Saturday, May 24, 2008

New York..

School's out!

Yeah.. can't believe how time really flies (oh the cliche!)!! Anyway, just wanted to write a little bit about New York and share some photos I took fairly recently.

I've been here for about just over 4 months now.. not that long a time to get really acquainted to life in NYC. My experiences here have been brief, and I know that there'll be more interesting things in the future. After all, I will be here for the whole year once I return from the summer holidays. Oh if you didn't know already, I'll be back in Malaysia for the summer holidays, from mid-June to the first week of September. I've already got some gigs lined up back home.. so I can't wait to be playing with me mates again!

Anyway, just a little sum-up of likes and dislikes of the different facets of NYC. Of course, the list would be rather flexible.. it's probably how I'm feeling about it at the moment. Things change, right?

Here's the short list (in no particular order):


- *Update* Ah-hem.. my good buddy and fellow cheebye Malaysian mate, Chern Hwei (happy now, b*tch?) of which he helped me a lot when I got here!
- MUSIC!!! Great music scene, especially the jazz scene. Always something happening every single day.
- Nice weather during the spring.. cool, sunny, etc. My mom would like it.
- Nice food (when there are some)
- Great running spots. It's so convenient to run anywhere here!
- Friendly people... for most part.
- Netflix... although I wish I had more time to watch them DVDs
- Fast internet connection (DIE, STREAMYX, DIE!!)
- Beautiful scenery, in the city, out of the city.
- My collegemates
- Friendly musicians that I get to meet.
- Subway system. Very convenient to get around, for most time (when there is no construction happening, that is). And it's 24 hours.
- Free food everytime some events happen in the music building, like some major concerts, etc.
- fellow Malaysian buddies that are here.. not a lot but still are.


- expensive. Everything.
- 7 train
- dirty americans. They just throw stuff around on the street with no civil regard. Expects trash workers to collect it, which they will.
- dumb americans... you can see a lot of it every day. And too many things to rant here! LOL!
- "Bathroom/Washroom for clients/customers only". Which means, if you are out on the street and you gotta piss/shit real bad, you can't go in to any store with a toilet unless you buy something.
- Wastage. Americans love to waste stuff.. because of their health regulations. It's also odd that these are the very same people who will churn out "Save the environment" campaigns. From food to plastic bags.
- Sink and tap designs. Whoever designed them should be shot.
- Subway system, when something is under construction. Service gets interrupted.. BAD!
- "CB" staying next to me.

There are more stuff on both ends. But this is what I'll write about for the meantime. Meanwhile, here are some pics I've taken with my trusty ol' Sony Ericsson K610i.

From top to bottom:
1) Artwork @ Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Andy Warhol
2) Some cool heritage houses at New Paltz, NY
3) Signs of springtime. Taken at 34th Ave, Jackson Heights, just a few blocks from my house.
4) My crib in NY
5) The legendary Jimmy Heath and his big band, The Queens Jazz Orchestra at Flushing Town Hall. It was the inauguration of that big band.
6) Chelsea Market - interesting little place.
7) Bleecker St., West Village
8) More Bleecker St.
9) The infamous John's Pizzeria on Bleecker St.
10) Bleecker St.. photo taken at 8pm!

For more photos, check out my Flickr side (click the Flickr link on the sidebar).

Till then.. have fun!

Monday, May 19, 2008


Sorry I haven't been able to update my blog a little more. It's a rather busy last two weeks for me... this week will be the last week of school, but I'm just so caught up with school work, that it's really taking a lot of time. Unlike my undergraduate accounting days, I'm actually having a little more difficulty with my music work in school. For one thing, in accounting, most of the guidelines are laid out, so the solutions to problems posed are quite similar. But in music, it's a whole different open ball game.. everyone's "solution", or rather results vary from person to person.

Anyway, I'm currently working on a big band arrangement of On Green Dolphin St. Of course, it's an academic chart, not a real working big band chart. Even so, I am finding great difficulty in finishing it. I don't know why, I seem to have great trouble finding ideas and putting it down on paper. I suppose I also don't have that much exposure to big band music, and I have not really dealt much with big band arrangements and all. Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes.. this week is the last week to finish it, and have it played this Thursday. Wish me luck...

On a brighter note..

Last weekend was literally legendary for me... and I'm not quoting Neil Patrick Harris' character on "How I Met Your Mother" TV show.

I'll let these two things sum it up:



Last Friday was the inaugural concert of the Queens Jazz Orchestra (QJO) at Flushing Town Hall. The QJO was led by the legendary Mr. Jimmy Heath. Mr. Heath was even commissioned to write a new piece for the Orchestra, which they played, among other tunes, ranging from his own compositions and arrangements as well as some other older big band tunes ala Basie, etc. Among the members of the orchestra included both my school professors Mike Mossman and Antonio Hart, of which they played killer solos, too!

If anything that can be said about the show.. is that the band oozed out jazz tradition down to its very core!! The audience was virtually transported back to the glory days of the jazz big band.. from Basie to Ellington and more... and with Mr. Heath at the helm, there's no doubt that the sound from the band comes directly from the source!! Truly inspiring.

Not only that, the great Roy Haynes was also present at the show. If you didn't know about Roy Haynes.. think Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.. because he played and recorded with them.. a walking legend in his own right!

After the concert, we went to look for our professors, spoke to them a bit, and we got to take pictures we both Mr. Heath and Mr. Haynes!!! Antonio introduced us (the QC students) to the both of them..and as he told Mr. Haynes what instruments we played, he said (referring to the alto sax players in the group), "Alto sax players, huh?? These cats know I played with (Charlie Parker) Bird???". Oh man....what a night! Mr. Heath also spoke to us, and gave us some great inspiring advice... man... truly privileged are we! As my good buddy Eugene told me, "Looks like you made the right choice going to QC". Damn right I did.. and this is definitely a blessing from above!

Anyway, I'll try to post some stuff once I get some time to do so. I'm waiting for the professional photo pictures of the QC jazz Masters students with the real MASTERS of Jazz!! I'll post it up here once I get them!



Monday, May 12, 2008

Oh by the way..



I love you.

PS: This goes to my OTHER Mamas, too!! You know who you are..;)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Some inspiration..

I just got back from school, and played my friend, Glauco's graduation recital. He writes some really interesting music and big band arrangements too. A couple of songs were the quintet setup. So with one of those tunes, I really got to blow and play.. something I haven't really done for a while since I got here.

Did I tell you how much I miss playing?

Anyway, got some inspiration and affirmation today about myself, musically, when my head prof gave me a little thumbs up, on it. Needless to say, being in NYC, with the immense amount of fantastic players here, notwithstanding rhetorics, there were days that I really feel I suck real bad.. like I don't know if I'll ever be that good. So that affirmation at least still tells me, I may still have something inside of me... just need to hang in there, as a lot of people back home have told me. Not a pat on my own back, I just hope I still have some in me! Ahaha..

But I'm quite thankful, that I got to come here to QC, my mates have been nothing short of encouraging, a lot of healthy competition. I mean, our jazz program is really small, but most of the cats in the program don't have airs around them. If it's big, I don't think we can get that kind of camaraderie between us. Actually, I took some of them out for Malaysian food at Flushing after ensemble class.. I think they loved it... which is cool! Even my piano workshop professor, David Berkman joined us for dinner, and he's definitely a super-cool cat to hang out with! Will go and see him play with Marty Ehrlich this weekend.. Marty is a crazy cat. I'm waiting for a chance to see him and his band play. I haven't got much of his stuff, yet, but I've heard some, and it'll be interesting music too.. not your typical jazz kinda cat.

Okay.. enough wasting time on blogging.. gonna try to do and finish my arranging homework as much as I can!

Later peepz.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Just came back from watching that movie at a Forest Hills cinema with Chern Hwei and Nicholas. That movie rocks, man!!

It's probably one of the well made Marvel Comics movie adaptation so far. I wished they did Ghost Rider similar justice, as well.

Robert Downey Jr, man.. that guy is awesome. Definitely adding him as one of my more favorite actors.. even for a comic adaptation. He really played Tony Stark to the core! But what is good is that the directors and screenwriters stuck as much as possible to the original Iron Man backstories, as in the origins, etc.. well for most part anyway.

And the armor.. OH MAN! The people in the visual effects department really did good on this one. I mean, the armor depictions in the comics is pretty nasty already, but to see them really identify it in the big screen?? Wow! Amazing, man! This is definitely one comic book movie you don't want to miss.

It's the summer season... and more comic book adaptations are coming out.. The Dark Knight, Hellboy, Watchmen, The Incredible Hulk.. watch out kids!!

Gonna watch Iron Man again, when I get home to Malaysia!!!