Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye and farewell..

.. to 2006!!

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!!!!!***

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gig update @ Top Room

Hey everyone!!

Counting down to the new year, means more music and more happening stuff happening! To help countdown to the new year, my new band, BOPLICITY will be playing tonight at The Top Room from 10.30pm onwards. If you missed us the last coupla times, do come down tonight to check us out, enjoy some kick-butt jazz in KL, and celebrate the end of the year with us. We hope we'll be getting more gigs and shows next year, and we'd really appreciate your support for us.. as well as the live jazz music scene. I'll say no more.. I hope to see you at the gig!!

PS: Don't be shy and come say hi to the band (we're not gonna eat you, y'know!)

Julian Chan's BOPLICITY @ Top Room

Date and Time: 29 Dec 2006 (Friday), 10:30pm onwards
Venue: The Top Room @ Top Hat Restaurant, 7 Jln Kia Peng, KL
Admission: RM25++ with one drink

Monday, December 25, 2006

Have Yourself..

........ A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like to wish EVERYONE, a Merry Christmas! It's a good time to reflect and be thankful of our blessings, no matter how big or small!

Have a good one, y'all!!

PS: *Happy Hanukah for the Jewish!*

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Last minute shopping.. TOEFL scores..

I managed to do my last minute shopping today, believe it or not! Braved the jam and the crowds, etc...

In fact, this was possible because I had to come back from Batu Pahat early this morning, I reached home at about 3.30am, as I drove back after the Chinese musical thing we did. Of course, I didn't manage to wake up until about 12.30pm, and I was still bummed out. Anyway, I managed to drag myself to KLCC where I met up with Greg to get something from him and pass him his Christmas present (which with the help of Eddie, we managed to get). And of course, last minute Christmas shopping. I don't usually get into the habit of buying presents on an annual basis, but this year, I just feel so compelled to get present for people I hold dear. For those who know me well enough, when I get into something bad.. I really get into it bad!! And I'm feeling super-licious happy with it. Never mind the fact I busted out my Christmas gaji (even before getting it by the way.. hahah), but I feel damn glad about it. I guess I'm really feeling all Christmas-ey this year. You guys feelin' it?

Anyway, just a few minutes ago of writing this, I just checked the TOEFL website for my scores, I managed to get 105/120... which is probably not too bad, although I hoped I could've done better with an ACTUAL preparation for it! Better start watching more American TV, then? Ahah... but anyway, the evaluation for the Reading, Listening and Writing section was what I expected I should get. The Speaking section, however, really sucked (although that is expected too, from the way I did it during the test). I don't know what it was, but I really couldn't speak properly during the exam. Maybe I was a little pressured, given only 20 seconds to prepare an answer and 60 seconds to reply, and I'm talking to an inanimate object. I don't really agree with this particular format actually.... too impersonal for me. Give me a real human anyday. At least I know I'm not fast enough with words to deceive and cheat people.. or manipulate them! Aahah..

Okay. Off to bed...

Christmas eve is just 'round the corner!

Good night!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"You better watch out.. you better not cry.."

Can you guys believe it?? It's already near Christmas of 2006 and in a week after that, it'll be 2007!! Where has the time gone??

Well, I'll be working on Christmas eve, and I'm not sure what plans I have yet for Christmas Day itself. I'll be working New Year's eve too... (if you check my Upcoming Performances section, then you'll probably know what I'm talking about.. *tsk tsk*). I've got some invites for open houses and stuff, so I'll probably go for some of those.. nothing like spending Christmas with family and friends.

I'm feeling the Christmas spirit a little more this year, for some strange reason, compared to last year. So that's good I guess. Only wished I had more gigs playing Christmas tunes. I remember the first two or three years out in the business, we had this Christmas gig playing jazzed-up Christmas tunes at Star Hill and Lot 10, and we were playing with some kick-butt players, and it was just so much fun to play. There's something about Christmas songs I really dig.. a certain spirit to it. Always touches my heart and even make me cry tears of joy... it's just beautiful. Beautiful melodies, beautiful lyrics...

Anyway, I just got back from a Christmas function, and I helped to put the band to play some jazz tunes and Christmas tunes, too. I'm heading off tomorrow morning to Batu Pahat, as I'm involved in this Chinese musical show there, "Shanghai Nights", I think. So we're playing old chinese tunes based on that story.

I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping darn it.. I bought some already, but I haven't had time to wrap them and everything.. bugger. Gotta find some time on Saturday to get the rest of the gifts and wrap them too. So busy..

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Update: New Look and functions!

I've just spent the last couple of hours (... I know.. time wasting!) updating the appearance of my blog! No biggie yet.. I'm not TOO crazy about making my blog look like a super hi-tech site! As long you can read what I'm writing, then it's good enough. I'm making up for lost internet-time!

I've even changed the Upcoming Performances to Google Calendar format. Basically, you just click on the link of the show you want to find out more about, and it'll direct you to more information on my upcoming gigs! Fancy that..? LOL!

This Blogger Beta is pretty fancy, actually.. some functions are actually pretty cool, although there are few things I prefer to just manually configure using HTML code.

I've also managed to sort out the Beta comments function with Haloscan comments function too. I'll continue using both until Blogger Beta sorts out an agreement with Haloscan. So feel free to pick your comment box!

One problem after updating the template was that almost ALL my links from my old template disappeared. And I'll have to manually use the Beta widget functions to add them back. But I can't add little comments on the links without having to include them as links, as compared to the older template. But it sort of looks cleaner that way I suppose. Maybe I'll find a way around it.

Enjoy my new site anyway!

I'm back online.. AGAIN!!


What's the deal with TMNet anyway?

One good thing though, when I called their hotline the last time, the receptionist was nice enough to explain to me that my case report (and some others I gather) was taken to a higher level, as they were experiencing some problems with their network card (or whatever) in the Kajang area, or at least where we're staying.

And today, I'm back online... I won't know about tomorrow or the day after though.. we'll see how!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stupid f**king TMNET!

*Warning: This post contains loads of expletives. If you're offended, just read another post, or go somewhere else.*

Idiots at that stupid national tele-comms service f**ked up my internet line for more than a week! Called them almost everyday for the past week, and they still haven't fixed it, blardy muthaf*ckas. Pay RM88 for this bullsh*t?? Jeezzzz...

That's the problem with Malaysia, when one particular service industry is monopolized by a lesser company. Especially this one.. sigh.. Malaysia Boleh.. of course.. Malaysia Boleh (tapi lepak lah dulu!). Always look at the f*ckin' fine print. Bastards.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Some updates... finally!

To my dear loyal Julian's Head readers (as well as my other blogs!),

I would really like to thank you for bearing with me over my severe lack of updates over the past couple of weeks, months even. It's just a phase thing.. I'm not in the blogging mood that much, really. So many things to do, and to take care of. Anyway, I would like to update just a little bit of what I had been up to the last week or so..


Well... here it is, my new band, Julian Chan's BOPLICITY. We did our first gig at No Black Tie if you've noticed already, last week. It turned out really good, or the band did, at least. You can read about it here (and pictures are on the way!). But do keep a lookout of this band... I think it's a really awesome band, I'm really looking forward not just to our next gig, but all our future undertakings (before I leave for the US, anyway).

Julian @ Singapore...


I went to the Lion City last week, just for the weekend. I had planned to meet my dear saxophone-soul-brother, David Muehsam. We had planned to meet up, hang out, and just jam at Jazz @ Southbridge, with David Gomes and his trio (with Junji Delfino as well, for the Friday and Saturday).

My trip started rather funnily (but quite stressful for me) on Thursday morning. I was so bummed from the past of days from Boplicity and some other gigs, I ended up waking up at 6.30am (and I was supposed to catch a 7.30am bus at Bangsar!!), even though I had already set a 4am alarm which I snoozed and dozed off again. I got out of bed like a crazy fella, and packed so fast, it's the fastest I've ever packed for a weekend! I left my house at about 7am, and sped to the First Coach office and managed to get there at about 7.30am (I had to call them to hold the bus a short while, and they did, bless them!). I'm even surprised I managed to get there in the nick of time! Anyway, I had to leave my car at a metered parking lot, to the dismay of my mum. As a little upset from getting the grill from her, I realized she was right, that someone could've easily towed my car away, and we're not talking about DBKL here. Anyhow, my brother managed to arrange to pick my car up with a spare car key I have (
Thanks guys, I owe you lots!).

Got to Lion City without a fuss. Met up with David at his hotel and we went to Little India for a nice South Indian buffet fare. Not the high class variety, but the nice small, home cooked variety. Walked around to SimLim Square and checked out some computer stuff, handphone stuff, etc. Did you know how cheap handphones are in Singapore? Damn... and I'm talking about original handphones here, not the "underwater" variety. Of course, the "underwater" ones are even cheaper then! Then we headed to Jurong East to go to the usual shop where we get our saxophone stuff. Stayed there for a couple of hours, while we compared horns, got it looked at and fixed by the technician. Met up another friend of David's - Timothy- who runs a yoga school in SG, for dinner, and we hung out all night at JSB. Me and David of course went on stage to jam for at least two sets for a few songs. But since we were tired that night, we weren't really in top form, but it was still good fun.

At this point I must say this: The rhythm section of Eddie Jensen and Tan Boon Gee (with the fiery David Gomes) is a killer rhythm section! Probably the most killer rhythm section in Singapore right now!!! If you've time, go down south and check them out!


Friday afternoon started out just alone hanging out at Parkway Parade (about 10 minutes walk from David's apartment). Shopped at Gramaphone and got myself three CDs: Branford Marsalis' Braggtown, Brandon Fields' Fields and Strings, and Miles Davis' Complete Birth of The Cool album. And I got it at quite a steal. Then I met up with David later, to go out for a run at East Coast Park (not until the heavy rain cleared). Did about 5km, before heading back to the apartment to get ready to go to town for dinner and Jazz @ Southbridge. Friday night's jam was much more interesting, as Singaporean pianist Jeremy Monteiro came in and sat in for the last few songs for the night, and we jammed on I'll Remember April and a blistering fast Cherokee!! The energy from all the band members were also at quite a high. Me and David definitely had more energy banks, from the 5km run we did (and not to mention great food at Chella's Vegetarian Corner @ Little India!).

After the jam, food was to follow, of course! We chatted a lot that night (like musicians always do.. lots of things to say), from politics, music, religion, you name it!! One thing about hanging out with musicians, and I'm guilty of it at times, is that you'll always hear a multitude of information. Who says musicians are dumbf**ks..?? Wait till you meet these people...


Next day wasn't much rest for me too, really! We (me, David and Junji G) got up quite early
(1030am.. that's early for a musician!), and headed to Parkway Parade (they needed to go to the bank to settle some stuff), and we had an early brunch. Shopped around some more (shopping's a good angst management therapy, I might add!), and bought some clothes, and branded fancy umbrellas (I got a nice small green Esprit for me mum!), as it was raining and we needed to get back. Later, I met up with David Muehsam again at Sim Lim Sq, and checked out some more phones. Although I had my eyes set on the Nokia 5500 Sport, I decided against it after testing it. The interface and the user-friendliness were not so great. I ended getting the same phone as David's: Sony Ericsson K610i. It's quite a nice phone, very well done, I must say. After I got back to KL, I managed to purchase-download a software to enable it to sync with the iCal program on my Mac (and it syncs way better than the Motorola, which is such a pale comparison.. they look good.. only!).

Had dinner again at Chella's (the food there is AMAZING!!!), chatted a whole lot more.. about yoga, life, music, the works. (Note: this trip has also been heavy in terms of what we chat about this time 'round, not your usual lounge conversation variety!). Then it was JSB, again, for another round of jamming!! This time around, there was a much bigger crowd, and much more appreciative one, as well. So the energy was pretty intense as well. But the after effects of a high energy music exposure.. wow... very tiring. After a round of supper, we taxi-ed our way back. We said our goodbyes to David Muehsam (he was due for a flight to New York the following morning), and it was back to Gomes' apartment.


After packing all my stuff, I napped for about an hour, showered, and woke David up at about 6.45am. We left the apartment at about 7am, took a taxi to the First Coach departure stop, and headed back to KL at about 7.30am.

Later, me and David headed to Top Room for another round of jam sessions, for the Top Room Sunday jams. We had a couple of younger fellas coming up to jam, and showing their mettle a little. It was quite a good jam.


I slipped, and sprained my right ankle! Argh.. how crazy is that? Have to lay off running for now.. sigh.. It's getting better at time of writing, though. Can't wait to get back on track again..

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My new band.. BOPLICITY!



BOPLICITY, a new jazz outfit formed by upcoming saxophonist, Julian Chan, brings more bop music into the Malaysian music fold, when he saw the need to expose this usually unexplored territiory of Jazz music, to the ears of the growing Malaysian Jazz audience. Concentrating on the various styles of bop – ranging from the bebop, hardbop and even to the more contemporary sounds of post-bop – BOPLICITY sticks true to what is known as the “Blue Note” sound-style band – two horns (sax and trumpet), with a piano, bass, and drums rhythm section.

BOPLICITY is Julian Chan on saxophones/flute, Eddie Wen on trumpet and flugelhorns, Vincent Ong on double bass, Martin Ngim on drums, and Cher Siang on piano.


Julian Chan started playing the saxophone at 14, but only began playing professionally at the age of 21, after graduating in a degree in accounting from Perth, Western Australia. He began taking lessons from Malaysian-based English top jazz saxophonist Greg Lyons, after his return from his studies, and began playing in his various ensembles such as the 19-piece Emergency Break Ensemble, the jazz-funk band Biophonics, and The Greg Lyons Nonet, a 9-piece ensemble featuring Greg’s compositions and arrangements. Julian also played with various KL jazz luminaries, such as The David Gomes Quartet/Quintet, Julian Chan and David Gomes’ The KL Hardbop Band, Jose Thomas’ Groove Unction, Michael Veerapen, Farid Ali and more.

Currently, Julian runs several bands, from the (now defunct) Happy People Quintet, The Julian Chan Quartet, as well as The KL Hardbop Band (a collaboration between Julian Chan and David Gomes, featuring various hardbop-based music as well as David’s original compositions).


Eddie Wen started playing trumpet from high school, playing in high school bands, moving up to the local symphonic orchestras in KL, such as the PJ Youth Symphonic Band, KL Symphony Orchestra, The National Symphonic Orchestra, RTM Orchestra, Shah Alam Municipal Council Orchestra, and the Petronas Performing Arts Group. His path to jazz started out when he began learning and playing with Greg Lyons’ Biophonics in 2001, and eventually joining in Julian Chan’s Happy People Quintet. He then began playing in various other ensembles from Greg Lyon’s Nonet, jazz latino band Ireson, The David Gomes Quintet, The KL Hardbop Band and more.


A graduate of the International College of Music, Vincent started playing bass professionally when he was still in college, and eventually formed his own band Black Machine in 2000, and eventually GruvAvenue in 2005 (and recorded their self-titled debut album). Vincent has played in various settings and in various hotel lounges, and club performances, as well as different jazz festivals in KL.

Vincent has performed with various jazz artistes such as David Gomes, pianist Hakan Rydin, Sharizan, Rachel Guerzo, and various local jazz artistes.


A relatively newcomer to the jazz scene, Martin began playing drums from 23. Starting out playing in funeral bands, he then moved on to playing drums in commercial bands in various top-40 pubs in and around town. Later on, Martin started to take lessons from top Malaysian drummer Lewis Pragasam, and joined some of his Asiabeat percussion ensembles in various shows. His foray into playing jazz began when he joined the JJ Jazz Ensemble in their debut concert in UPM, and played their subsequent shows in various clubs in town. Learning as he went along, he began playing in some jazz groups in KL, such as the Happy People Quintet, Julian Chan Quartet, Rachel Guerzo, Greg Lyons’ MezzaJazz.

and introducing


Tay Cher Siang started his piano lessons just like most people, learning classical music. He took up an interest in Jazz during his teenage years and began to pursue his musical journey as a jazz pianist. He received his Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from West Virginia University and continued to get his Masters Degree in Jazz Pedagogy, studying under Dr. Miltenberger and Professor Scea.

His achievements include winning the WVU Young Artist Competition in 2004, recipient of the HERF Top-Off Award and the Valerie Canady Award. He was the Graduate Assistant for the Jazz Department in WVU where he got the chance to direct the college's Jazz Big Band and various Small Group Ensembles.

Throughout the years, Mr. Tay performed regularly as a soloist, as well as with ensembles such as the WVU Big Band, the Mon River Big Band, the Jenny Menna Trio, the Washington Street Jazz Band, and the WVU Wind Symphony Orchestra. He also performed regularly in Malaysia, China , and the United States.

* * * * *
The band debuts tonight at No Black Tie from 10pm onwards. Check out our new website, Enter Boplicity! for more details!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Here's something for those with dreams..

Hey all..

To those who have dreams, and the passion for the music... from the mouth of Wynton Marsalis, and from our hearts!! Enjoy...

Wynton Marsalis's Speech to the 2006 Graduating Class:

Wynton Marsalis's Speech to the 2006 Graduating Class:

I'm going to provide you all with very few practical words, the fruits of
many happy years of varied experiences in the arts.
First, congratulations. No one is ever going to ask you to see your grades.

Take all jobs. If somebody says, "Can you ??" say, "Yes, I can."

Leave jobs that you hate immediately.

If you find a job that doesn't feel like a job, don't let others for whom it
is a job make it feel like a job to you.

If you find yourself working at your craft, be happy, because it might not
happen again.

Being dissatisfied is not an achievement.

Every chance you get to perform is important. It could be at an elementary
school, it could be at a rehearsal-every little aspect of it is sacred and
is significant.

And, just as a rule, people are generally more enthusiastic the less they're
being paid. Many times people want to know about commercialism versus art.
Do what you want to do. Don't be conflicted. But realize that integrity is
real, and so is starvation.

Never let pay and the talk of pay occupy more time and space than the talk
of your art. If you find that it is, go into banking, or start a hedge fund
or something.

Also, about pay: understand where you are. When I was 19, I was on a tour
with Herbie Hancock and I started complaining to him before we walked
onstage about what I was being paid. He said, "Come here, man. Look out into
the audience." He said, "Now, do you see those people?" I said, "Yes, sir."
He said, "They paid for these tickets. If you don't walk out onto the stage,
how many of them are going to leave? ? Now, if I don't walk out, how many
will leave? ? That's why you're being paid what you're being paid."

Always remember that an agent that you have just met is not your friend.

Never deny a compliment after a performance. "Oh, I love your ?" "No, I
didn't ?" No. No ? Say, "Thank you." It takes a lot less words.

If you sign an autograph, always look at the person before you hand it to
them. Always.

If you've written some music, and everybody is bored, and you even find
yourself getting a little bored, it's boring. Don't worry. I would also like
to debunk the notion that it will be understood later, because if that were
the case, we would have a lot of boring pieces from the 1870s that would be
popular hits right now.

If you notice that everybody at the table has been quiet for a very, very
long time, except for you, you've been talking too much.

Now, to combat nervousness: Number one, practice a lot. Two, think about how
unimportant what you're doing is in the general scheme of things. Three,
breathe very deeply and relax. Number four, envision great success, or
envision failure and figure, how bad could that be? Finally, forget about
all of that stuff and just go ahead and do your thing.

In a crisis, or if you are caught lying, you have to come with the truth.
Always tell the truth in a crisis.

When you get a bad review, never ask someone if they've seen it.

Don't pretend not to have seen it. Never, ever dwell on it-or on them, in
case you get more than one, which you will if you stay out here-so as to
mention it to someone who might not even know or care about what you're
talking about. Too much commenting on bad things or criticism, somebody
attacking you, is really a form of egotism.

Don't eat too much bread late at night after performances. But wine is O.K.

Never take the last of anything off of a table when you are a guest. Let
that last thing sit there. "Do you want ? ?" "No, I don't want ?" the last
of anything.

I also want you all to realize that our collective success as artists, all
of us, is inextricably tied to the taste levels of the world. The concerned,
the refined, the soulful-they're always at battle with the callous, the
crass, and the exploitative. That's why Picasso said that a work of art is
actually a weapon. You know, we fight for consumers. Artists have always had
to fight for consumers. And you all-all of you young artists-you're called
to battle the runaway global descent in the popular taste. You're called to
do that without snobbery, or prejudice, or retreat into the smug, high
ground of the academy-and please, without selling out, or selling people

Use your talent, your good looks, and your education, to transform the whole
world with the power of art. Engage the world through inspired teaching,
through tireless proselytizing, through an unwavering practice of craft at
its highest levels. Engage the world of fellow artists, teachers, audiences,
students, critics and other various haters, with a boundless energy, an
irrepressible zeal, an unassailable humility, and an infectious joie de
vivre. Then you go from being the isolated, misunderstood, besieged artist
to being a powerful testimony for the inevitable transcendence of artistry.

You see, as you all go out into the world, know that you have a very special
gift: a gift that announces itself through music, dance, drama, film,
literature, comedy, painting. You have a gift that survives. It survives the
disappointment of not being famous, or not becoming as great as you thought
you would be. It's a gift that many times actually grows larger with life's
unpredictable and inevitable heartbreaks.

This gift is as old as cave people gathering around a campfire to skillfully
lie about some animals they killed. Or some grizzled old cowboys trying to
shake the trail dust off their brains with an old harmonica and some
out-of-tune song, and some nasty coffee. Or Negro slaves at a jubilee,
healing days and nights of sorrow with the bittersweet balm of a dancing
fiddle and the piercing cry of the blues. Or a stage re-enactment of some
epochal love affair that rekindles again and again the grandeur of romance
between a man and a woman for those who may have forgotten.

This is the gift that caused old, sick, deaf Beethoven to crawl out of his
bed at 2:37 in the morning and put his ears on the piano just to hear the
vibrations. He couldn't hear any notes. This is the gift that had old, blind
Matisse laying up on his bed, looking up at the ceiling with a stick, trying
to put some color on the ceiling, to figure out some way to squeeze the last
moment of something out of his life.

What about Louis Armstrong? The Promethean giant of American feeling, with
lips as scarred as the moon, reaching for those last few, blood-soaked high
C's? Yes, this gift is something.

Whether you play on the main stage of the world or you toil in obscurity,
believe me, you have the gift to create community with your song, with your
dance. Don't sell it short. Get people to gather around, and understand that
we are us, and we become us through art by hearing about who we used to be,
who we are, and, in some cases, who we should be-or who we're going to be.

Use this gift wisely. And if you end up broke, or unhappy, or lonely, it's
going to be by choice, because people love art, and they love artists, and
they love to be touched, and they love for you to touch them, and they love
you. They're not your enemy; they're your friend. And you won't believe the
way that they'll open their heart and the love that they will give you.

In closing, I'm going to go to an old master of plantation trumpet, Enute
Johnson, the early pioneer. He played the cornet around 1883.

A government interviewer found him as an old man, got him a new set of
teeth. He saw him working in the sugar-cane fields, around Vacherie, La. He
observed that Enute Johnson was not bitter at all about his seeming
misfortune. So he asked Enute to reflect on his trumpet playing and other
things that he liked to do.

Mr. Johnson said, "Son, play long, play hard, and play as much as possible."
And that makes life quite sweet, brothers and sisters.

Quite sweet.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where there's an end.. there's a beginning..

21 October 2006.. marks the end of what was a really good band, The Happy People Quintet.

That's the end for us.. at least for a long while. Many people asked me, "Why?". And my answer is as simple as this:
It's just time. You just know it's time to end, when already feel it's time to end. The feeling is as undeniable as a hunger pang. It's a pity, I know.. but it's all about moving on.. we are all moving on to other things. True to the Buddhist quote, "The only thing that is permanent is impermanence". It was good while it lasted, though. We all had a good time for most part, and we played some kick-a$$ music.

My only regret was that Justin couldn't be here with us to finish the show. So in fact, our real final show as a band was at Top Room in July when Justin was around.


The beginning..

This is also making way to my own new project band I've been wanting to start on for a while now. My only obstacle was to find a suitable pianist for the band, one who either knows the language and understands the music, or simply has the interest and desire to be part of it.. and I've finally found one.. by chance! But I have a strong feeling it was just simply affinity.

Two Thursdays ago, after a gig in Ritz Carlton with Sharizan, Martin calls me up to go to BK Jazz to their Thursday jam sessions to jam with the resident band, and although I never had much opportunity and the suitable time to go except for this moment, I decided to head there to meet him up. I got in there, sat with Martin, proceeded to talk to him a little until the piano player who was there to jam started playing. My head turned with surprise and disbelief, with what I heard. The cat was just playing crazy!! Let's just say, I hardly hear something like that around, except if you were to go to a place like the US or Australia.. and he has the language and the sensibility of a jazz cat!

After jamming with him a bit, I managed to get his contact, and the following preceded to book him for a couple of gigs. And after last night, when he came to TTR to jam, I'm even more convinced with what I heard.. it was simply amazing! This cat can really, really play!! He had just came back from West Virginia University in the US.. at least this is one cat who did something good with his education in the US.. can't say the same for some of the others who go to "prestigious" or "famous" schools, and still can't play shit when they return, and can still brag about it.

Well, I hope that this new band I'm doing will work well... I hope not to repeat some of my old mistakes in running a band! That's why I made them.. so I could learn from them. Everyone definitely seemed interested to be in it..

.. if you want to know more, do stay tuned! I'm looking forward to this one!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Top Room Photo

Here's a nice video of a photo shoot we did last Sunday, before the jam session... What happens when you put 15 jazz musicians together in an attempt to do a photo shoot?


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gigs This Week!

Hey all,

I know I haven't posted in what seems like weeks.. oh wait, it probably is...but I guess I'm just not in a blogging mood these few weeks. Well, I'll get back into it again, I'm sure. So for now, just bear with my lack of updates to this page. Anyway, here's a few gig plugs:


The Happy Jazz men from KL are back..

...but unfortunately, it will be also our finale show. The last couple of years have been great with the band, but it's time for each of us to move and experience different pastures. Perhaps in the future, the band will get back together and do some really good shows! Who knows what the future holds?

The Happy People Quintet are:

JULIAN CHAN - saxophones and flute
EDDIE WEN - trumpet and flugelhorn
- electric bass
- drums

(and subbing for Justin Lim and doing a fine job!)
LEONARD YEAP - piano, keyboards

I would like to thank, on behalf of the band, everyone who has come to our show and supported us, and we hope we also have shown the same for you! THANK YOU!



Make way this weekend for two of the hottest Mamas in songland as bosom-buddies, Junji Delfino and Anya, aka Salamiah Hassan, swing, croon & belt their way to The Top. Ok, so the picture doesn't exactly sizzle but, trust me, these chicks are hot... I mean after all... spring chickens, they are not. And believe me, I should know! (~_~)

Long-time friends, Junji & Anya share a combined passion for life, love, music, shopping & all things beautiful. And not necessarily in that order :)

With a combined career-span of 50 years or so, these two women are worthy of a spot on Mommy's Hall of Fame. With 7 children between them, the two have juggled the demands of building their homes & raising kids while achieving success in their individual careers. Wanna find out what makes them tick? Catch them in action this Friday along with dashing daddy, David Gomes on piano!

Meanwhile, get treated to another double bill on Sat as Junji & David go solo when they revisit songs from the great songwriters! Listen to them and find out why they are the undisputed top-rated husband & wife act to grace KL's jazz scene since Tony Soliano & Julie Sudiro.

A first drink charge of RM25++ applies which goes directly towards subsidising the cost of the music. Hey, musicians have to eat too, you know? Contrary to popular belief, musicians do not live on smoke, crack & sunshine alone! I ain't kiddin!

Showtime starts at 10:30 both nights. Whatcha waitin' for??? Call now and book your seats. 03 21428611. Email also can...

See ya there!!!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ya know I'm baacckk...

Hey all,

I'm just back from Shanghai, after the Jonathan Lee concert at the Shanghai Indoor Stadium. The concert went well, plus a few bloops on my part here and there, but generally very well. I hope I'll have the energy and time to write about it, or even post up some pictures. We sure took a lot pictures, well, Eddie did anyway. Probably about 3 GB worth of pics and videos!

Anyway, I'm off to bed. See y'all soon!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Greetings From Shanghai!!

Hey all,

I really regret not being able to update the blog much more this past week or so. It's one of those moments where stuff takes precedence from updating my blog, which includes work.

Anyway, I just want to say that I'm typing in from a hotel room in Shanghai. Here I am again, but this time to do the Jonathan Lee World Tour concert. You know what I love about this gig, not only do we get to play some good music, but it definitely comes with the perks! We're staying in this cool 5-star hotel called Hua Tin Hotels and Towers, just opposite the Shanghai Indoor Stadium, where we are performing on Friday night.

Well, we've taken loads of pictures, even though we've only arrived TODAY, 4th of October! Hopefully I'll get time to upload it once I get back from Shanghai.

Till then... tata y'all!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Selamat Berpuasa..

... to all my Muslim friends, and Muslims in general. It's a venerable month for you guys, I know! I really tabik you guys for such discipline (and not to those who aren't)!

Hope I get some invites for your Raya open house.. hehehe.. and since I'm vegetarian.. just prepare some nice vege lontong, and ketupat, with kuah kacang when I come over *open hint*!!

heh heh heh..

Happy Fasting Month, y'all!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Top Room Presents.. PJL!!

Pretty Jazz Lady, Ida Mariana, teams up up with affable jazz saxman, Julian Chan for a not-to-be-missed ONE NIGHT ONLY performance at The Top Room!

Fresh from her breathtaking performance as Bayan in Puteri Gunung Ledang, Ida is about to grace The Top Room stage with her presence. Armed with her velvety smooth vocals and a charm that oozes sweet sophistication, the real Ida Mariana is about to set hearts a-flutter with her jazzy style together with The Julian Chan Quintet.

Don't miss this maiden voyage. Book your seats early to avoid disappointment. Call 03 21428611 for reservations or email Only RM 25++ first-drink charge to enjoy excellent music from an excellent stage in an excellent location. If you don't mind me saying so...

The Top Room will be closed on September 23 [Saturday] for a private function but don't worry, The Sunday afternoon jazz jam will be on as usual from 4:30 to 8:30 on 24 September. Do drop by... you just never know who might turn up!

Till then... keep on jazzin'!

Visit us at

Last week..

Hey all,

Here's another apology (among many others) for the lack of updates. Well, that's how it is, I guess, once you get busy with work, blogging does take a backstep!!

Anyway, thanks for all the notes of concern for what happened to me the last week or so. I got my car back late last week. Now there's a brown patch at the trunk, and those cheap plastic pins that keep those cheap plastic coverings in the boot interior are starting to come off, which means I have to spend some more money replacing them (courtesy of Proton.. makers of GREAT QUALITY cars... unbeatable by any car available in the market!!). Anyway, like I mentioned before, lucky it's just my car, and even so, it wasn't intensely serious. Thankfully it's not my life, y'know?

The last week had been busy prepping for Noryn's show at Alexis, as well as prepping for my show this week at Top Room. Also did a gig with the KL Hardbop Band in a totally unexpected place.. WAIKIKI'S, at Kelab Syabas, in PJ State. Although normally known for its more Top 40 duos, trios, and small little pop/rock bands... they actually managed to host us to play for a charity night there. The gig itself was plenty of fun, with David Gomes, me, Eddie, Vincent, and Gary Gideon on drums (now that guy was just ripping it out!!). Although I think most of the patrons had no idea to what we were doing, I think they sorta enjoyed the music anyway. Hopefully we'll get to play there again soon!

Noryn's gig was also quite good! We did a lot of her original material from her upcoming album. She had, as her band line up, me on sax, Fariz on bass, John Thomas on drums, Tok Khon on piano, and Aji on guitars. Check out zeroimpact's short review on the show. First night was better though, more energy.. second night, I sort of fizzled out. Could be just tired, I don't know. I think I need a longer vacation still.. hehehe...

Sunday, I did the Terry Fox run with KT, and that was a funny one, really. The race started pretty late, there were still a lot of people coming in past flag-off time, so the actual flag-off was a half hour later than scheduled. Yasmin Yusuff was emcee-ing. Funny thing about the flag-off was, the run started, even though the pre-flag off activities was finished... like the speech and the warm up sessions, etc!! So before we realized it, everyone started running already! So we were undecided to wait, or to just go on running! Anyway, I met up a few Pacesetters who were just from the Mizuno Wave Run (had to skip that due to the gig the previous night), as well as some other friends like Hakim, Sim, and Jamie. Well, halfway through the race coming back to where the start/finish line was, I think someone knocked down the directions sign, so we weren't sure where the route was headed next... so we decided to just call it a day, as I also wasn't feeling that up to it.. lack of sleep, and generally tired. After hanging around a bit, I saw the Aseana Percussion Unit fellas setting up on stage, getting ready to play! I went to greet them and went off to the car park to take a shower. We thought we could catch the rest of the performance, but when we got back they had just finished their last song. After that, we went to Raju's at Jln Gasing, PJ for a nice Indian brunch!

At home, I slept briefly for about an hour, before getting ready to head to Top Room for the jam session. I was to run the jam session for that day. Funny thing, though.. must be a real off day for everybody. Everyone's probably decided to take a break from going out that day. So, the band and I just sat around talking, jammed a couple of tunes and had some fun doing so, and called it a night. I had already started developing a bad cold. After meeting up another friend to collect something of mine, I headed home and just took two tables of Decolgen and konked off... for 11 hours!!!

Well.. more about this week, later!!

By the way, my quartet is playing this weekend at the Top Room, featuring Ida Mariana on vocals.. come check it out!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bad karma

These few days have been quite un-happening for me. I don't believe in bad luck, but that was what it seemed to have happened.. but I would look at it as just bad karma. And it just decided to hit back on me these coupla days.

Last Saturday, on the way to Bukit Jalil for the ERA awards, I nicked somebody's rear bumper. It was raining rather heavily in Kajang, and I was nearby a toll booth, when this bloke in a white Satria made a rather sudden hit on the brakes. I stepped on the brakes hard, but the car kept moving forward, and bam! I hit the fella's behind. I could feel that the car skidded on what I think was a concrete ground.

We examined the damage, and luckily it was fairly minimal, his bumper just got slightly dislodged. *sigh* The settling was amicable, at least.

The second incident was last night..

I went out running at one of my usual running routes near my old house at Sg. Kantan. I parked next to a house. As this house was a corner lot, the spot I parked had lots of trees, but sparsely spaced. Anyway, I went out to run, and I got back to the car at about 8.15pm, it was already dark. So as I was reversing my car, I looked over behind with all my rear view mirrors, and even turned my head back. It looked clear, and as I thought to myself, "I hope there's no tree behind me.. I thought there was one there" then BAM!!! there was a tree right there!

This time around the damage was much worse, the left side of the boot as well as the bumper was dented in. I can't even open my boot.


Just my frickin' luck...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm on..

... MySpace!!

Check it out.. I put up two clips on there for you to listen as well, and some pictures. Let's get on the internet promo bandwagon!

Click here!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Introspection From The Outside..

Isn't it an interesting thing, that you start to discover certain things about yourself through other people's eyes? You'd find out that there are things that you do that would garner other people's favor, and there are things that would not (usually the latter is more prevalent, isn't it?).

In my six years being in the music business in KL, it hasn't always been a smooth ride. Music, being a very interactive, communal thing, means that I'm ALWAYS working with people (musically or not). By far, I haven't really worked much with people I didn't like, simply because I never really adopted the notion of only working with people I favor, and cutting off people I didn't favor. First things first, the KL music scene is so small, hence a smaller circle of people to work with. Of course, there are always situations that I've worked in I didn't like, but it's not that I didn't like the people I am working with at the time, but it was their method of working which I didn't favor. With heavy politics being involved sometimes, it's even worse (but that's another story).

Anyway, without sounding overbearing, I'll cut to the chase. I know that in my line of work, there will always be people in the industry that will somehow not favor me to work with them. It's a two-way thing as well, sometimes I think there are those who cannot work with my personality, but at the same time, I may have ticked off some of them too. One of the things I have realized as well, through introspection and from what some of my closest colleagues tell me, that I may actually come across as too strong or even a bit standoff-ish... and
proud even, and this is sometimes or even usually brought about by the way I say and do things. One of my fears doing what I do, is that I would let whatever I have worked for get to my head. If anything, it is always this constant bell that I feel, keeps me grounded most of the time... it helps me to not stop learning, and not stop working on what I do, and be complacent. But, I guess it's not enough when it comes to interacting with people. I think I may be a little too direct about saying certain things, or explaining things to people I deal with. So, in effect, what other people read off me might be way off tangent on what I'm really mean, when I say and do certain things.

I'm thinking about it a little bit the last two days. I am trying to think back about the past situations where I may have upset certain people through my actions and my words (that's why I don't get called for certain gigs anymore.. go figure!). Thinking about it made me realize about how I was at the time, and of course, different situations had different factors involved. On a few occasions I definitely had been less respectful to certain people, and just acting quite out of my place than I should. On others, it could've been things I have said and done that may have taken place at a less suitable moment, as well the method of how I delivered it. There are also times where it really can't be helped. Although I'm not in the business of kissing ass, but I'm still open to having to please them. But do I do it at a false pretense by representing yourself in a different light, or should I just be myself, but just be more tactful? When I am being myself, some people might see me in a different light than what's really true. It can't be helped can it?

When I think about it, I realized that one of my personality traits is that I have a strong sense of self... I am confident about how and where I am, musically, at least. I am not certain if it shows when I play on stage with a band, but I know it's there. I have a theory is that some personalities I work with just cannot handle it. Is my sense of security a threat to some of those who are more insecure? Or am I just being proud? For most times, I'm always consciously trying to go past self-gratification when I'm working and interacting with others (you know how easy it is to show how smart you are, when you're not? Ego, babeh..). But maybe I haven't been trained to analyze what I say before saying it.. thinking about the political fallouts of saying them (even if it's just in a casual conversation).

"Honesty is the always best policy". Or is it? Can you ever be honest all the time? I've been thinking about this cliche for a long time now. Is there a condition to being honest? Is there more in the business of being honest?

There's about being honest to others so to try to garner their understanding, and not be disrespectful.. but does it work all the time?

There's about being honest to others, while being torn between being honest to yourself and trying to please others.. how do you deal with that?

There's about being honest, but instead of realizing that we're trying to genuinely help others, it is taken to being sounding proud of one's self?

And there's about just shutting up.


It's a strong word.. and it's hard one to master. God knows, I'm trying.

I am a work-in-progress.. not just in music, but as a person as well. There are things about myself, I desperately need to change. And I think I will probably go through several mistakes to realize them. But I guess that's the beauty of being human, ain't it?

On a less serious note...

I'm out of my two-week break as you know, although it didn't think it was a really work-free break, but nevertheless, it was still a relaxing one. I'm a little more calmer and chilled. My work week began with the Anugerah ERA show that was yesterday. I played with a 8-piece horn section and we were backing Sean Ghazi singing Jeritan Batinku (written by P. Ramlee, arranged by Vivian Chua.. good job Viv!). It was fun.. being on the big stage at Stadium Putra. Only thing was it was quite potong stim, 'cos we were warmed up nice right after we finished the song, and that was it! Ah well...

There are some upcoming gigs these two weeks, so do stay tuned! Hope to catch you at some of our gigs now.. support Malaysian musicians.. support Malaysian-made music (even though it's still a Western derivative.. what music isn't a derivative from other musics?).

Have a good week ahead!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Well, whatdya know...

...I'm 28 already.. since Saturday! But I keep telling people I'm still 25! I still am, for most part (heh heh!)... although I think there are parts of me that feel more like 35...or older (and thankfully, it's not physical!).

This time I didn't celebrate it working, thankfully. However, I didn't get to spend it my family though, but the people I did spend it with, I would consider as an extended family (even musically!!). I had a great time in Singapore, albeit a short one, and was jamming with some of those cats in Jazz @ Southbridge and celebrating my extra year of life. Even my favorite fan (and friend) in Singapore, "Bebop Bishop" A.X Almeida arranged a cake for me.

Well, I sorta enjoyed my two weeks of a semi-vacation. I especially enjoyed my 3 day anti-urban vacation in Port Dickson early last week (although I threw myself back in mega-urban Singapore last weekend), and it was a great time for me to chill and enjoy being just away from everything. I had the pool all to myself, and I even managed to put in a few runs. Practicing was also something I managed to do. I do have to say, I didn't go on this vacation without my lovely and black Macbook!! Oh shut up.. I said I wanted to spend some time away from urban life.. not from technology! LOL!

I was re-reading Wynton Marsalis' Notes To A Young Musician and again, it was quite a read for me! I totally recommend it to any jazz musician who's thinking about being serious about their careers!

Singapore was fun as well, I managed to get some saxophone accessories, as well as some CDs, and a book. CD-hunting was a bit disappointing actually, Borders in Singapore is starting to slack a bit, even the Gramaphone shop in Capitol Plaza (Jazz DVDs dwindled in numbers from two shelves to one!). Managed to get Thelonius Monk Quartet featuring John Coltrane: Live at the Five Spot Discovery! and Wynton's The Majesty of The Blues (which features a riveting sermon called Premature Autopsies). I also managed to come out with a book I've been looking for, for a long time, Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery, a book which he's written for musicians about how to be a master in your music and your instrument (and even life, maybe). Gonna read about it soon... should be an interesting read!

Okay, on a serious note:

I'm 28 already... and for that I'm thankful to God, and my family for being there for me! I only hope I can just grow more and more as a person who is useful and be able to do things which are really meaningful, not just for myself, but to the service of Mother Nature and mankind. I thank the people who have been there with me and sharing their knowledge of the music and life to just a little (but not so little) twat like me. I hope I can do you proud! So if I ever do something I shouldn't do, do kick my ass bad...smack me back into reality!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

There and back again...

Yeah right!

LOL! Sorry for the lack of updates, people!! Been busy taking a break! LOL! Anyway, I was over at Port Dickson the last three days alone, with nothing but my horn, my Mac, my running gear, swimming gear, my keyboard, some DVDs, music books and some food.

I just got back home, and a couple of hours after this, I'm heading down to Singapore for about 2 days until Sunday. Just gonna go with David and Junji to Southbridge, and of course go and walk around on my own, shopping a little!

The last three days in PD had been quiet, other than my saxophone noise, and Merdeka Day just went past me. I had time to spend alone, and just practice, and workout a little bit. It's nice to be away from everything for a little while. I kinda miss it, didn't feel like it was enough. But alas, can't stay too long, gotta start work next week.

I'll be working on a couple of things again starting next week... some gigs with my quintet, and I'll also be involved with the Anugerah ERA thingy, backing Sean Ghazi in a big band.

Oh by the way, if you didn't know already, I got invited to do a radio interview with Jazz Selecta on TraxxFM 90.3 on Tuesday. It was quite fun, was a little nervous for a while, but I think I got used to it.. maybe I could be a radio announcer? AHahha.. yeah right.. not likely. They were playing some free jazz that night.. Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman.. heavy stuff!

Okay, that's all for today.. I gotta get some sleep, we're heading out to Singapore around 4am!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Down Time...


It surmises all I can say from the past several weeks. Well, several weeks is an understatement(!)... since the early part of the year was more like it! I just looked back and re-examined my calendar from the early part of the year, and I just realized I hadn't stopped working heavily since March! Don't get me wrong, I totally enjoyed (and eternally grateful) the work, and I can tell ya... it was one hell of a ride!! Wouldn't trade it for anything else!

However, for the next two weeks, I'm taking a break. I won't be working. No gigs. Nada. And in all honesty, two weeks isn't much of a break, but it'll do for now, anyway.

Doesn't mean I'm gonna stop playing. In fact, if anything, I'd like to be playing more... practicing my horn, and learning tunes, and learning solos! REALLY practicing. One of the side hazard of working so much is that it somehow took out a lot of my practicing time. At least, with some of the stuff I was doing, it did. But at least I was still playing a fair bit, so in a way, it's still practice (in a slightly different way) as well. I only worry about sounding a bit too repetitious at times. And when it comes to saxophone TONE, that's also one of the things I'm still always working on, but don't get to, as much as I would have wanted.

Also, two weeks may also mean having to run more now, and get back into cycling gradually, as well as swimming! I've been dying to train again! There's the Putrajaya Marathon coming up, I could do the half. And there's the Mizuno Run, Terry Fox run, and then some! I fell short of my goal to do a duathlon this year. Running took a real backstep the last several months, and it shows, too!

But nevertheless, the last few months have been nothing short of exhilirating - not just in terms of gigs, but the things I've learnt and experienced, as well. From the opening of the Top Room and playing lots of gigs there (with my own groups and others), the whole month of March doing M! The Opera, meeting and watching Branford Marsalis at the Phil (that was a musical life-changing experience for me!), getting more serious with the Hardbop Band and David Gomes' own sextet, doing several World Tour concerts with one of the most prolific Taiwanese pop composers and working with Malaysian musicians nonetheless, even to the most recent David Gomes Sextet at the KL Music Fest @ Istana Budaya concert, and KL Hardbop Band concert at the KLPac.

Then of course, there's also some of the stress-related issues that comes with working so much, whether from the work itself or having to deal with certain work issues (which I will not get into in detail). The thing about music, is that it's not one profession where you can be emotionally detached from. You can't leave it behind in an office once you go home, like most jobs would. It sticks with you 24/7. Well one COULD choose to be detached, but for most part, it's no different from playing and performing without an ounce of soul. I'm just not like that... I'm not built that way, and I'm certainly not brought up that way. That's why I do what I do, and make the decisions I make. I'm not always right, of course, but for most part, I believe in what I do. The rest is up to faith.. and God. Yeah, I believe in God alright... if not, I don't think I'll be able to do what I do now.

Hmmm.. on a less serious note, I've been thinking of spending a couple of days alone in PD at my aunt's apartment. I'll do nothing but practice, run, cycle, swim, read, eat, and sleep. All this, away from city life, and people! LOL! Some alone-time... despite the fact that I'm still alone (as in unattached) enough already.

See how..

I'm gonna try to enjoy it a little bit. Maybe I might blog a little more, too.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

John Thomas' band - Saxophone solo

Wow... my first YouTube video at the Sunrise Jazz Fest two weeks ago with John Thomas' Funk Mob.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Gigs this weekend: Aug 18 - 20

Hey everyone,

It's a good thing, there's no shortage of jazz gigs in town. KL is buzzing with loads of live jazz music, and other arts. If you don't see and hear it, you gotta get out a little more.. and not to those mind-searing, ear-numbing dance clubs, mind you!

Here's what we have for you this weekend, so come down to the gigs and check it out!



KL young upcoming saxophonist, JULIAN CHAN and his stalwarts, are back, to give you a taste of some trad-jazz from the 50s to 60s as well as some contemporary jazz compositions and arrangements, stuff of the legends of Jazz! From Cannonball, to Blakey, to Turrentine, get kickin' with some of the most swingiest cats in town, with Julian Chan's KL Hardbop Quintet!

Date and Time: 19th Aug 2006 (Saturday), 10pm onwards
Venue: Bangkok Jazz, Chulan Square, Jalan Raja Chulan



Nothing but the best jazz duo in KL! The tintillating ivories (as well as seductive vocals) of KL's premier jazz pianist DAVID GOMES together with the soulful, effervescent JUNJI DELFINO on voice (and undoubtedly the best jazz singer in KL town!). Drop by the Room, for a romantic evening and drown yourselves in the magic of Mr. and Mrs. Gomes!

Date and Time: 18 and 19 Aug 2006 (Friday and Saturday), 10pm onwards
Venue: The Top Room @ Top Hat Restaurant, 7 Jln Kia Peng, KL (across KL Convention Center, look out for the Restoran Top Hat sign).
Admission: RM25++ first drink only, Aug promo - 1 free entry for party of 5.


And not forgetting, of course...


It's been going on for a few weeks now, and it's still on for those who have still NO clue about it! So if you're itching to play, just get your a** down there on Sunday afternoons from 4.30pm. David Gomes' Sunday Swingers will be the house band, so you'll not only get to play with some of the most awesome cats in town, you'll get to learn from them as well. Nothing like putting your butt down on the line on the bandstand to learn your craft!

And for those who likes to watch some of us get *clobbered* on stage, there's nothing like two Afternoon Jazz Tea Sets to choose from and to fill your stomach, only at RM20++! Entrance is free for the jam sessions.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up that phone and call 03-21428611 and book your seats! Or email them by clicking here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Welcome to a new member of the family...

Kayli Chan... our new miniature Schnauzer:

And of course, his HER older brother Sparky Chan (albeit a jealous one), a pariah.. but damn fine looking one too:

(he even refuses to look at me... hahaha.. )

Welcome to the family, Kayli Chan!!!

Post gig blues - II

OH man.. what a week it was again!!

This time it was preparing for the KL Hardbop Band show at the KL Performing Arts Centre recently on Thursday night! But I tell ya, I was so occupied with preparing for that show that I totally had no time to blog about it, nor send an email! My apologies to all, for making you miss an awesome show last night! LOL!

Anyway, I'll just tell you about it, since most of you missed it! All I can say was, the show was a success (thankfully!).

It was a rather stressful couple of weeks after coming back from Hong Kong, the following week was Happy People Quintet at Top Room, the week after that was the inaugural show for my own band under my name, Julian Chan Quintet (featuring Sharizan). It was stressful trying to cramp the preparations for those two gigs. Not forgetting to mention as well the EXTRANEOUS kinds of stress that came along outside the stage... *tsk tsk*

Then, last week was the Sunrise Jazz Festival with Sharizan and John Thomas' Funk Mob (read "Post gig blues"), and that was also a tiring one, five days (or NIGHTS, rather) of rehearsals of tough tunes. But at least I was playing my horn. The former gigs were basically consisting of me trying to arrange rehearsals and preparing charts.

And of course the whole of this week was preparing for The KL Hardbop Band @ KLPac, arranging rehearsals, preparing charts, dealing with difficult people. But thankfully with David Gomes' help with the band, I could concentrate on some other aspects as well. The show itself was da bomb!! The band played like there was no tomorrow, from Thomas Theseira on tenor, Eddie Wen on trumpet, Charles on drums, Vincent on bass, Junji on vocals, David on piano, and myself on alto!! We played a mix of tunes from the hardbop era (Yams, Stolen Moments, Jeannine, Recordame, and Bemsha Swing), vocals with Junji and David (A Lot of Livin' To Do, The Song Is You, Have You Met Ms Jones, Falling In Love With Love, and Save Your Love For Me), David's original tunes (Fire Within Water, Entry, Just Swinging, Just Around The Corner, encore Blues In Brazil and also to debut David's latest composition Home). Although the turnout wasn't as good as one would, but the music that was presented was probably something one would not normally expect in KL.

Well, again... my apologies for letting you miss a good show! LOL! But there'll be more, so do look out for it, yeah?

Anyway, the show's over... I feel like a heavy weight had been lifted off my back! After this weekend, I'm taking two weeks off from gigging!!

Oh one sad thing though: I lost my camera before the KLPac gig. I left it on the floor during rehearsals, and I guess someone took my RM1499 Panasonic Lumix camera... dammit!!! Sigh.. have to buy another one.. my earnings from the KLPac gig hilang, balls... DAMMIT!!! Me and my carelessness! Fark..

I need a vacation.. I can see it: Me, Myself and I, at Port Dickson, with my running shoes and kit, my bike, my swimming trunks and goggles, my horn, my keyboard and my Mac... just doing nothing but working out and practicing, eating and sleeping!

Wow.. soon... soon..

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Post-gig blues..


That was an intense week, I tell ya!

FIVE straight nights of rehearsals for the jazz fest gig.

The show went well.. it was unbelievably crowded. Probably the most crowded I've ever seen! Definitely fun. Sharizan's show was also a blast.. that fella has the stage energy of a race car! For some strange reason, he does bring a lot of energy to the band, and somehow makes the band kick it up a notch! An amazing entertainer, for one! The Funk Mob show was amazing too, I thought, although I could kick myself in the head for making so much mistakes! That one song we were doing, it took me so long to work it out, I still mucked up on stage.. hahaha.. damn! Oh well, for some strange reason, I knew it would happen.. not that I was subconsciously wishing it, but for tough songs like that, somehow it just does! Like a rite of fire if you will. After that, the song's in your fingers!

For those who came for the show, thanks! We hope you enjoyed it! Hope to see you at some of the other gigs (including mine, too! ;) )

By the way, I just wanna say THANKS to Edrian for the pictures you took with my camera.. lighting was a bit crazy wasn't it?

I was so konked out, I slept through most of Sunday.

Today, I still felt like I got hit by a truck.. had to go do a rehearsal for my KL Hardbop gig this afternoon with a heavy head.

Came back and slept some more. So much for trying to finish some work.. bahh..

I need a vacation.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gig updates: SUNRISE JAZZ & RHYTHM FEST 2006

Jazz and Rhythm Fest huh? hah.. whatever lah!

So, I'm playing for two bands (but technically the same band!), and only on the 5th of August, which is this weekend on Saturday night. So here it is:


Catch the irrepressible Sharizan, for a half-hour special at the Sunrise Jazz Fest 2006, together with his 4-pc band, Swing Inc, with Julian Chan on saxophones, John Thomas on drums, Tok Khon on keyboards, and Fly on bass.

Sharizan has just released his sophomore album as a jazz and swing artiste, TIMELESS, a live performance recording at Avanti's Italian-American Ristorante, featuring a stellar line-up of KL's best musicians (and one young upstart).

Copies of the album TIMELESS can be purchased at the Festival courtyard area.

Where? Plaza Mont Kiara fountainyard
What time? 8.30pm
When? 5th August 2006, Saturday
How much? Free

and for the next act...


Catch young drummer virtuoso JOHN THOMAS, in his debut as a leader in his own right, in this fresh new line-up of Fly on bass, Tok Khon on keyboards, Wan Zafuan aka "Gigi" on guitars, and Julian Chan on saxophones. In addition, The Funk Mob will feature guest vocalist Noryn Aziz! Also, prepare to hear a guest guitarist that will be jamming with us as well! For some powerhouse drumming, big phat grooves, and loads of killer improvisation, come on down!!

Where? Plaza Mont Kiara Fountainyard
When? 5th August 2006, Saturday
What time? 11pm
How much? Free lah...

Yeah, it's basically the same band.. just different music!

So come on down to the Sunrise Jazz Festival for some kick-butt music and entertainment!

Hope to see you there!