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.