As some of you that follows my twitter feed and instagram would know, I was at the Penang Island Jazz Festival on the 7th and 8th of December thanks to Malaysia Asia. They even arranged for 2 night stay at the Armenian Street Heritage Hotel (that’ll be for another posting) so I would have a place to snooze between all the activities that is on-going at the #PIJF2013.
What got me so excited about this year’s Penang Island Jazz Festival is the fact that it’s celebrating the 10th year of festivity and the amazing Line-Up they have in store for the fans! Now, it’s not an easy feat to last for 10 years and I do hope they will last for another 10 years and longer! And the line-up for this year was amazing, and Thanks to Malaysia Major Events (a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia.) for hooking me up with some passes.
With the help of all these people, I got a chance to get up and personal with some of the performers of the festival. It’s not often that I have a fan boy moment when it comes to celebrities but I must say that this is one of those rare occasion where I was so star struck that I didn’t know what to do! Anyway, I got to the island on Saturday and got to Bayview Beach Resort at 6pm to meet up with some friends before proceeding to catch the 1st act.
The performance I managed to catch on Saturday was Bihzhu, Michael Schiefel & Carsten Daerr, Yoon Jeong Heo Black String, Okan Ersan Quartet, and the living legend himself with his company, the Freddy Cole Quartet!
And on Sunday, due to some personal matters, I only managed to get there in time to catch the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, Alison Burns & Martin Taylor and ESKA. There were plenty other performers on both days on both the main stage and the fringe area but those I mentioned above was what I aim to catch and boy, what a show by these performers!
Got to meet Okan Ersan and had a chat with him, but no interview stuff, just sat down and talk guitars. He is a Turkish Cypriot jazz fusion guitarist, composer and record artist. Rated as one of best five guitarists of 2003 by the British magazine “Guitarist”, Okan blends rock and jazz to create the eclectic fusion of the grooves and exclusive sounds he platforms his music.
Fun bunch of trio is the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, led by Hedvig, The trio plays a playlist of thrilling free metal with the combination of Hedvig’s overdriven guitar sound along with rhythm drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad and bassist Ellen Brekken.
And there was ESKA, Zimbabwe-born and London-raised composer with a beautiful vocal, her legendary virtuosity has attracted the attentions of a host of acclaimed artists – the likes of Tony Allen and David Sylvian, to name a few and her vocal arrangements have credits on 3 Mercurynominated albums. Supported by Guitarist Joe Newman, Bass Player Hilaire Penda and Drummer Marc Pell, ESKA used her vocals in intriguing ways, layering them to form new levels in the instrumentation, complementing selfpenned compositions and arrangements laid-down by means, both conventional and absolutely not, with invention and expression always paramount in her mind.
Last but not least, this is where my fan boy moment came in, meeting the legendary Freddy Cole, one of his sibling is Nat King Cole in case you are trying to figure out. Lionel Frederick Cole, is the youngest of Edward and Paulina Nancy Cole’s five children. Throughout a music career that has spanned more than 50 years and over 20 albums, Freddy, on piano with vocals – suave, elegant, formidable, and articulate, continues to lead his Quartet made up of himself, guitarist Randy Napoleon, drummer Curtis Boyd and bassist Elias Baile to make beautiful tunes for fans around the world.
Definitely will never forget this trip and the chance to meet all these people let alone the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with them over coffee. Definitely looking forward to the 11th year and see what they have in store for us.