Sunday, August 26, 2007


Greetings from the bandstand of Frogway...

It's the fourth day (and five shows) of the musical, Frogway, and it's been quite fun so far. Just a little bandstand info: The music of Frogway is generally played LIVE by a live band led by one of Malaysia's leading pianist/jazz musician, Michael Veerapen. The musicians involved are Michael Veerapen on piano/keyboards, Ee Jeng on 2nd keyboards, Fly on double bass and electric bass, Zahid Ahmad on V-drums, Eddie Wen on trumpet, and myself on saxophones and flute. Michael is also the composer of all the tunes in the musical, and quite a number of the songs were written by him in the 80s, with some contemporary twists this time around, of course. Saidah Rastam is the musical director for the musical.

The cast of Frogway are Vince Chong as Eddy the Frog, Harith Iskander (also director) as Smiley the Snake, Elaine Daly as Susannah the Stork, Ina Fabergas as Helen the Fish and Michelle the Frogette, Marielle Fabergas as Renee the Frogette, Chelsia Ng as Shirley the Frogette, Thor Kar Hoong as Horatio Frog (and some other characters and voice-overs) and Ash Nair as Freddy the Toad. Quite a zany cast, I might add, and all very good performers.

The band only had one-and-a-half weeks of intense rehearsals, so we managed to get fairly familiar with the tunes by the time we got together at the Actor's Studio to do the tech runs, and stage rehearsals. And we are pretty much having quite a lot of fun playing, and watching the cast act and sing, and also mess around with different sound effects for different scenes. We not only had to play our instruments like musical instruments, we also ended up with making different sound effects with it - Eddie does elephant, horse, frog sounds among other stuff, with his trumpet, while I make monkey sounds with the soprano, and bird sounds with my flute. Ee Jeng plays various sound effects with his Roland Fantom X synth that makes the acting bits of the show a whole lot more interesting. Even Michael plays a variety of sounds with his FP-1 digital piano!

Anyway, here are some cool pics taken with my phone with the band as well as some other actors in the show. Enjoy.

Harith as Smiley the Snake (check out da makeup!)

Da band l-r: Zahid, Ee Jeng, Eddie, fat-sax, Mike, and Fly

Horny horns with Eddy da Frog (Vince)

Eddy (Vince), Horatio (Thor), and Freddy (Ash)

By the way, I believe there are still tickets and another 8 shows to go.. so call 03-20940400 now to get your tickets and get your giggles at Frogway!

Later... Hisssssssss....ribbit!!

PS: We got rid of those green shirts in favor of a penguin suit instead.. tee hee...

Friday, August 24, 2007


Surprise Voice presents


Eddy the Frog has to leave his pond home because he sings, instead of croaking. He finds fame, fortune and riotous living on "Frogway", but to his horror finds out that his agents, Snake and Stork are planning to eat him. Will melon seeds save the day? Will pond life ever be the same again?

Frogway is a groovy musical directed by the formidable Harith Iskander, with music by Michael Veerapen. Starring Vince Chong, with Harith, Elaine Daly,Thor Kah Hoong, Ina Fabregas, Chelsia Ng, Ash Nair,and Marielle Fabregas. Music direction by Saidah Rastam, musical staging by Sean Ghazi.

Dates & Times: 23th, 24th, 27th - 29th August @ 8.30pm, 25th August & 1st September @ 3pm & 8.30pm, 26th August & 2nd September @ 3pm

Ticket: RM100, RM80, RM60 (RM2.00 ticket charge is applicable)

Special promotions:
  • 15% discount for matinees, Mondays & Tuesdays (adult tickets only)
  • 50% discount for students and senior citizens

For tickets, please contact TAS@BSC at 03-2094 0400/1400

Want to win tickets to watch Frogway? Click here!


The thing with New York...

I got a place in Queens College (at least that's what I have been told)....

... but I only got it for the Spring intake, which means February 2008.

Looks like I'll be sticking around town for a little while more. Sigh.

Well, as much as I was irked initially with this, but I accept that there's always a reason for anything and everything that happens, but it's just not always clear at first. I just gotta have faith in it..

This time around, I am gonna make sure I get all my affairs down way in advance, just so that something like this don't happen again... then I'll never get to leave this town!

This leaves me more time to hit the woodshed with my horns, and also to save some more money!

Oh well..

Monday, August 13, 2007


... that was what the Greg Lyons Nonet (GLN) gig at No Black Tie was, last weekend. At least, that was what it was like for me! But I think ALL of us felt it... and everyone played their a$$es off last weekend too!

The GLN did a three-night stint at NBT last weekend from Thursday to Saturday. This was after over a year of the band taking a hiatus! I think the last performance I did with the GLN was at the Penang Island International Jazz festival almost two years ago! But anyhow, I think this was the best Nonet gig I've done so far, not just for me, but I think for the entire band in general! The music and the energy was just so overwhelming, I think this gig is a record for me - three straight GOOD nights in a row!! The most I've had was two!

Anyway, the band consisted of 9 members (hence, a NONET): rhythm section - Justin Lim (piano), AJ (drums), and the legendary and unimitable Andy Petersen on bass, and the horn section - Greg Lyons (bandleader/composer/arranger/saxophones), Julian Chan (alto sax, flute), Cheryl Mah (baritone sax), Eddie Wen and Boon Sim (trumpets/flugelhorn), and Lillian Loo (trombone). We played basically all of Greg's compositions and arrangements of non-originals.

What was interesting about this gig as well, was that we only had the Thursday afternoon to rehearse the band, and then play on the night itself. It was a challenge because we had two newbies to the band - Boon Sim and Lillian, and what made it even more challenging was that Greg's material is anything BUT straight-forward, with different kinds of grooves and odd-meters. The rest of the members were mostly familiar and a bit more comfortable with it, but what was really enjoyable about the whole experience was that I think we're better at it now, than the last time. After all, one-and-a-half years of continuous playing challenging music
does a lot for one's musical development! And personally, my flute playing is still crap, so that was a challenge in itself! But I made sure I practiced my flute a lot more during the week before the gig, just to get some chops back, and for most part, it held up!! Greg even made me solo on flute!! Man.. breathless!!

Anyway, we played a bunch of Greg's tunes, arranged for the Nonet, such as Out From The Shadows (a nice mixture of 7/4, 4/4, and 5/4 meters), Bridge of Sighs (this crazy one has 7/4, 2/4, and 6/4), Forward Motion (title track of his upcoming Nonet album), Heart Of Stone, Built To Last, Global Ties, Twin Flow, Spring Loaded (two nice swing-based tunes), and two new ones - Satin Doll (a nice new Afro-Cuban rhythm rearrangement), and East Coast Park (a fresh new tune, 5/4 triplet-feel - unfinished, though). Some other tunes that Greg did involved only me and Eddie, such as Up To You (one of Greg's early originals), and John Coltrane's Central Park West.

It was an amazing three-night gig for me, at least. I think Greg felt the same way, too. I was thinking about, I can only think of these few reasons:

- Greg's playing...

- Greg's music...

- Justin's playing.. man, this guy is a real "sat sau"!!!!

- Eddie's playing

- AJ's playing

- Andy's playing (OMG!)

- Everyone played with gutso and head-on energy!

- It was a good benchmark from the last show I did with the Nonet. I've actually found myself to be more musically connected more than before. And judging from the fact that Greg really put me on the spot with some solos on some his songs (he's never done that before!), I was mostly comfortable enough with the music to try to be creative with it... and I wasn't falling over myself doing it (not on the alto, at least.. flute? ecck..). I was really happy that Greg had the confidence to let me play at some of the solo spots on his tunes. If anything, it was sort of an affirmation of sorts... I have much more to learn, but I know that I've come a long way than I'd ever thought possible... and now, it's just a matter of moving on further.

At the end of the last note of the last night, I actually felt so happy... and sad, at the same time. I will miss this so much. I suppose I am heading for much more when I get my fat a$$ to NYC, but all this is something which is so close to my heart, I can't help feeling a little sad that I won't be getting to do this for a little while. All the musical ventures that I've been blessed to be a part of has been instrumental to whatever musical development I have now (which for me is still not a lot!). In some ways, maybe it was really for me to gear up for a bigger world. I think I'm getting ahead of myself here...

... ANYWAY...

It had been an awesome musical experience over the last weekend. I hope some of you guys get to check out the Nonet if they're playing again KL! And I hope that the album gets released, too!

till then..

Special note to Greg:

Greg... thank you so much!! You've done so much for me, no words can describe my feeling of gratitude! I hope I've made you proud, and will try to continue to do so...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Greg Lyons Nonet Returns!!

Greg Lyons

Yes... it has been a long while since the Greg Lyons Nonet (GLN) have graced the jazz scene in KL! And it's back this weekend for a three-night stint at one (of two, as far as I'm concerned) of KL's most established and discerning jazz joints, No Black Tie.. beginning tonight through to Saturday night.

Greg Lyons is a well-established saxophonist and jazz musician in the KL-Singapore jazz scene, being in South-East Asia for over 15 years now. His debut album as a leader, Island to Island, already establishes Greg as not only a versatile jazz musician/saxophonist, but also a very prolific composer, and in that effect, establishing an individual sound that is Greg Lyons.

One of his many projects, the GLN, is an outlet for Greg to present not only his original compositions, but also his eclectic arranging prowess, creating a unique sound in the ever-expanding spectrum of jazz. In the GLN, Greg utilizes a typical jazz rhythm section - piano/keys, bass, and drums - which is augmented by an addition of a 6-piece horn section, including combinations of saxophones, woodwinds, and brass.

But there's no point in talking about it.. you have to experience it LIVE!! So come by these three nights and experience jazz music that's a cut above the rest! Wanna know more? Here are the details:

VENUE: No Black Tie. 17 Lorong Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, KL
DATE AND TIME: 9, 10, and 11 Aug 2007. Music starts 10.30pm
RESERVATIONS: Call +603 2142 3737

Hope to see you there...



Greg Lyons:
Greg Lyons MySpace:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Toppings!: The Experimental Quartet

Hey all,

Just got back after a crazy night at the town... well, just at the Top Room actually! Some really crazy music happening just now, and tonight as well! If you're in for a taste of the real stuff in music, come down tonight to watch us... we've got some really crazy stuff to play!

The Experimental Quartet is Justin Lim on piano, Fung Chern Hwei on violin, Julian Chan on saxophones, and Eddie Wen on trumpet/flugelhorns. Wierd set-up... crazy musicians... out-of-the box ideas... lots of fun music (including a remake of TWO classic tunes into one... if you wanna find out what it is, you just have to come down to the Room to check it out!).

Toppings!: The Experimental Quartet

We start at 10.30pm, with cover charge RM20nett (with free crackers and free parking).

See ya.


Read all about the gig at Chern Hwei's blog!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I need..

... jazz and my runs!!

Yeah.. nothing beats a bout of emotional downtime with jazz and running.. for me at least!! It's gotta be both... if not, don't even think about pissing me off!!! Ahahahaha...

Oh yeah, I finished Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys..

.. and I picked up another two more books: Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things (short stories), and Jeffery Archer's False Impression. I'm reading through the former now...

I just got back from a recording session with David for his jazz album. We did only one tune, a composition of David's called "Home". It's a beautiful ballad... but seriously TOUGH to play. We did several takes, but I think the third take was probably the best out of the 5 - 6 takes. By the way, we're in the process of recording his FIRST actual jazz album... it's a long time coming for David. And I'm glad I'm part of it too.. woo hoo... but boy, am I seriously getting my chops busted!! I get to hear all my funny boo-boos in the recordings!! Hopefully they're good enough to be used in the album.. ha ha!

Okay.. that's it for now.. I'm too spent and sleepy after the recording. Recording a ballad takes such a heavy toll..