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!