Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I'm crazy, sometimes.. that's what people say.

After my gig with Farid and Sheila De Niro on Saturday night, I only managed to get home and go to bed by 3am! And I'm scheduled to wake up in 3 hours, 'cos I've already arranged with the Pipot.com gang that we're doing a mini duathlon (bike 40km, run 6km) at Putrajaya at 7.30am!

I only managed to get up when Ajeep SMS-ed me, and that was around 7.30am. Ohhh mannn.. talk about trying to drag my fat a$$ off bed! Wierd enough, I think I was dreaming about the mini duathlon while I was asleep. So after I woke up, I replied Ajeep, initially thinking of skipping the training. But then I couldn't really sleep already, so I then replied and said that I was gonna head over. But after several minutes of non-reply, I think they would've already started.

So I got up, freshened and packed my bike stuff and my shoes, etc. Had two slices of bread and peanut butter, filled water, and then hastily left the house for Putrajaya. It was also supposed to be a pot luck thing after the race, but I didn't have time to prepare, so I brought some kacang and bought 100Plus along the way to Putrajaya.

I was right, they have already left and started out. Anyhow, not wanting to back out, I just set up my bike and everything and just cycled and HOPED I could somehow manage to catch up with them. The route takes me from the Precinct 1 Info Centre to Taman Warisan and then out to Precinct 2 to the Putrajaya Int' Convention Centre (PICC). I rode around the PICC and back into the long stretch of road that is the heart of Precinct 2. Believe it or not, I actually managed to catch up with the rest of the Pipot gang!! But alas, it was their SECOND round already! So I decided on not going the second 20km round, and just cut straight to the run once we get back to our cars.

Those present in the Pipot gang were of course, Pipot-PowerBar-Zebralini-man himself - Azwar, Ajeep (who organized the whole event), Tank (with his new second hand Sora gear shifters), Faie (newcomer to multisport events like me), Zailan, and Bacin.

It took me about 55 minutes to ride 20km. We got off our bikes back at the Info Centre, mounted our bikes up the car, wore our running shoes, posed a few pictures, nature's call, and then off we ran to the Precinct 1 loop (which is about 3km per loop). Since I skipped one round of the bike, I told myself I will run both 3km loops. Some of the other fellas only did one round, I think the 40k did them in, but it's good enough an excuse. Damn malu, man, if I were to do only one 3km round! Anyway, the 6km run took me about 48 minutes. Not very fast, but I didn't run for almost a week (bike even longer!), so I just took it easy. Didn't wanna end up killing myself here.

Did you guys read about the kid who was biking heading to Sg. Buloh who died while riding? Apparently he was doing some other intense workouts before the night bike ride, and I think his heart couldn't take it. Poor fella. But it definitely serves as a warning sign to us amateur athletes, to be careful about training and not overdo it.

I'm psyched about KLIM next week. I wouldn't say I trained that great for the 21K, so I think I'll just enjoy the race, like I've said before.

Any of you guys doin' it? See ya there!

By the way, you can see loads of pics at the Pipot website, check it out!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

GIG SPECIAL: Global Spirit Quintet @ KLPAC *MUST WATCH*

UPDATE: The gig schedule date has changed from 3 - 5 March, to 16 - 18 March 2005.

However, some good has come from this reshuffle, Greg has managed to get his A-team to play for these dates - the original line-up of Global Spirit.

So here it is, plus a few date changes:


The jazz quintet, Global Spirit, embodies the point at which the music of four countries meets. The language of jazz improvisation provides a sufficiently malleable art-form that can be used to communicate between musicians from vastly different backgrounds. These different but related styles unify into a collective voice that homogenises the otherwise dissimilar compositions of the ensemble's members create a unique blend of European and Asian expression.

The quintet is led by British saxophonist/composer Greg Lyons whose own background in Europe and America has produced a style derived from a combination of the 1970's jazz-rock scene, blended with contemporary bebop and then heavily influenced by Brazilian and Cuban music. More recently, his presence in Asia has infused his music with a new flavour and created a wholly personal take on world music witha hard-edged improvisational angle.

Add the phenomenal Finnish pianist/composer Jarmo Savolainen, whose dark modal style reflects his embrace of the most contemporary of US styles with a large dose of Scandivanian coolness. Jarmo spends much of his time in New York playing and recording with the cream of the contemporary jazz scene, and has also lately been touring frequently in Latin America.

British trumpeter Damon Brown has spent most of his life making a name for himself in the European jazz circuit. His playing reflects a debt to the great bebop trumpet players, but his bag of tricks belies knowledge of diverse styling from reggae to free-jazz. His compositions reflect a mix of hard-bop and modal.

Then consider the inclusion of Malaysian percussion master Lewis Pragasam, a highly regarded drummer and educator whose style displays the virtuosity and discipline of the Indian classical tradition as well as the freedom of modern jazz. He brings to the ensemble an incredible arsenal of polyrhythmic dexterity that feeds and builds the group’s improvisations to dramatic effect

The pulse of the band is with Californian bassist Christy Smith, representing the continents of both America and Africa. His incredible diversity as a musician is utilised here within the broad stylistic compass of this ensemble. His solid underpinnings are the perfect foil for the fervent polyrhythms of Pragasam and the two provide an intense and inspiring platform for the others.

When all five members of the quintet come together, it will definitely be quite a performance unlike any others.

Master Class with Global Spirit
18th March 3.00pm
Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre

Whether you’re a student of the art of jazz improvisation or just inquisitive about the processes that go into a jazz performance, then don’t miss this chance to hang out with some of the most accomplished contemporary jazz performers on the planet.

We will be conducting a two-hour master class involving the whole group where we will explain our viewpoints on what makes the music happen. This will be a chance for budding players to join the band on-stage to get an assessment of their musical prospects and to get a feel for what a great jazz group might feel like.

For those of you who caught Damon in KL or Singapore last April, and for those who witnessed my quartet with Jarmo 5 years back, the quality of what’s on offer is clear.

This is the most exciting and cutting-edge improvised music you will hear in a very long time!

Duration : 16 - 18 March 2006
Venue : Pentas 2
Price : RM50 (50% discount for students, the disabled & senior citizens)
Presenter :
Greg Lyons and KLPac

The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre
Sentul Park
Jalan Strachan
Off Jalan Ipoh
51100 Kuala Lumpur

Image hosting by Photobucket

General Line: 03-4047 9011

Box Office: KLPac 03-4047 9000 /
tickets@klpac.com or The Actors Studio 03-2094 9400 / ticket@theactorsstudio.com.my

More info, music and pictures at http://www.greglyons.net/

The Global Spirit Asian Tour is proudly sponsored by

For more information, please contact Greg Lyons at overtone@streamyx.com

Pictures and show synopsis courtesy of Greg Lyons and KLPAC

Gig update: Farid Ali Quartet featuring Sheila De Niro

Alexis Bistro Ampang, 24th and 25th February 2006

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Farid Ali aka Mr. Gambus is back at Alexis with a quartet. A gifted musician, innovator & jazz guitarist, Farid also devotes himself to the gambus and has since performed at concerts and festivals in Finland, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and this August to a tour of South Africa. Farid has since recorded his critically acclaimed debut CD entitled "Turning Point".

This weekend Farid will be accompanied by the gifted Singaporean Sheila de Niro. Sheila has been wowing audiences around Asia with her stunning classic melodic voice since the late 80's. She has represented Singapore in many international song contests and was recently invited to perform at the Asian Film Award. Sheila is also an accomplished lyricist.

Book your seats now! Experience Farid & Sheila’s first live performance together in Malaysia.

Date: 24th and 25th February 2006 (Friday and Saturday)

Admission is free.

Show starts at 10.30pm. The basement car park closes at 2am.

For more information, please check
www.alexis.com.my / call 03 4260 2288
or email

Alexis Bistro Ampang
Great Eastern Mall
303 Jalan Ampang
Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Updated gig list and more..

Hey all,

I have just updated my gig list on the Upcoming Performances section. I've also added a new section, Other Jazz Gigs. It's basically an addendum to my own gigs, and I'll list in some shows that are happening in and around town, which I think will be worth checking out! Those marked with *SPECIAL* are real special shows to check out, basically shows you must NOT miss, as you might not get to see them that often!

I'll be posting more details about those gigs at least a week or so before the gig when I get more info! So keep on tuning in to the blog to check out some more gig dates!

Special thanks to Eugene and Brian of www.alldatjazz.com for the contribution of online jazz news!

Monday, February 20, 2006

What a weekend!!!!

Whoah, as I'm typing this, I'm reeling from this past weekend. To say the least, I think it was a real good one for me! I'll list them down and write about it:

1. Met a new friend

His name is David Muehsam. If you Google him, you'll find out he's a Yoga teacher, a very high level one. And he's a saxophone player. Thanks to a mutual friend, I got to hook up with him, as he was looking to meet up with some sax players in town. We had lunch, talked quite a bit, and we jammed a bit at his apartment. He had his tenor with him, and I got my alto, and we traded solos and stuff. Man, it's so refreshing to hear someone play, whose musical information and ideas come from the SOURCE, namely the jazz capital of the world, NEW YORK! But also, his musical inspiration and knowledge comes from those who grew up in the source of jazz music, Yusef Lateef. Whoah. Anyway, this cat is awesome, and he is such a real cool cat, just so generous with his knowledge. He just tells me stuff I should work on and things like that. I'm getting really inspired to practice more now. I hope to hook up with him more for these couple of weeks, while he's here. He'll be travelling some more to Shanghai and other countries to train Yoga teachers.

2. Gig mania - The Happy People Quintet and The JJ Jazz Ensemble

The Happy People Quintet:

I spent a lot of time the week before the gig just typing in charts in Finale 2005, one new song and several older songs. Working on Chick Corea's Blue Miles was a slight technical challenge. I was fighting with my saxophone (which isn't 100% well set up), as well as trying to get my rhythmic shit together!

I roped in a newcomer to play piano and keys for us, while Justin's out of the country. His name's Leonard, and he was formerly playing nightly at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel lobby lounge (Thank God he got out of that hell hole!). We rehearsed for two nights, although the first night was just me, Leonard and AJ (the rest couldn't make it). The second night rehearsal, was rather long, but quite fun. We rehearsed from 10pm to about 3am. We managed to run through and work out all the songs in one night.

I woke up rather late in the afternoon feeling like shit. One is never used to sleeping so late, after a tiring rehearsal, and expect to wake up feeling all rosy! But I pulled myself together, and made sure I do good for the gig, play the best I can. Meanwhile, at Avanti's in Sunway Hotel, we did the usual soundcheck, buffet dinner, relax in the room, get ready and do the gig.

There was quite a number of people that night. I only hoped they would stay at least ONE set of the show. The first set was quite awesome actually, we played our old songs like Early A.M Attitude, Not You Again, Song For DiFang, and Quiet Afternoon. To my surprised, people actually liked some of the stuff we did, based on their responses after we finished each song! Wow.. I surely didn't expect that. To quote Paul Augustin, when I told him about it, "Oh ye of little faith!". The second set was also quite nice, we started off with Blue Miles which had a nice band ending melody which is two choruses long, which really featured the entire band at its best. It was from Chick's Elektric Band II album, Paint The World, check it out! We also did Freedomland, and Mercy Mercy Mercy, a Joe Zawinul tune which Justin re-arranged really nicely. After that, I invited my new friend, David Muehsam to jam with us one two tunes: Wayne Shorter's Footprints, and also a nasty 6/8 version of Summertime. We ended the last set with our theme song, Kenny Garrett's Happy People.

My personal comments on the gig:

1. Leonard did really good, more than I had expected. He definitely played with some fire. The chemistry was still different, but he definitely showed his stuff.

2. The chemistry with the existing members was somehow renewed, it had that feeling. It felt really good to play with them again, with AJ, Charles, and Eddie. (Don't worry Justin, we still miss you lots! Your jazz shoes are hard to fill!). Although Eddie was tired even before the first set was over, he played with some fire, and the chemistry both of us have as horn players were apparent, especially during some parts where we traded solos, and had musical conversations we had with each other.

I had doubts of ever continuing with the band after this gig, but those doubts were undoubtedly doused! But also, after careful consideration, I think I want to keep this band running, also for the fact that I want to make it ONE of my projects. I intend to do other projects, other bands, but the musical focus will be different. When I get it up and ready, I'll let you know when we're playing!

The JJ Jazz Ensemble:

This was a last minute arrangement from Joseph with Avanti's. It's one of his loved projects, doing musical experimentations. This time he roped in a musical veteran, Ooi Eow Jin, to play vibraphone, or vibes with the band! Now that's something rather rare, one would hardly see anyone play it, if at all! Apparently he used to play them!

Anyway, I spent the night at the Sunway Tower Hotel (the cheaper one, but still nice), but couldn't wake up to do a run, I was quite flat out from last night's gig! Reeling, in a good way! I left at around 12pm as I had to teach a student. Went home, napped some more and headed to Avanti's at around 5pm. After running through a few tunes, we headed off to the Sunway Hotel Towers again.. the usual, room and buffet dinner. I didn't eat that much this time around, I just couldn't!

There was a LOT of people that turned up for this show! From students to diners. It was quite...exciting. A lot of nice looking gals too, and some of them were soundcrews for the show, students of Joseph, Chan, and even Juan Pablo. Anyway, the cats that played that night were myself on alto and tenor saxes, Joseph Arnesto on double bass, Chan CJ on piano, Prof. Ooi Eow Jin on vibes, Alex Douglas on flute and alto sax, Juan Pablo on acoustic guitar (and composer for some of the tunes), student Hock Chuan on harmonica, Martin Ngim, Moon and Ah Keong aka Gerald on drums and percussions. Quite a big band there. We did a whole spectrum of music, from latin, brazilian, swing (Prof Ooi's set), Chinese rhythms, and more. It was quite a crazy night! But the gig was awesome, and the response was great!

There you have it... two great nights of continuous good music and good gigs!!

Here's a prelude: The JJ Jazz Ensemble will be performing at Avanti's again on the 3rd of March.

3. A good LONG run!

I couldn't wake up this morning for nuts!!!!!!!!!! I was so flat out, I actually slept for TEN whole hours! So much for waking up early to run at the Lake Gardens.

But I managed to get an opportunity anyhow. I sent my Yamaha S08 to David Gomes in Bangsar for a church event. So I went for my long run anyway. I did the double hill route, from Bukit Aman to Bukit Tunku and out through Tugu Negara back to Bukit Aman. I think it was 10.8km, a very TOUGH 10.8km. I managed to do it in a measly 1:26, which is okay, for training purposes. I didn't want to push myself like it was a race.

Some stats:

Distance: 10.8km
Time: 1 hr 26 minutes
Average HR: 157 bpm
Max HR: 174 bpm (I'm fat.. so sue me!)

My preparation for KLIM isn't as great as I wanted it to be. But I still am quite hyped to do the 21K. And I intend to have fun doing it, whether or not I will PR (of course, I hope I can PR lerrr!).

Ahhhh... what a weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gig update: Happy People Quintet back again.. and more!

Hey everyone, again, I apologize for such late notice, but I hope you could still make it anyway! I'll be playing at Avanti's Restaurant in Sunway Resort Hotel tomorrow night and Saturday night. To say no more, here are the details:

17 February - Friday


We're back! It's been almost a year since this band has played. The line-up has changed a bit, as our previous piano player, Justin (sorely missed and irreplaceable!) is in the US of A studying his Masters in composition. For now, we've got newcomer Leonard Yeap on piano and keys joining us. We'll be playing a variety of contemporary jazz tunes, ranging from Kenny Garrett, Bob Mintzer, Yellowjackets, John Scofield, Chick Corea, and even one original tune of ours (composed by Justin, really!).

The Happy People Quintet is:

Julian Chan - saxophones, flute
Eddie Wen - trumpet, flugelhorn
Charles Wong- drums
Nazrin "AJ" - electric bass

and introducing Leonard Yeap - piano/keyboards.

Venue: Avanti's Italian-American Restaurant, Sunway Hotel and Resort, Sunway.
Time: Music starts 9:30pm
Admission: Free entrance (but probably have to buy drinks)
Reservations: Call 03-7492 8000 ext. 3176

18 February - Saturday


The JJ Jazz Ensemble is formed by two amazing musicians, Chan Cheong Jan (piano) and Joseph Arnesto (double bass), as a special project together. Experimentation and improvisation is the focus of their music, merging different musical influences, from Chinese, Brazilian, Latin, as well as other Western grooves, from funk to swing.

This show will feature several soloists (including myself), in several segments, and includes special guest Prof. Ooi Eow Jin on vibes! There'll be a woodwind section, including saxophones, flute, and even harmonica.

Expect nothing short of great music, so make yourself available and check out this awesome band!

Venue: Avanti's Italian-American Restaurant
Time: 9.30pm
Admission: Free
Reservations: Call 03-7492 8000 ext. 3176

I hope I can see you there!


For more info, please contact me by email: jcsax78@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Hulu Langat weekend adventure..

The last time I rode my bike was about almost two weeks ago, and that it was also a fairly short ride, about 25km or so. So I decided to ride today and get my ass moving, and I also need to lose some weight from CNY eating!!!

This time, instead of starting from Batu 14, Hulu Langat, I decided on starting from the Sg. Tekala rest stop instead, since I live nearer towards Semenyih side. I got to Sg. Tekala, and parked my car, took out my bike and geared up. There were several cyclists there taking a break. I bid my hellos to them and headed off left towards Nirvana Memorial park and double back for a 6km flat warm-up.

Hills.. hills.. hills!!

After about a kilometre or so is the dreaded 500m steep uphill from the power controller (I think it's a power controller station, but I'm not sure, as I'm usually to huff-n-puff to notice as I'm trying to climb!). After making thru that one, I passed the lake and the dam and a couple of uphills until I reached the Kota Klawang-Batu 18 junction. I decided to try going up to Kota Klawang, but after finding out it's another crazy uphill, I decided against going up yet. So I reversed and rested at the junction.

Flat number one..

Before I knew it, I noticed my rear tyre was flat! BUGGER! So I had to sit down and replace the tube. As usual, it's caused by some small piece of gravel that got through the tyre. While I was doing that, 3 weekend riders (from PCC) passed me by, and stopped by to see if I was okay.

During that short period, I think I forgot how to change a flat! I didn't know why I had some difficulty in doing it... didn't do it for so long. Anyway, those guys kept me company until I managed to change the tube. I also used up one CO2 cartridge to pump air quickly into the tyre.

Flat number two..

As it was getting warmer, I decided on the easier route option. I decided to go into Sg. Lui instead and then turn back to go back to Sg. Tekala. After about 6km I turned back (getting too much into the sun wasn't a pleasant idea at the time, and I was alone, too!), and the next thing I knew, I had another FLAT! ^%(&$#*!!! I was lucky in one way that, just a few metres where I alighted from my bike, was a small little sundry shop with shaded seating table area! So I walked there, said hi to the nice Malay lady who owned the shop, and asked if I could sit and replace my tyre tubes. She said OK, so I did. Her kids were around watching me with interest while I was replacing those tubes.

By the way, I wasted one Vittoria tube on the first flat, and what a waste it was. It's slightly more expensive than the Taiwan-made tube, and it was supposed to be a little tougher. But I checked the TYRE itself, I found that there are several spots where gravel, and maybe glass might have embedded itself in the tyre's outer layer. Looks like I might have to get new tyres too.. bugger.

I decided against using the CO2 as I didn't want to waste it in this particular instance. I also think I may have overpumped the tyre the first time with too much pressure, maybe? So I used the handpump to try to pump it to whatever pressure my arms could take! It's one thing to pump tyres with floor pumps, it's another with handpumps! Anyway, after I was done with changing tubes, I "donated" my used tyre to the Malay kid who was fascinated with it.. hehehehe. I hastily went on my way (it was getting a fair bit sunny) and prayed that my tyre will not give out halfway!

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Wow, it was really sunny, and with no surprise, it was 11-something in the morning. I went back the same way I came, to head back to Sg. Tekala. Thankfully, the hills heading that direction weren't as tough. The first long uphill I negotiated earlier when I started, becomes a really nice downhill, and I was having a ball of a time just cruising down that hill at 60km/h!

When I got back to the Sg. Tekala parking area, the small stalls selling food and drinks were already opened, welcoming weekend visitors to its lovely, but terribly crowded waterfalls. Being grateful the (Wo)Man Upstairs, I packed my bike in the car, and got myself a nice coconut drink, water, and fruits to consume as after-workout replenishment!

Good workout!

I guess I had a good workout. It wasn't as long as I intended, but I guess it can't be helped. It's no fun getting flats during rides like this. Not to mention blowing cash on tyres and tubes. Hopefully in my next Hulu Langat weekend ride, I could cover a little more distance, and also explore the Kuala Klawang side. Seems quite tempting to check out!

Till the next ride!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sick shmick..

It all started out last week, the night before my gig with my sifu Greg Lyons at Alexis, with his Pocket Band. Started out with a nice little sore throat, and then that slight lethargic feeling that takes over your body when you know you're coming down with something. Might have affected my playing last weekend (not to mention the lack of practice!).

So here I am, with a nice little sore throat, my lungs clogged with phlegm and coughing my way to kingdom come. Doesn't help that on top of that, the weather's burning hot all day. So I've been home a lot the last couple of weeks, and not even training. And I get tired a little faster than usual. I hope it'll pass soon enough.

Highlight of the day: Took my dog out with me for a 30-minute run around my area. Oh did I mention, my taman is around a hill area, and the whole area where my place is is situated on slopes. So it's quite undulating. Man, I thought KLCC park was bad... but, there could be good in this. Got some slight hill training, maybe.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Gig update - Feb 2006

I've updated the gig updates for February and March (and more on the way, hopefully!), in the Upcoming Performances section, so have a look at it, and hopefully I'll get to see some of you guys at the gigs!

I know it's a little late, but here's something for the weekend:

THE GREG LYONS' POCKET BAND - February 3rd and 4th (Friday and Saturday)

Venue: Alexis Bistro, Great Eastern Mall Ampang

Announcing a new direction in Greg Lyons' music as he goes back to his groove roots while introducing new ideas for improvising using jazz mixed with dance music. Hard hitting grooves with great solos by the young guns of South East Asia with support from the masters of groove themselves in the form of Lewis Pragasam and Andy Peterson. Expect - as always - no compromise from Lyons on the standard of performance, with maximum toe-tap-potential, great songs, and intense improvisation.

Greg Lyons - saxes
Chok Kerong - keyboards
Syam Swardy - guitar
Lewis Pragasam - drums
Andy Peterson - electric bass

Admission is free. Show starts at 10.30pm

For more information, check out
http://www.alexis.com.my/, call 4260 2288 or email info@alexis.com.my