Here we come to the second and final day of KL International Jazz & Art Festival. If you need guidance to see the 1st day story, you can refer to our report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/kl-international-jazz-and-arts-festival-2014-day-1-report/. Today we found so many gems just like the Saturday schedule. Some sequels; meaning the bands that got another round of action; were still very interesting to see. Curious to know what’s happening in this final day? Allow us to share you the story.
Cool Sunday afternoon was opened with a band we have seen last year, Koolskool. This is a trio who loves to pin jazz standards and preserving the Malaysian evergreen songs with their own cool colors. The trio consists of Aznaff (sax), Jaya (electric upright bass) and Razey (guitar), plus Zaiyanis on vocal. All of them work at the same bank, the Maybank. All of them are music graduates on a mission. That is to give a homey jazz entertainment, giving up some kind of educational message during their session and the most important thing is keeping the essence of Malaysian song heritage alive.
They greeted us with “Nightbird” when we just arrived at the venue, then wowed us with “Winelight” by using Javanese pentatonic modes. Surprising indeed. We found a lot of exotic Asian modes from them in the improvisations and solo runs. All in a koolskool way, done by the kool-headed and fully experienced musicians. Right after pinning Dave Grusin’s song, “Masquarade” smoothly swayed from them. Shakatak’s other number, “Invitation” and Mezzoforte’s “Garden Party” ensured all the early attendances kept in pocket. This was just perfect to enjoy in the rain which occured during their performance. Razey does have the George Benson tonal color, and it was really nice. The solo run by Jaya was pretty and groovy.
A blues trio from the Klang Valley in Kuala Lumpur claimed the stage right after. It’s the Purple Haze Blues Band. This band consists of veterans who have been active for around 4 decades: Shaik Karim on drums/vocals, Hazizi “ZZi blues” on guitars/vocals and Jim Madasamy on bass/vocals, plus a harp player that’s being with them on and off, Alex Terry. Being fully equiped by skill and experiences plus the fact that Purple Haze Blues Band was established a decade ago, the pure, gitty sound of classic blues was so alive from them. It all clearly came natural from their hearts, both individually and as a unit. True blues musicians speak from the soul, and these guys are the ones. “Hoochie Coochie Man” and a piece from B.B King were found among their repertoires. “Blues can’t go wrong with B.B King”, said Naj Frusciante, the MC for Outdoor Stage right after the show. Just like a natural born killers, they nailed it. They completely burned the stage and wowed the audiences. Having cool blues-titude on and off stage, they just went at it. Imagine to get hit by a heavy blues truck in the late afternoon, it was really spicy.
On the other stage we found David Tughan in the middle of ‘chetting’ with the audiences. Tughan was born and raised in Northern Ireland but has been living in UK for 2 decades. Special for this show he took on interesting theme in rememberance of a legend called Chetting: A Tribute to Chet Baker. What he meant is that he sang the combination of Chet Baker’s songlist and some songs that Chet would have played or sung, placing it inside Chet’s spirit. But there’s something unique in this show. Normally when one tributes Chet, we would normally guess that a trumpeter would be involved. But David thought differently. He brought his combo comprised of Kirk Lightsey (piano), Ben Robertson (bass), Stephen Magnusson (guitar) and Daniel Firrugia (drums).