Jazz is a funny genre. Play it at a hotel lobby and it makes passing background music, but perform it live and its observant spectators would wonder how a human being could comprehend and master such a jumble of keys and time signatures. Needless to say, it’s easy to consider jazz musicians highly technical and talented, but it also takes a certain kind of oomph and passion to deliver the music honestly.
Those familiar with the local music community would probably already be aware that Malaysia has its very own pool of world-class talent. But who are they? Many local artists seem to be quite elusive, doing jazz as one-offs, or rarely play live gigs. While you can rely on your local jazz venues to provide such live music (from both international and local artists), these five artists are the ones you can rely on when it comes to more consistent forms of jazz:
The Bassment Syndicate
Founded in June 2010, The Bassment Syndicate comprises qSound on the vocals, Hiran on the keyboards, Fook on the Bass and Omar on the Drums. They made their way into the spotlight playing instrumental jazz, but have now expanded to include R&B, soul, funk and hip-hop into their tunes. You can generally find them performing live at popular local live music venues, such as Alexis Bangsar (Alexis Jam Sessions) and The Bee, Publika.
For your dose of more traditional forms of jazz, funk, blues and soul, WVC Trio+1 are your guys. The band is made up of Tay Cher Siang on the piano, Julian Chan on saxophones, AJ Popshuvit on the bass, and KJ Wong on drums. The group has performed pretty extensively, including jazz festivals around Asia, not to mention the regular cosy gig at some of Kuala Lumpur’s live music venues such as No Black Tie.
Follow the band’s updates on their Facebook page.
Although the band doesn’t describe themselves as “jazz,” but rather, “musical pop,” Fazz easily captures our attention with their quirky blend of pop, blues, swing… and cabaret. The result is a rather sassy musical attitude, but that just makes for really fun, energetic live performances. The group consists of Kevin V. on vocals, Grace C. on keyboards and vocals, R.F.B. on the electric double bass and vocals, and Jone Y. on skins.
Vocalist Evelyn Feroza – more fondly known as “Evie,” – has steadily making rounds in the local music scene recently. And it’s easy to see why she dishes out applause-worthy live performances: her vocals are rather staggering, with a kind of Amy Winehouse vibe mixed with those huge vocals that you get with classic old soul singers.
Find out where you can catch the songstress live at her Facebook page.
Hady Afro Trio
He may be a classical guitarist, but Hady Afro puts out some darn good classic latin jazz tunes when he performs live with his trio. Naturally, Hady takes on the guitar with some mighty impressive classical latin licks that is quite a rare find in Malaysia. Hady Afro and his crew have an upcoming show at No Black Tie on 24 February.
Follow him on Facebook for updates.
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