The sun had disappeared over the horizon. The South China Sea quietly murmur in the dark, but only a few feet away from the beach in the compounds of the well-known Parkcity Everly Hotel in Miri, the night had just begun!
It was the second (and final) night of the Borneo Jazz Festival 2012!
The stage was set…
The audience await…
AND THE SHOW BEGINS!!!
Tropic Green was the first act of the night. This 7-piece (sometimes 8 according to their Facebook page) jazz band based in Singapore was really sensualising the atmosphere in Miri…
As they played one number to the next, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity with some of them. One in particular was what a dear friend of mine said was from SimCity. To me, their number called “Flight” (which was inspired by birds) sounded familiar though I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it…maybe real birds?
Mid-act, Susan Harmer (piano) admitted that all of Tropic Green’s music were originals written by herself. I was impressed! And the musicians themselves were also awesome: Chua Siong Loo, Regan Wickman (trombone), Brad Swope, Fabian Lim (saxaphone?), Stephen “Mr Sexy Eyes” Rufus, Mario Lopez (percussion), Pablo Calzado from Cuba (on drums), Hiroaki Maekawa (bass?) aka “Ganji”(?)
Tropic Green jazzing away the crowd at the Borneo Jazz Festival
One piece was especially written for the bassist Hiro & he really hero-ed it! A piece titled “Camelia” had me nodding my head & swwaaaayyying.. Another called “Rosie”, Susan wrote for her mom. Aaaawww~ And then there was the Father&Son jam: Mario (father) & Pablo (son) on percussion & drums - oh my Pablo, you really made my heart skip a (drum) beat! Woot~
I was tapping my foot along with Tropic Green all the way to their last number which was a pure Jazz string.. By the end of their act, I felt like I was loosened enough to have a mojito hehehe
The second act for the night was Tangora from France!
But then, when she started with a song in Spanish (or was it Italian?) I was momentarily perplexed. LOL.
Turns out, she’s of French-Italian background so that explains it…hehe
She also sang some French & English numbers & she just made jazz sexy! There was also “Lolita”, a west Indies composition & she then turns Miri into the Amazon!
The next act was one I was personally looking forward to:
Schalk Joubert’s 3 Continent Sextet – with a name like that can you blame me?
Now, if I were to go The Avengers on this, Schalk is Nick Fury. Why? ‘Cos he brought all these individually talented musicians together from South Africa, United States, Norway & Sweden…
Schalk’s ensemble (quoted from the Program book) “is made up of new generation jazz musicians, all schooled musicians from the younger modern jazz scene where technical ability and inspiration are both necessities”
They’re all technically able alright…
Schalk & Karin
I can honestly say I loved ALL their numbers!
And they are all very very talented!
“One might say all of them are stars in their own right” – Program book
Melissa van der Spy
Indeed they are!
And below is my personal favourite:
Everyone in the crowd absolutely adored her! Just by looking at the photo above you can tell she’s really passionate about what she does. She just simply blew everyone away! (Pun intended.) And a bit later, you’ll see that it wasn’t just the crowd who felt that way either…
Finally, the last act for the night was:
& Takeshi Band
Even before they performed, I kinda had a feeling that they were famous – and I was right! Per the Program book, “Mr Sekpol Unsamran, more famously and affectionately known as Mr Saxman, has been winning awards for the last 2 decades…started…when he was 16…performed in over 10 different countries…recorded 5 solo albums…” Well, you get my drift
Mr Saxman in action
He is indeed worthy of his name!
His numbers were closely related to places/nature – and they were very very real. His number about Koh Samui made me feel like going on a holiday & another about the Ayutthaya Province sounded very cultural and made me feel like I was in Thailand…
And the guys in the Takeshi Band were pretty awesome too, especially this guy:
Not only does he play funky music…
He has the sweetest of smiles I’ve ever seen! *swoon*
The guy’s constantly smiling, it’s like he doesn’t have a care in the world…I couldn’t take my eyes of him.
They also had a guest singer – one of the best singers in Thailand.
All their songs/numbers were so mesmerising I was just drawn into their performance – so much that I even forgot to take a video of any of it! It was like I was in a trance…
However, I did stumble upon this complete video of one of their performances – uploaded by none other than MrFabianLim of Tropic Green!
Could this be Tropic Green’s Fabian Lim? Hello!
She was indeed great! And her name is Betty.
And then, just when you think things couldn’t possibly get more sensual/sexy/mesmerising that night, guess who Mr Saxman pulled back on stage?
None other than Shannon Mowday of Schalk’s Sextet!
And these two professionals battled it out to the excitement of the crowd!!!
Battle of the Saxes: Mr Saxman & Shannon Mowday
It was simply ear-gasm! Looking back at it now, I’m wishing I had taken a video of the whole thing but I was too engrossed in watching it LIVE! that the thought didn’t even cross my mind! (That said, if anyone did take a video please do share! )
And as with all good things, it was then time to call it an end; but not before acknowledging the people that made the Borneo Jazz Festival happen – and did it brilliantly too!
The guys from the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB)
The Performers (shown here are F.V.E. Project & Tropic Green)
All the performers & organizing team on stage, bidding farewell to the crowd
And thus ended the Borneo Jazz Festival of 2012. It was my first jazz festival, and by the looks of it, it won’t be my last!
Thanks once again to Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Bloggers for the opportunity to cover this event! Hopefully, I’ll have more opportunities to collaborate with you again in the (near?) future! *cough*RWMF*cough*