Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Pictures That Are Miri..

Hi all,

Here are some pictures of Miri that Eddie and myself took in Miri, for the Miri Jazz Festival.

(l-r) me at the airport just arriving; Beautiful beach scene from my room

(l-r) Horny horns in deep discussion, David at the stage pre-setup

(l-r) Check out our t-shirt theme!!; The band in action!

(l-r) My sifu and best friend, Thomas Theseira; Lluis Coloma Septet

(l-r) Dirty Dozen Brass Band funkin' it up; Beautiful sunset at da beach (Courtesy of Eddie)

(l-r) Orak Naa Naa from Morocco; George Washingmachine (?!)

(l-r) Habana Sax-ing it up!; DG6tet with Jun Lin and Kevin from Dirty Dozen

For more photos, click here!


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Swing on Friday, Burn on Saturday!

Hey all!

I'm still recovering from Miri... but it doesn't stop there, does it? A lot of ya probably weren't able to make it to Miri, but that doesn't mean you can't get good jazz in good ol' metropolitan KL, right? They're loads of weekend gigs happening, but I'm only gonna mention two, of which I'm playing! Eh hem, I obviously gotta sell myself, mah... it's my blog, so deal! AHahah.. for real updates on jazz gigs happening around KL (and Penang), then check out for more listings.

But over here in my domain, it's all about me, ME, ME! LOL... just kidding!

Jokes aside.. I'm playing two different flavors this weekend: Lots of swing, bop, and vocal jazz on Friday at the Top Room, and chili hot(!) latin jazz on Saturday!

Without further ado..


Swing your way down to the Top Room this Friday and Saturday for a taste of the Gomes'es and a rather large dose of swing, bop, and all that jazz (pun intended!). The aftertaste of the Miri Jazz Festival aftermath is still there, so I'm quite sure you'll get a little taste of it. Meet the band members, with David Gomes on piano/vocals, Junji Delfino on vocals, Vincent Ong on double bass, and Jonathan on drums, with Julian Chan on saxophones on the Friday instalment.

Venue: The Top Room @ Top Hat Restaurant. 7 Jalan Kia Peng, KL
Date and Time: 25 and 26 May 2007 (Friday and Saturday), 10:30pm onwards Admission: RM20 nett (free crackers and nuts all night) For reservations call: 03-21428611

* * * * *


Get ready for some hot latin-jazz with Eric Li's Jazz Latino Quintet for a one-night-only show at Bangkok Jazz @ Chulan Square. Burning up on stage will be Eric Li on piano, John Thomas on drums, Fly on electric bass, and the horney-horns, Julian Chan on saxophone and Eddie Wen on trumpet.

Venue: Bangkok Jazz Thai Bistro
Date and Time: 26 May 2007, Saturday, 10pm onwards
Admission: Free
For reservations call: 03-21458708

Hope to see you there at least ONE of the gigs!! And don't forget to say hi to the band, we ain't gonna eat you!


Friday, May 18, 2007

A Jazz Miri-cle!

Well, my overdue write-up on Miri Jazz Festival is here (pics are incoming, so stay tuned to this channel).


Just a little foreword, for those who aren't in the know, I was part of the David Gomes Sextet to play at the 2nd Miri International Jazz Festival, last week on the 11th and 12th of May. We were the ONLY band to represent Malaysia in this Festival, and I believe we're all (if not most of us) quite proud of it.

The preparations for our performance in Miri basically took months. Technically we only had 3 major rehearsal sessions (five if you count soundchecks at Top Room), and 2 preview shows at the Top Room. Of course, there's all the other kinds of preparations that took place out of the rehearsal room, such as arranging the music, preparing charts, arranging rehearsal dates (that was a b*tch, I tell ya... or rather, Junji can tell ya!).

For a lot of us, being a part of the festival was quite a big deal... I mean, here we are playing (we were the first band to open the festival, by the way.. how scary is that?) in front of all these cats from other countries like USA, Cuba, Australia, Spain, India and Germany, and Morocco. These cats are musically at the top of their field, and most of us Malaysians are just still trying to catch up. So it was definitely a challenge for us, and it's one that we are glad, and looking forward, to take!

Anyway, here's a chronological account of the trip:

10 May - Thursday

We (the band) basically met up at the LCC-T airport at 6am to check in (most of us still half-asleep somewhat - hello? we jazz musicians are lousy morning people!) the AirAsia flight. Then there was breakfast at McDs (oh by the way, they're serving pancakes now.. yummm!!), and we boarded the plane. Flight was uneventful, thankfully, on the new Airbus-es.. they were quite comfortable... kudos to the pilots, too, for a good take-off and landing. However, stewardesses weren't too great this flight. The flight was 2 hours long, and we got to Miri at about 9.30am.

Welcoming commitee was there to give us a nice (albeit small) welcome, and there was a bus that took us to Parkcity Everly Hotel (the host hotel for the festival), and we basically checked in, and we were all goofing around like we always do. By the way, I had decided to appoint myself official jazz fest videographer (when I'm not playing, that is) for the band during this trip. So, here I was video-shooting anything interesting that I could possibly catch.

Everything was a relaxing breeze after check-in.. we chilled out, then had lunch, and took a trip to Miri town. We began to notice one thing - everyone and everything in Miri is SOOOOO relaxed and laid back (including hotel service, shuttle bus service.. EVERYTHING!). So everything took longer to get... which was a bit of a pain after a while. We had lunch at the hotel coffee-house (that took ages to reach our table), and afterwards we took a hotel shuttle out to town (it came late). We waited more than one hour from the scheduled pick-up time, but the shuttle never returned for us! Bugger. Took a cab back instead.. and it cost RM12 a cab, for less than 15 minutes ride to the hotel! Damn, so expensive!

Most of the artistes were already in Miri since Tuesday, so we were probably one of the last few cats to arrive. We saw some of them at the coffee house, during lunch and dinner, but since we were still "new" around Miri, we didn't get to talk much to them (save some eye contact, a couple of nods), except for one of the German fellas from KCP4.. their tour manager. (He) Broke the ice, by joining our table during dinner, and chatting with us. And one of the other bands, Son2Nos, also starting greeting us, and we reciprocated, of course (we must uphold the "Malaysians are friendly people" mantra, right??).

After adjourning to our rooms, I basically brought my Mac and headed to the lobby to use the Wi-Fi services. Unfortunately I had to deal with the horrible lounge-showband (4 girls and one guy) that was playing there. It was typical - four scantily clad women (I think they were from the Philippines), and one male saxophonist/keyboardist. The sound from the PA system was terribly loud, and the band sounded terrible, with the terrible girl dance and MIDI backup music (commonly downloaded from the Net, most Top 40 bands use them!). And what was funny was one of the trumpet players from one of the jazz fest bands just happily slotted himself there and jammed with them!! He sounded really good, and for him to be so happy to play, even with a sub-standard band, I was amused but also admired his tenacity and humility. But being so used to how hotel bands here play, and being a Malaysian, it's a bit hard for us to do so. Maybe it's just pride, I don't know. But we're definitely not comfortable doing so... unless the band sounded good, then it'll be a different story lah. I might do that overseas, though.. haha, not in Malaysia.

11 May - Friday

We got up in time for breakfast, which was not much of one, the hotel food was really BAD. We also managed to squeeze some gym time, before we met up at David's room for a band discussion and rehearsal.

Just a little gym rant - there was this bloody lady walking on one (of two!) treadmills and reading a bloody newspaper! How bloody indulgent is that? Wanted to take the paper and smack her with it... let people who really NEED to use the treadmill use it lah, for crying out loud!

We stopped the rehearsal to make way for buffet lunch, which was quite bad also, although it was at the chinese restaurant. After lunch banter, we went back to David's room to rehearse some more, until soundcheck time. Soundcheck was alright, although we had some slight problems with the bass frequencies of the hall and stage. We rehearsed a couple of songs some more, and basically went back to our rooms to chill. We slept for a few hours until before standby time.

We met up at David's room, fully dressed in "The David Gomes Jazz Sextet" tee-shirts specially made for us by David and Junji, for a quick band meeting before we headed down to the stage. The Pavillion (a circular hall within the hotel compound) was starting to fill up, and while we were setting up our stuff, we met some familiar faces who came over to chat with us next to the artiste area, before we went up on stage. The lights dimmed to a dark, and the MC kicked off the festival... and announced The David Gomes Jazz Sextet... oh boy! We went up on stage, and I prayed that we would play some good sh*t tonight!

The Music Starts Playin'..

The first song (Just Swinging) started with a drum solo...wait, where's the one?... ah bugger, we missed the entry! Damn, what the hell happened there? At least, the rest of the song turned out okay...pheww!! Wait.. I missed the ending, and to think we practiced that shit so much! Argh!

Turnaround was a bomb, that was fun to play, and Thomas kicked butt.

Entry turned out really nice too, although I thought I could've built it up more. I was trying to set it up for Tom, but the band came in back the intro.. oh well, never mind lah.

Next was Junji's cameo on The Song Is You, that was a real swingin' one.. and Thomas was a killer again on that one!

Swung hard again on Almost Like Being In Love, and everyone danced to the latin/swing Nancy Wilson-version of A Lot Of Living To Do.

Junji went offstage, and we blistered and burnt again on David's Just Around The Corner. Thomas took it on first, and when he finished, I was almost too hesitant to play after him.. he just kicked everyone's butt!

We evened out the mood a little bit with a nice latin-type groove on Blues In Brazil, another original of David's, and it had a nice beachside feel to it.

Next was another burnout tune, another original Fire Within Water, I think we held it together as much as we could.. it was a fast one.. and it was a nice one for me to take out!!

The mood was then broken with David's sweet arrangement of Have You Met Miss Jones, and when David sang, everyone went estatic!!

We ended our show with a nice fast swing, All About Love, and it was a good feel that we ended with... crap, we missed the drum solo entry, what the heck was that?.. and we ended with a bam! That was it... several months of hard work done in EXACTLY one hour! Yeah.. and boy, was I feeling really tired after that! I think a lot of us really played hard!!!

When the music ends... eh, not yet..

After some quick photography sessions, and packing our stuff, we headed to the restaurant for food... nothing like makan after a good gig session! We missed KCP4 though.. bad mistake, no thanks to me and my artful procrastination. The trumpet player, Matthias Schriefl, was a real crazy player... that was the cat jamming with them top40 band fellas.

Anyway, we got back just in time to watch Lluis Coloma's band, with a 4pc sax section.. lots of boogie woogie, blues, and one really nice ballad (there were people actually shhhh-ing noisy fellas during that time!).

Next was the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band - now, these cats really can bring the house down with their music! And, whoever said that the New Orleans-based jazz band only plays funeral music?? Seems to be this thing going around about them being a funeral band? Get real, people! Funerals are one of many events that they play.. and most of the time, N'awlins music in funerals is happy music! No sh*t! I would like some happy jazz played at funeral!! They got everyone dancing on and off stage!! Infectious rhythms, and horn lines! And damn, those horn players sure love to play right up there. Oh, and a notable mention - the sousaphone player was the bomb! Instead of a regular bass player, the sousaphonist took the whole bass part! The cat looks lanky, thin, and I'm sure pretty out there, but when he's on stage, he's blowin' that thang like it ain't nobody's bizness, y'dig?

After the shows, you'd think we'd go back to our rooms and crash? Nawww....ended up at the coffee house, having supper, and the next thing we knew, we were jamming outside the coffee house - David, Junji, myself, David Blenkhorn (from the George Washingmachine Quartet) on acoustic guitar, and Vincent on double bass. Here's a Youtube video of it:

And even after that, Tom and I were up on the stage where the top40 band was playing, along with the horn section from the Dirty Dozen, jamming! Talk about music crazy. And even after THAT, we were sitting down with David Blenkhorn and ET (from DDBB) and jamming some more, with David and Junji singing every song that they could think off. I was also jamming with David and ET at some point too! Nothing like more music to end the night!

Part 2 coming soon...

Read more about it from Junji..

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back and recovering..

Hey all,

I've been back from Miri since Sunday. The experience was nothing short of awesome! I think the band really hit a real high on this one (despite a few snags)... but it was otherwise a pleasant and rockin' at the same time!!

Will blog about it sometime, when I recover a little bit from it! Will try to include some pictures too..

Till then..

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Miri here we come!

In a couple of hours, we'll be flying off to Miri for the Miri Jazz Festival. I think it's going to be a fun and exciting show....

Wish us luck!! I'm so nervous... aahhaha.. we'll be the only Malaysian band there! Pray for us to kick some serious butt there!! Woo hooooo...


Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I got in..!!!

Yes! Yes! YESS!!

NYC.. see you in a coupla months!

How about...

.. some thoughts?

I guess I haven't written much about some of my thoughts in here for quite a while haven't I? After all, it's Julian's HEAD.. not Julian's gigs! LOL. Well, the only reason being... well, I'm quite off the blogging bug these days. I just get so occupied with real-life stuff to sit down and blog about it (although I'm usually blogging real-life stuff, anyway). I'm not a blog-a-holic much, and even less these days. An occasional rant or two is quite fun to write about, though.

... anyway...

Spider-Man 3 and (ugh!) public transport..

I went to watch Spider-Man 3 with my brother last Saturday afternoon at Mid-Valley... one of those rare moments I actually get to spend time with him... and he decided we should take the train. Since the tickets were paid for using the e-payment order online, we didn't have to rush there 45 minutes before the show. I said that driving there would be a better idea than taking the KTM Komuter train. He digressed and said that being a Saturday, it'll mostly like be jammed. But of course, I knew better, being a previously experienced train/public transport rider.

So when we got to the train station, I bought a ticket, and waited for the next train (one left just as we got there). As I looked around the Kajang station, I noticed that nothing much had changed since my train-riding days in '96-'97. Or it did, but it just got worse. The whole place looks more decrepit, and the "Next Train" at the digital clock of the station doesn't even state when the next train is arriving, anymore. I figured, that's because the train is ALWAYS late... so no point for them to state the next arrival, only to find out it'll be late. And we waited for a little bit, and it was already 11.20am, and I knew that we'd be late, if not just on time. When the train had finally arrived, I could see that the trains were still in the same condition (if not worse) than when I really last took the train a few millenium ago! And the train was moving even slower than I remembered, too! It feels like it's gonna derail anytime, or break down anytime. Talk about proper maintenance... sheesh.

When we finally arrived at the Mid-Valley station, I was practically brisk-walking/race-walking as it was already 11.55am. I got the tickets from the E-Kiosk while my brother got the popcorn. When we went in, we knew that the show hadn't started, thankfully. Got there in the nick of time.

The movie was good... although they practically cramped THREE villain storylines, and one love backstory into a 2.5 hour movie. But I thought it was done fairly well, and that the producers gave enough time for each character to develop, albeit short. I wouldn't mind watching it again! But I do feel that this third instalment has far less substantial essence in its storyline compared to the first two... but I guess it can't be helped, for the 2.5 hour constraint.

The ride back on the train was also not so different from the earlier ride. I think I fell asleep on the bench waiting for the train to arrive... something at around 20 minutes of waiting. Bugger. Not only that, I noticed that KTM still has not done ANYTHING to facilitate wheelchair and disabled commuters. There's a big gap between the platform and the train car, and it's not even leveled with each other. Man, it'll be a long time coming for Malaysians... although I don't think that it has anything to do with our country being slow... but it's all in the attitude, couldn't care less....

Typical MALAYsian attitude. (no that's not a typo)

More rants coming.. when I'm not too sleepy to type...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


No, it's not the title of a brand new Quentin Tarantino movie. Neither is it Izlyn Ramli's 5th album release. No, no. It's for them bopping band of five we fondly know as BOPLICITY!

Back at The Top this weekend, let Julian Chan, Cher Siang Tay, Eddie Wen, Vincent Ong & Martin Ngim stir up your senses once again with those classic bop tunes by the giants that roamed our great jazz planet. Bop to The Top this Friday and Saturday and kick start your merry month o' May with Boplicity!

The first set usually gets started at 10:30 p.m. [or whenever the first signs of human life begin to turn up]. Top Room operates until 2 a.m. but these dudes have been known to play well past the tolling of the bells. In fact, these boys are usually pumping adrenaline by the time the last note is played and they most likely will grab some grub in our favourite haunt opposite General Hospital for the now infamous "heart attack mee hoon". Well, can you think of a better place to have a heart attack then right across a hospital?? So, enjoy the soul food dished out by these dudes then join them for supper afterwards... Either way, I guarantee it'll prove to be a pleasant experience.

Cover charge is RM20 nett.

See you at The Top!

(Courtesy of The Top Room)