Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I can't believe it.. the hell can Spain lose to France???

Sigh, and I was so hoping that Spain will kick the crap out of France, and it turns out it was vice versa. All the teams I pitched for (the underdog teams anyway), save Brazil, Argentina, and Germany, all lost. AHaha..

But then, France played well last night. I didn't like them at first because of the way they played during the earlier, first few matches. But I guess they've proved the mettle this time around. Good for them.

Heck, the Spain v. France game was more interesting than the Brazil v. Ghana one.. go figure! But we're definitely happy, anyway. We win some, and lose some!

Monday, June 26, 2006

World Cup feverrrr... uurgghh...

Man, this World Cup is really taking a toll on me. I wonder how many people take leave, MC, whatever, from work to try to survive watching the games, that last until 5am!! Although I didn't catch all the games, but trying to stay up so late to watch whatever games I watched is already affecting me. Feels like my entire sphere of living has screwed upside down!

I'm just gonna skip some of the games to sleep tonight.. even blogging seems like dragging a 2-tonne truck..

I have nothing to write.. head so empty..bugger!

Need sleep!


PS: I hope Brasil, Argentina will make it to the finals! Germany would be a good bet too.... whatdya think???


Just watched Fahrenheit 9/11 on HBO by Michael Moore... talked about Bush's campaign over Iraq, post 9/11, and how manipulated the American citizens into taking control of Iraq, What an inciteful movie, but despite Michael's humorous outtake of the situation, he also highlighted the pain of those who have suffered because of Bush's action. And Michael filmed their pain in plain sight.. no acting, and no gimmick. I pity them. Suffering because of their President's lust for power and money.

Another update:

This is what happens when you blog when your head is stuffed... check out for a review by writer Zalina Lee, of the Top Room, and two of the acts she's seen, John Thomas and Friends, and our own KL Hardbop Quintet.

Thanks Zalina for the great review! Thanks for dropping by and checking out the place!

Read the full article here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The KL Music Festival (1 - 5 July)

Hey all,

Sorry for the lack of updates of late. But here's one nice big show you wouldn't want to miss:


I won't write much about it, all you have to do is click on the picture to go to the website that has that information (courtesy of All Dat Jazz!).

But I'll be playing in this festival that will be held at Istana Budaya, with the David Gomes Sextet.

For the first time, you'll be hearing David Gomes' music... yes, ORIGINAL music! Get ready for some explosive Malaysian-made jazz from KL's foremost premier pianist (and vocalist as well)!! He'll be backed by some of Malaysia's veteran musicians and a few young upstarts in the music industry:

The David Gomes Sextet are:

David Gomes - piano
Julian Chan - alto saxophone
Thomas Theseira - tenor saxophone
Eddie Wen - trumpet/flugelhorn
Charles Wong - drums
Vincent Ong - double bass

Here are some details for the KL Music Festival:

Date : 5 July 2006 (Jazz night)
Venue : Istana Budaya, Jln Tun Razak
Tickets : RM60, 30, 20. RM10 for students
Contact : The tickets are available at the Istana Budaya Box Office from the 16th of June (Tel: 03-4026 5558), for online bookings go to or call 03-7710 0211.

Some other acts for the night include The Mr. Gambus Band with Chie Hanawa, Australian acapella group Idea Of North, and the KLMF Jazz Selection (Steve Thornton, Mac Chew, Andy Petersen, and Zahid Ahmad).


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Last minute gig update: Julian & Ireson @ No Black Tie

Got a call yesterday to play with Singapore-based jazz-latino group Ireson today (Thursday) at No Black Tie. We'll be playing a lot of material from the South Americas fused with jazz influences.

The band line-up is Mario on bass, Alina on piano, Alonso on percussions, Marcella on vocals, and myself on tenor sax. Come check it out.

Where? No Black Tie, 17, Lorong Mesui, Off Jalan Nagasari, Off Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
When? Tonight, Thursday 10pm
How much? RM20 (no drinks)


Okay, so it wasn't a show, as some of you might have figured out by now. Turned out to be a Heineken Music private party. Go figure. But the gig turned out pretty nice and exciting for me, actually. Sort of put my sight-reading skills to the test! We only rehearsed this afternoon and did the gig a few hours later. And being Latin music, not exactly my forte, it was an extra challenge for me. Of course, I botched up a couple of parts and notes, but generally it was okay.. could've done better.

Went to watch the remainder of the England v Trinidad and Tobaga match. I only arrived close to 15 minutes before the game ends, and the moment I arrived at the mamak to meet with Eddie, England scored their first goal, and a few minutes later, their second! Good going, ye ol' mates! Well, looks like we're all looking forward to see England play the next round! It'll be nice to see if they can make it all the way to the semi-finals at least!

Viva World CUP!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

OOHH MYY GAAWDD... World Cup Fever! (say that in a typical Chinese in US slang ala Russell Peters)

I can't believe I spent the whole day AND night out yesterday...

Went to my piano player, Justin's, place (with Eddie) to meet for lunch and some music. We hung out, makan-ed, checked out some music DVDs, listened to some stuff and talked about some music. Something I bet not a lot of musicians (or at least the young'uns.. not to say I'm that old, mind you) do these days. But anyway, it was good to hang out like that once a while, enjoy something we have a mutual interest for...

Later, we waited for Eddie while he was doing a trumpet recording for Reshmonu's new album, and we headed off to the mamak joint near Eddie's place for dinner and World Cup! It was the SOUTH KOREA v TOGA TOGO match.. a very good one, with Korea beating Toga Togo 2-1. Thanks for the corrections, Tank!

Then it was meeting John Thomas at Centerpoint for the second match (after we sent Justin home)... FRANCE v SWITZERLAND. OH MY GAWD, that was a bloody awful game to watch. Our maggi goreng was obviously more interesting than that stupid game! No one scored, and France played like sissies. Eshhh.. to paraphrase George Michael in his WHAM! days.. wake me up, before you goal, goal...

And of course... the main match to watch for the night.. BRAZIL v CROATIA! Now THAT game was a delight to watch from kick-off! Everyone played like there was no tomorrow, and both teams gave a super good fight, with Kaka (from Brazil) only scoring their single (but winning) goal, of 1-0. Good game.. good game..

And there I was driving home with my eyes half open.. oh boy..

Oh by the way, did I mention I only reached home a quarter to six in the morning???

Monday, June 12, 2006

Last week.. a recap..

It was a rather filled-up week, full of activities for me! Unfortunately, none of it includes practicing on my horn! Well, I did some, just not enough. I'm working on Charlie Parker's solo on Confirmation and I've got the first chorus down.. after god knows how many weeks! But anyway, as I'm writing, my eyes are tearing up.. not enough sleep. What do you expect???

WORLD CUP FEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah yeah.. I know! For those who know me well, they'll attest that I'm the LAST football fan on this planet. But I only make one exception.. WORLD CUP! Don't ask me why.. I find it puzzling too! I actually enjoy watching two different countries battling it out for this Cup. It's probably the Holy Grail for all we know! But think of it.. it really does bring the whole world together. And I find it a rather touching sentiment... it seems to have some sort of power, so you could say I'm attracted by that. But anyway, other than watching the matches, here's what I did this week, in short (too lazy and sleepy to type out in detail, sorry mates!):

Monday 5 June:

Taught the whole day... 6 students.. ended up back home at almost 12am, my last student at 9pm (but ended up chatting until 11-something). Doesn't take one day to drain my brain..

Tuesday 6 June:

Rehearsal for Sharizan's album launch and Friday Nite Jazz show at Avanti's.

Wednesday 7 June:

Sharizan's new album "Timeless" was launched on this day at Avanti's Restaurant Sunway. You can get them on CD at leading music stores in town. I'm playing in it as well, so you can check it out, too. I didn't think I played particularly good in it, but alas, all the mistakes are there for you to hear! Anyway, in the album the line up consist of Sharizan Borhan on vocals, David Yee on electric bass, Zahid Ahmad on drums, Suflan on piano, and myself on alto saxophone.

The album launch went very well. We played about five songs, and the line-up was the same, except Fly who replaced on the double bass.

Went for a nice run after that.. can read about that

Thursday 8 June:

Met up with the ol' IRC chatgroup #gossip gathering, which of course, have evolved into a more personal friendship than just a chatgroup meet-up. So there was me, Yvonne, Jonathan, Alex, and Martin (who we haven't seen for a long time, almost 3 years). It was almost a year since we last met, and ironically enough, it was ALSO at Paddington's Pancakes at The Curve.

It was a rather motley group meet-up, come to think of it, with each of us with TOTALLY different careers: a musician, a graphic designer, a banker, a lawyer, and an IT engineer. What was more ironic was I got introduced to this group through another friend, but somehow just got into this group. Oh well..

It went well. You can read about it with pictures on Yvonne's
blog and Jon's blog. Enjoy..

After that, I went to the Laundry Bar (which was literally just around the corner) to do soundcheck and rehearsal for Mia Palencia's show there. The Laundry Bar has a Jazz Nite on each FIRST Thursdays of the month. So Mia is the first act to kick off for the month of June. There was me on saxophone, Fly on bass, John Thomas on drums, and Eric Li on keyboards.. powerhouse group!!

Went to Fitness First next door for a nice but easy workout!

Played the gig at Laundry Bar. Didn't expect to be playing hard at the gig, but looks like we did. We played a mix of jazz standards as well as modern R&B tunes. Turnout was quite good. It was a party-ish vibe though, definitely not a serious joint for jazz.

Went home and straight to bed.. was flat-out.

Friday 9 June:

Went to Avanti's to do Sharizan's show at Avanti's Friday Nite Jazz. It had me, John, Fly and Suflan backing him up.

WORLD CUP FIRST MATCH!! Germany beats Costa Ric 4-2!

Went all da way to meet up Eddie at the Taman Desa mamak restaurant to watch the Ecuador - Poland match, Ecuador won by 2-0. Not bad for a debut game at the WC for Ecuador! Went bac to the hotel at about 5.30am!

Saturday 10 June:

Came home to check my emails only to find this:

From: Artists Collective
Subject: Jackie McLean

Hello Julian, I am Jackie McLean's daughter Melonae'. I am communicating with you from the Artists Collective in Hartford, Connecticut. It is a cultural arts program founded by my dad 35 years ago (for inner city youth).I saw the blog you did on my dad and I loved it. My father would have loved you. When you come to the states please plan on visiting us and talking to thekids in our youth jazz orchestra and the rest of our programs.

Thank you for something we will treasure forever!

Check out our website

About 2 months ago, I wrote an eulogy to the late Jackie McLean who passed away on 31 March. An awesome sax player, jazz musician, and jazz educator. This was an email from Jackie's daughter Melonae... whom Jackie had written a lot beautiful tunes for!

Thanks Melonae for writing in.. you have no idea how much this means to me!

Went club-hopping at night with Brian from AllDatJazz.Com. We checked out Greg's band at Mezzanotte, Jamie Wilson's Blues Band at No Black Tie, and went to see Farid Ali's Gambus Goes Straightahead at The Top Room. We only managed to catch the first two, by the time we got out of NBT, Farid's show had already finished!

Well, that's all folks.

Now, my bed beckons..

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New look..

Went to the salon today.. so I got a new look. Well, more like HAD to.. I trimmed my hair a bit shorter last week (ie. first haircut). It was okay...

.. for the first week..

.. and the second week, it was like almost out of control. Couldn't style it properly, and it's not even enough to be kept long at the moment. So I went to get another haircut... again (ie. second haircut)! Sigh... bugger, talk about using money. Not that I'm getting richer, mind you. So here it is.. (to the delight of some who keeps complaining I don't look good in long hair).

Before (taken in Shenzhen... before first haircut.. and fatter from the eating!)...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

...after second haircut (after dieting and some exercise, I think)!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sigh, oh well.. it definitely looks better for the moment.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The week that was..

"Haiyahhh.. gig updates only ah?? Nothing else to say ahhh.. why so boring wan..???"

That's probably what some of you might be thinking when checking into my blog these days, right? LOL. I don't blame ya...

My sincere apologies lah! It's been a busy couple of weeks for me, and I'm glad that is so. It means I'm working a lot (and getting money too, darn i!). And there are times, I do have nothing to write... or it's too mundane to write. But anyway, in light of that, I'll just update some shorties of the past week, and I got some stuff I do wanna talk about. So here it is!

Isyam's married!!

Isyam, the guitar player, is married! Woo hoo! Congratulations, ol' boy and to your new wife, Nana! We're so happy for ya! Me and Eddie went to his afternoon wedding reception yesterday in Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras. Met up with AJ there as well. We were sorta the last ones to get there, but there was some food left, some nice briyani rice, dhall and acar.

It was beautiful.. congrats again you two!

Gomez et Gomes @ Top Room

It was the duet of the Gomez/s's!!! The David Gomes Quartet featuring Maria Gomez, whom after a 2 year hiatus from singing, graced the Top Room stage just last weekend. The Quartet was David on piano and vocals, moi on saxophone, Vincent Ong on double bass, and Yaakob on drums.

The music played were some standards such as My Funny Valentine, Honeysuckle Rose, and some others. The "arrangements" were pretty much done almost on the fly, and a lot of the time, we kept our ears and eyes opened to see what happens next! Well, almost.. I was closing my eyes during my solos.. maybe I should open them a little sometimes! Ahaha. We also did some of David's original tunes, and called some jazz tunes on the spot. Friday night was a bit of a bummer for me, I was quite tired, so I didn't think I was playing that well. Saturday night was definitely much better (I squeezed a 20+ minute run before heading off to the gig.. felt so much better).

Well, Farid Ali aka Mr. Gambus will be performing with David Gomes in a special edition of GAMBUS GOES STRAIGHTAHEAD at the Top Room. So go down and check it out.

Now... the main feature:


I know it's a bit old news, but after a good gig (it was for me.. but I think it definitely was!), I sometimes discover new things and have certain epiphanies. This was one of them. I hadn't thought about it, or rather it didn't occur to me until I started hearing some feedback from people who came to the Hardbop gig last week. In the light of sounding a bit proud, and I'm not trying to.. but I think we made some musical history in Malaysia last weekend. We played music... jazz music... from songbooks that NO ONE in Malaysian jazz history has ever played. Music from Jackie McLean, Cannonball Adderley, Art Blakey, and more.

Not only that, the music was so intense, and the band played SO intensely, it almost felt like the spirit of jazz legends were behind us playing THROUGH us! I have not felt something like this in such a long time.. the rush was so intense, I can't explain it in words! The synergy in the band was so strong, and it was quite obvious that there was great respect for the music and the jazz musicians themselves (dead or alive). Everyone played like there was no tomorrow! We played the blues, man...!!

Few of the highlights included performing some of David's original compositions, such as Just Swinging, Fire Within Water, as well as performing pieces from Art Blakey (Moanin'), Jackie McLean (Blues in A Jiff, Yams by Herbie Hancock), Joe Henderson (Recordame), the Cannonball Adderley songbook (Jeannine, Unit Seven), Thelonius Monk (Rhythm-A-Ning, Bemsha Swing), and more.

Here are some comments we got:

" doesn't get any better than this!"

"...didn't expect to come to Malaysia and hear and see high class jazz.."

There was even a South African ambassador and a reporter from one of their papers (who were probably attending the NAM Conference, I think!) who came to the gig and walked out so happy! We shook hands and stuff..

We'll be back!

Nice dinner gathering..

As I'm finishing up this post, I had just came back from a nice dinner gathering at Eddie's dad's restaurant at Sec. 5 PJ. It was wonderful. Those who came were Greg and wife, Vincent and wife, Pek Fui, Eddie, and Justin (who had just returned from the US). Over deliciously-cooked MALAYSIAN CHINESE food, stories were traded, talked about a variety of things... including the funny subject of faeces... and of course, it was like a reunion, like we didn't see each other in a long time.

Long time didn't hang out... it was nice!

Well, that's all folks. I'm off to bed.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gig Update: The David Gomes Quartet feat. Maria Gomez

The month of May ended on a bright & merry note at The Top Room with The KL Hardbop Band and plans are already underway for a repeat performance a couple of months down the line. If you missed last weekend's performance cos of the heavy rains, make sure you watch this space for future announcements of their next gig date for its definitely a MUST-SEE event.

Anyways, June is here and, boy, have we got a fab line-up in store. First up, make a date with The Top Room this weekend for another classy, sassy & jazzy night with KL's cream of the crop.

David Gomes et Maria Gomez

JUNE PROMOTION: Dine at the Top Hat Restaurant every Friday & Saturday night and spend a minimum of RM50++ per person and enjoy a RM25++ 1-drink minimum entry to The Top Room! Promo ends June 31st. Book your seats here.

You may also ring +603 21428611 for reservations or fax +603 21413611.See you at The Top!!!

I'll be playing along with David Gomes' Quartet, and this one's gonna be a nice relaxed show! So do drop by!