you on gigs happening this weekend. I personally won't be playing in them, but they're definitely worth the watch, if you're into some really, REALLY good jazz music, and not them lounge variety (a dime a dozen at hotels, etc).

So here it is:


Farid Ali and Friends @ Avanti's Friday Nite Jazz

Venue: Avanti's Restaurant, Sunway Hotel Resort
Date and Time: Friday, 10 June 2005; 10pm
Admission: Free
For reservations call 603-7492 8000 ext 3176

Farid Ali, the foremost proponent of gambus (a near-extinct Malay lute) jazz, teams with Justin Lim (keyboard), David Yee (bass) and John Thomas (drums) to deliver original compositions that have a "touch of the exotic".

The Friday Nite Jazz series returns for a fifth season at the Avanti Italian-American Ristorante at Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel, presenting jazz lovers with the cream of Malaysian jazz talent. Supported by Hennessey XO.


Aya Sekine and Greg Lyons Quartet @ Alexis Ampang

Venue: Alexis Bistro, Ampang @ Great Eastern Mall, Jalan Ampang
Date and Time: Friday and Saturday, 10 and 11 June 2005; 10:30pm
Admission: Free
For reservations, call 603-4260 2288

Japanese pianist Aya Sekine plays with the Greg Lyons Quartet: Greg Lyons (saxophone), Lewis Pragasam (percussion) and Andy Petersen (bass) for some spontaneous jazz free-wheelin'.

Aya Sekine now lives in Singapore, and cite both the island state and Japan as musical references, as well as New York, where she spent some time exploring the scene. Aya dabbles in a variety of genres, referencing bebop, samba and punk rock in her music.

(synopses courtesy of kakiseni dot com)

Don't miss out on these awesome happenin' shows this weekend!

Support Jazz Music in KL!!

See you there.

PS: If you wished to be updated on upcoming shows via mailing list, please email with a subject header "Subscribe" or "I want jazz gig updates" and I will include you in my mailing list. Thanks.

Friday, June 03, 2005

June Week 1 update..

Hey everyone,

Like usual, my obvious lack-of-updates in my blog is due to work the last couple of days. Well, I'd hoped to post some more personal insights and thoughts in my blog, as opposed to just gig updates and race reports. Not only that, I know that I wanted to post in a few more reports, like my Singapore-China trip the last couple of weeks ago, and a few others, but obviously never got around to it. At this point, I'm not even sure if I want to post it already, it's like too old news. Unless you REALLY wanna read about it, I will.

But anyway, the last four days, I was practically stuck in a TV recording studio called Green Cow Studios in the industrial area of Bandar Sri Damansara. Imagine having to drive there early in the morning (which means past 9am for me!) for the last four days and coming back at past midnight. I was involved in a TV recording of 13 episodes of a 30-minute music programme called "Jazz Café", produced by Freddie Fernandes, which is planned to go on air on TV2 in July (yet to be confirmed, of course). The initial background I got about this programme was supposed to be that me and the resident band, Soulfingerz, are backing up some jazz artistes... but it turns out that we're really backing up pop artistes trying to sing (what they perceive) to be jazz. The only exception to this were probably guests artistes David Gomes, Adam Farouk, and Harith Iskandar. More on that later. In addition, the programme also involved interviews with the artistes themselves, and interviews with local celebrities. What does all this have to do with "Jazz" you wonder? I have no idea myself. After the first day of recording, I didn't even bother questioning it, despite my own personal protests about what the producer hoped to achieve by putting the word JAZZ in the whole thing. So, suffice to say, it's just another not-a-very-well-thought-out musical program, with a good band and some local celebrities and musical artistes, which probably will mislead a whole lot of people about what jazz music is, at least to some extent.

Then you must be asking: ".. if you're b*tching about it so much, why do it?".

My answer: Not-too-bad money la.. duh! And as I found out later... good company.

Well, despite how the tone of my the last couple of sentences may sound, I wasn't bothered too much about what they were going to do. I already knew what to expect when I went in the jamming studio to rehearse with the artistes. I already knew that we weren't really gonna do any kind of actual jazz with MOST of the artistes. As a saxophone player, I already knew that I'm in many ways, just a novelty. As a lot of people seemed to imply: saxophone in the song means jazz music. Which is, of course, a whole lot of bollocks. Back to the original point, I was just gonna try to fit in to whatever music we're gonna play, and just have some of fun out of it. If I wanted to present some real good jazz music, I'd be playing in Alexis Bistro or Avanti's Restaurant, wouldn't I? Anyhow, the reality of the situation is, I'm just a struggling musician in KL, who is at the same time, trying to find the space to do his own thing as well. I'm a musician first, (learning) jazz musician second. It's not to say I will play in EVERY situation under the sun (I won't, by the way, not even for money), but this show is still within parameters that I can cool with. And I probably will have fun doing it as well... and get paid too! Work is work, right? I probably sound a bit anal right now, but really, it's just another good job for me, although musically it probably doesn't have any remote resemblance to jazz.

Back to the show... we were the backing band for all the artistes, Soulfingerz. The band comprised of myself on saxophone, Fariz Adlan on electric bass, Jimmy Tan (of Tempered Mental) on drums, David Patrick Juis on electric guitar, Jason Geh (former Asiabeat alumni) on piano/keyboards, and the beautiful, stunning, soulful Noryn Aziz on vocals, a steady feature in every episode. Each episode features one musical guest artiste, and one local celebrity, both to be interviewed. The host for the show is none other than the inimitable, unique-voiced Patrick Teoh! It also features Noryn and the band on at least one song at the start of the show.

Among the musical artistes involved were David Gomes, Adam Farouk, Liza Hanim, Dia Fadilla, Harith Iskandar, Hazami, Sutera, Burn (of Akademi Fantasia 1), Arniza, Shari (both also of AF, just dunno which one), Rem, and Leonard Tan. The celebrities who were present were Louisa Chong, Saw Teong Hin (director of Puteri Gunung Ledang movie), Indi Nadarajah, Edwin Sumun, Zaibo, Harith Iskandar, Yasmin Yusuff, Yasmin Ahmad (producer of the movie Sepet and the controversial Petronas LRT ad), the stunningly beautiful Carmen Soo (gawd, she's really hot... and really nice, too!), and some others (I can't remember already.. talk about short term memory loss!).

The first day of recording on Monday was probably just the prelude to a long, tiring day. Usually, the first day of shooting is the day the LEAST work is done, where recording is concerned. It's usually the day where all the teething problems are first encountered, and sorted out... things like lighting, sound, set design, camera shots, segment organisation, last-minute music arrangements, and pretty much everything else. We managed to record two episodes that day, with Arniza and Shari recording a tune each, and guest celebrities Louisa Chong and Yasmin Ahmad.

The second day, was probably the longest day of all the shooting days. We were doing four episodes, and in between shoots, numerous technical problems were still being sorted out, and we had to do several takes of the same segments on certain parts of the episodes. Guests on the second day shoot were Hazami, Rem, Leonard Tan, and Adam Farouk. Adam's stuff was pretty fun, we did an Austin Powers-like version of They Can't Take That Away From Me (a typical jazz standard) and Stevie Wonder's I Wish, a real funky one! Hazami's and Adam's takes were one of the best, as it only involved a single take for each tune they sang, so that was pretty cool.

The third day, surprisingly, was extremely expedient, even though we recorded four episodes. Most of the segments were done in one take, and a lot of the spontaneity of the show were preserved. It was also one of the best ones, as we had David Gomes as guest artistes. David is already a jazz musician, by right, and he also brought in a new composition which we rehearsed on the spot and played it right away. That was pretty fun. Indi Nadarajah also sang a blues tune with us, although it was really a spontaneous idea, and not part of the initial programme. Even Edwin Sumun was also inspired to sing a tune with us, he sang Fly Me To The Moon. I would think that after the first two days of trouble, the third day would be a little more comfortable for most of us, and it was. Everyone was in tune to what was going on, and what was to happen in each episode recording.

The fourth day we only recorded the last three episodes, and the guests that sang with us were Liza Hanim, Dia Fadilla, and the extremely funny man Harith Iskandar. Guests celebrities were Yasmin Yusuff, Zaibo, and Harith himself (both guest artiste and celebrity). Harith's episode was one of the best I've seen, where he did a skit involving the band, the interview with Patrick, and then jamming one tune with the band. We jammed on an A-blues, where he spontaneously sputtered out the lyrics for the spontaneously named Patrick Teoh's Blues!!! Not only that, he even played guitar, and at the end of the song I was trading blues licks with him and finished it with a typical blues half-time ending! Even though he doesn't play jazz on his instrument, he definitely thinks and acts like a jazz musician, and applies it into his comedy acts! Truly amazing guy he is.

Well, like any other venture, there's a good side and a not-so-good side to it. In this case, I was lucky that the band I was playing with are a bunch of friends of mine as well. And we had Patrick Teoh, who not only provided good conversation pieces throughout the show and in between sets, but also extremely funny ones! But we are thankful to Patrick for being such good company, for without him, the recording process would have been a real drag! I've only worked with Patrick once for David Gomes' Frank Sinatra show almost two years ago, and I'm really glad I got to work with him again. He really makes you feel that you've known him and vice versa for a long time. The production crew and the camera crew also were a bunch of funny people, thankfully, and they provided some really hilarious real stories and jokes. Oh yeah, not to mention... THE FOOD!! The caterer was indian, so we had some really good indian food... AND VEGETARIAN ONES, too!! I mean, they catered vegetable curry dishes as well, and chicken for the meat eaters. But it was a treat for me. Usually for these kind of gigs, I don't usually get food, other than the ones I have to provide for myself or I go out to eat. I didn't have to spend a single sen on lunch or dinner the last four days! Woo hoo...

....and not to mention, some booze, to lighten up some of the stress! Hehehehe...

Anyway, look out for Jazz Café on TV2 sometime in July (if it goes thru RTM, of course, knowing those bungling idiots who run the station there).

Ciao.. I'm gonna rest this weekend... so blardy tired.