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!


One Night Only.. Look Who's Back @ The Top?

Courtesy of Toppings!

That's right! For just one night, the swinging couple will be back to thrill jazz fans once again. It's been some three months since their last gig together at The Top Room though they've been seen singularly teamed up with other performers over the last couple of months. So do try to come this Saturday night when David Gomes & Junji Delfino bring their magical chemistry back to The Top Room stage. Only RM25++ for the first drink and if you come in a group of 5, one gets to come in for free. Ain't that neat? If I were you I'd take good advantage of this cos its a limited time offer. Only good for the month of August! Everybody shout... Merdeka! Merdeka!

So come on over, and check out their magic on stage, from 10.30pm till late!!

"Hang on! Wait! Saturday? What happened to Friday", you say?

Well, Friday is a special night for winers and diners at The Top! For one special evening, enjoy a scrumptious 6-course meal and various selected wines to complement three courses. Enjoy an authentic Malaysian meal while sampling excellent wines from Chile.
And after dinner, wine connoiseurs can turn into music connoiseurs while listening to some authentic "mat salleh" music with our special jazz trio for the night. But the best part is, all this comes in one neat package that only costs RM119.00 ++ per person. Definitely value for money! And you won't find this generosity anywhere else in town! Ok... so I'm biased. Can you blame me?

But wait! Just when you think it can't get any better... we say, enjoy 20% off the package price if you book early!!! Now, you'd have to be totally nuts to miss this! This special dinner is limited to only 40 people so hurry!

Well, you know the drill. Call +603 21428611 or fax +603 21413611. Or just click here.

Hasta la bye bye folks!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

There's a quote that says...

... "expect the unexpected".

It's a rather funny misnomer of a quote, really... how can you expect something that is unexpected? But that's what happened last Friday and Saturday (28 and 29th July) at TTR@TH.

Just a shortie: it was the Julian Chan Quintet featuring Sharizan on vocals, with me on saxophones, Eddie Wen on trumpet, (*update*) LEONARD YEAP on piano (and loads of comedic quotes on those ivories!), Albert Yap on electric bass, and newcomer Martin Ngim on drums.

We had only two short (and rather incomplete rehearsals), and I was putting our drummer, Martin, a lot on the spot, as this is probably one his more serious jazz gigs (something he hardly gets to do). Being fairly new in the styles of swing and bebop, ie. mainstream jazz, it was a swim or sink case for him (not to mention me giving him a slightly hard time during rehearsals)!! Some of the tunes were tunes we were playing for the first time, so it was quite a challenge too.

Oh did I mention, I had quite a challenge of putting this band together? I managed to get Sharizan to sing with us a few days before the gig, unfortunately Ida couldn't do it as she was committed to a stage production in Istana Budaya (hey Ida, if you're reading this.. no worries hun.. next time, yeah?). Thankfully Sharizan was available! Even my bass player AJ, couldn't do it, so I managed to get Albert (from Eye-2-Eye Jazz Mix) to do the gig.

I must admit, I was rather worried about last night's gig. There was very little time to rehearse the instrumental repertoire, as well as Sharizans vocal tunes. But amazingly (and with blessings from UP there!), the band pulled through and played their butts off in the process, while Sharizan rocked the house with his amazing stage presence and strong vocals! They did an amazing job last night (of course, with the help of a few drinks!), and we didn't just pull through the tunes... we PLAYED them (never mind a few bloops here and there)! Even Martin rose well to the occasion. You can watch out for Martin.. give him a couple of years down the road, he'll be kickin' a lot of butt on the drums!

On behalf of the band, THANK YOU to those who dropped by last night for the gig! Come back again, if you will.

And to the rest of you, there's one more night to go tonight. And it's only RM25++ with one drink, in an intimate room for some good jazz, and like John Klenner and Sam M. Lewis' tune Just Friends (something we're playing as well), that's the vibe you get in Top Room... you're among friends. So head down there tonight, and don't be shy and say HI to the band!

Lastly, also come down to the Sunday Jazz Jam Sessions @ The Top Room... take this opportunity to listen to some good jazz from the most seasoned cats in town and hang out and learn a few things, with a few guests to jam with them, as well. If you're a musician, bring your horns/axe/sticks/whatever knick knacks that make music, and come down to jam as well!

Read more about it here!

Hope to see y'all there!


I'm seriously getting old here... how could I forget you, Leonard!? I actually forgot to mention one unsung hero of the night, LEONARD YEAP on piano! He's like the fuel to the fire for Sharizan, with both of them spontaneously playing and singing Chinese songs as a joke, during breaks in between songs! And what you get when you put this crazy motley crue... FIVE MINUTES OF NON-STOP LAUGHTER ON STAGE!! To quote Albert... "I've never laughed this hard in a jazz gig before!!". LOL!!

PS: So sorry Leonard.. hahaa.. I'm really slippin' here, man!!

Update 2*

Check out a review of the show on All Dat Jazz...