Penang Island Jazz Festival: Malaysia, December 2-5, 2010

Penang Island Jazz Festival: Malaysia, December 2-5, 2010
Ian Patterson BY

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7th Penang Island Jazz Festival
Penang, Malaysia
December 2-5, 2010
There was talk of bringing in a bomoh, or witchdoctor, to chase away the ominous-looking black clouds that hovered over the beachside gardens of the Bayview Hotel, home to the Penang Island Jazz Festival. The south-west monsoon that feeds the lush tropical growth of the island ended in September, but rain had battered down for the previous few days and it looked like more could well spoil the party. The mysterious figure of Richard LaFaber was drafted in to weave his powerful magic, drawing on his knowledge gathered in the deepest jungles of Malaysian Borneo where, they say, he learned to talk to animals, commune with spirits, divine the future and, in a stroke of luck for the festival organizers, control the weather.

As dark clouds gathered and rain fell softly and teasingly, LaFaber—dressed in colorful tribal costume designed to chase away malignant spirits and clutching a sorcerer's stick in his right hand—led the crowd in jampi, an ancient mantra in whose powers many still believe in Malaysia. The effects were almost immediate. The rain stopped, and although the dark clouds hung around no more rain would fall. Periodically, over the two days of the main festival program on the Jazz By The Beach Stage, LaFaber appeared on stage, stony faced, deep in concentration, and ceremoniously released his mantras into the cool evening breeze wafting in from the Straits of Malacca.

The Penang Island Jazz Festival has weathered a few storms over the years, yet in spite of world economic downturn and a reduced budget for the 7th edition of the jazz festival, director Paul Augustin and his loyal team defied the odds and succeeded in putting on the biggest, most ambitious festival to date. Bands from Norway, Germany, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Holland, Australia, South Korea and an encouraging number from Malaysia exhibited a diverse range of styles, many of which flirted around the fringes of jazz but whose common denominator was the creative spirit.

The number of main-stage bands had increased from last year's five to six, and an extra fringe stage gave fourteen Malayan bands, many from Penang itself, the chance to gain some exposure. In addition, the festival staged an impressive Big Band jazz program for the first time in its history. With workshops running from 9.30 am and after-hours jam sessions in the Bayview Hotel's Celsius Bar running well into the wee hours this was a festival of non-stop music and fun.

The first six editions of the Penang Island Jazz Festival has been an experiment in finding the right formula for the festival, a road which director Paul Augustin describes as "bumpy." Supporting activities ranging from photo exhibitions, workshops and talks have been introduced over the years, and Augustin acknowledges that some ideas have worked and others haven't. Nevertheless, it seems as though Augustin and team have got the formula pretty well spot on, with a program where no two bands are alike.

Augustin is also prepared to take a few risks, testing the audience and challenging it with some left-field programming choices and the odd surprise. In the 6th edition, Augustin took a chance and opened the festival with the Island Palm Beach Boys, veterans of the Hawaiian music wave that took root in Malaysia in the 1940s and '50s. The choice was an inspired one, and the dreamy music of the septuagenarians delighted the crowd. This year, Augustin's ambition was to begin the festival with a classical orchestra, "something completely different" as he put it, "to surprise the crowd." The 35-piece Penang Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Penang-born Conductor Woon Wen Kin certainly provided something different, putting on a performance of modern classical pieces, and appropriately, a brief medley of Duke Ellington numbers. Oddly though, the Philharmonic's date at the Penang Island Jazz festival was not mentioned at its official website among the other December appointments and it clearly missed an opportunity to help promote the island's premier music event.

Two of Penang's most famous musical sons, vocalist Ray Rozells and pianist James Boyle joined the orchestra for a couple of numbers, providing an historical link to the development of popular music in Penang in the '40s. Their respective fathers, Joe Rozells, who led the Hawaiian Palm Beach Boys in the '50s, and Jimmy Boyle, Penang's foremost jazz pianist/composer, have left an indelible mark on Malaysian popular music. Ray Rozells bounced onto the stage in a sharp suit, cutting an altogether different figure from the one belting out Sam Cooke, James Brown and Otis Redding numbers and doing scissor jump-kicks at the Hard Rock Hotel the day before—not bad for someone in his sixties. Here, however, he acted more his age —which is not like him —and crooned his way through "Moon River" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way."

Had the orchestra exercised more ambition, perhaps by performing Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez"—which has been recorded by a number of notable jazz figures such as trumpeter Miles Davis and arranger Gil Evans, guitarist Jim Hall, pianist Chick Corea, and the Modern Jazz Quartet—then its inclusion in the program would have made more sense. Nevertheless, the Penang Philharmonic's participation in the 7th Penang Island Jazz Festival was a significant first for classical music in Malaysia, a publicity coup for the festival itself and an indication of director Augustin's willingness to shake things up.

Penang Philharmonic

As in the last couple of editions the festival got underway at the G Hotel, situated on Penang's famous boulevard, Gurney Drive, facing the sea and just a stone's throw from the famous hawker food enclave with its exotic mélange of Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisine. The cozy surroundings of the G Spot lounge played host to German a cappella sextet, Stouxingers. One woman (Katharina Debus) and five men fought heroically against sound system glitches and boorish behavior from a minority in the crowd to provide thrilling entertainment that was breathtaking for its discipline, precision and joyous, free improvisation —imagine half a dozen Bobby McFerrins in gospel-jazz mode and you may begin to get an idea of the breadth of the Stouxingers' imagination.

The rhythm section and groove engine room of the sextet was provided by Karsten Muller—a student of classical opera bass—and multi-instrumentalist Thomas Piontek who played the role of the drums in the group. Muller provided an incredibly deep, grooving bass voice which acted as a kind of fulcrum for the ensemble and, alongside Piontek, the two formed a driving, organic rhythm which was the blood in the veins of the music. Founder, composer and arranger Michael Eimann, Gregorio Hernandez and Konrad Zeiner combined with Debus to create a wonderful polyphony, with Debus bringing a wilder R&B, soul and jazz freedom to her improvisations.

With the first set sung acoustically, and the second set with amplification, the audience was treated to an electrifying set which mostly comprised the Stouxingers' original explorations of pop tunes ranging from The Beatles to Prince. Despite the technically dazzling feat that is undoubtedly required to gel six distinct vocal timbres to such beautiful effect, the key word of the performance was fun, and the sextet clearly derived as much pleasure from performing together as the audience did in listening and observing.

The first two days of the Penang Island Jazz festival were given over to the four fringe stages and, in total, 14 Malaysian bands performed throughout the four days. The fringe side of the festival has grown continuously since its introduction in the third edition and has become an integral part of the program. Initially intended to provide a bit of buzz to the early afternoon, the fringe stages at the Penang Island Jazz Festival serve a much more vital purpose these days, providing as they do an important platform for aspiring young Malaysian groups. It is a sure sign of the growing status of the festival that over 50 bands applied for a fringe spot this year.

Among the fringe highlights were: slap bassist Andy Peterson, a veteran of the Malaysian music scene who displayed outstanding technique; bluesman Raggy and the Raggy project, who explored country-tinged blues with a raw energy; the Aseana Percussion Unit, which rocked the crowd at the Hard Rock Hotel with its world fusion percussive extravaganza; and fine vocal performances, coming from Rozz, the duo of Clair V. Rozells and Allan G Murillon, and Dasha Logan, who fronted Ocean Of Fire, a progressive group who mix up genres in exuberant style with fine individual and group playing. What was lacking on the fringe stages however was jazz, though perhaps the incubators of future small jazz ensembles in Penang will be the big bands who performed in the inaugural Big Band program.

On Saturday, December 4, two big bands played for a sizeable crowd in the Bayview Hotel Ballroom. First up was the PFS Jazz Jam Crew, the youngest of the four big bands, all of whose members are at secondary school. Formed in 2007, its young members gave an impressive performance with bassist Daniel Desman Annuar and drummer Vinod al Elangovan standing out. The second band, the Northern Jazz Ensemble was also formed in '07 with the aim of developing improvisatory skills and promoting mainstream jazz to a public which has little exposure to this music. With members ranging in age from 12 to 60, the band was ably led by Penang jazz stalwart, pianist Jerome Quah, who has been instrumental in bringing this ensemble to the festival, and indeed, for promoting jazz in general in Penang, through his teaching, as well as his advocacy through the active Penang Jazz Community.

Of real note, in a polished performance, was 12 year-old saxophonist Vince De Leon, whose natural flowing style and confident voicing was a revelation. Amazingly, for one so young, he was able to hold his own in the afterhours jam session, alongside saxophonists three or four times his age—definitely a name to watch out for in the future.

The next day saw two more bands strut their stuff on the Ballroom stage; the Jeep Jazz Big Band —in actual fact an eight-piece— led by pianist Razif "Jeep" Mohammad, played a swinging set with two trumpets, trombone, sax and percussion creating rich harmonies. Prior to the performance, "Jeep"—who studied with pianist/composer/arranger Claude Bolling—gave a fascinating workshop on boogie woogie piano. In addition to demonstrating the mechanics of his own skills he also showed videos of masters of the genre such as Albert Hammonds, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis. Arguably, the most impressive of the four big bands was the UPSI Big Band, from the Sultan Idris University of Education. This seventeen-piece band, led by Zamus bin Hashim, played blues as convincingly as it swung, and vocalist Audrey Juing made a great impression on the audience.

Celso Machado

There couldn't have been a bigger contrast between the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra who opened the Jazz By The Beach Stage program and the second act, Brazilian guitarist/composer and percussionist, Celso Machado. Despite having crisscrossed the globe countless times in a career spanning forty years, this was Machado's first time performing in Penang. His style draws not only from Brazil's myriad folk forms but from the rhythms of Africa and the Middle East as well as from classical guitar. In fact, Machado leads classical guitar ensembles from quartets up to octets in his adopted home of Canada and his command of his instrument is total. Throughout the performance he executed dazzling runs up and down the frets, detuning strings along the way and demonstrating the dual influence of classical and folk forms simultaneously.

Machado's palms, finger tips and knuckles exploited the percussive possibilities of his guitar and he used a bottle of water to great effect, sipping a little to adjust the pitch of the voice that he coaxed from it by tapping its base. With his vocal chords and mouth he reproduced the driving sound of the Brazilian qweeka and sang konnakol rhythms whilst accompanying himself on various-sized tambors, all at great speed. Flute and tambor then combined with Machado tapping out rhythm on the tambor with the end of the flute, whilst playing rapid lines on the wind instrument. More than a one-man band, Machado is the carnival come to town.

The very pretty "Boliviano" brought Machado's folk and classical sides together and on another tune he evoked the deep rhythms of West Africa on n'goni, the great grandfather of the banjo as the guitarist described it. "Parazula" again combined different genres, this time with a more percussive bent though it was his evocation of the sounds of the jungle that will linger longest in the collective memory of those fortunate to have witnessed this performance; whistles, shakers and great vocal dexterity conveyed the awakening of the jungle and with the help of the audience he summoned up a growling thunder storm and a rain shower of claps and thigh slaps which was so convincing that bomoh Richard La Faber was twitching nervously at the side of the stage—magical altogether.

A pleasing aspect of the Penang Island Jazz Festival 2010 was the diversity of its acts, and next up was the SC Yun Trio from South Korea with its contemporary piano trio jazz offering. Jazz is enjoying something of a revival in South Korea judging by the number of bands—particularly piano trios—that have sprung up in recent years and given the phenomenal success of the Jarasum International Jazz Festival.

From left: SC Yun, Kim Yeong Jin, Kim In Young

Though drawing on jazz tradition—the trio opened with a lively interpretation of pianist Thelonious Monk's "Evidence"—there was a quite contemporary edge to Yun's approach, with the leader alternating between acoustic and electric piano. With Kim In Young on bass and Kim Yeong Jin on drums attacking the music, there was a dynamic forward momentum to the interplay which generated much excitement. Yun is an original pianist, largely roaming the middle and lower end of the piano, his two hands rarely straying far apart. His curious tendency to avoid the higher registers of the keyboard in no way limits his playing; on the contrary, he mines the middle and lower end of the keyboard with fertile imagination and great touch, captivating with both his finesse and his attack.

A fine set closed with the self-penned "The Show Must Go On," with Yun leading on electric piano over a lovely funk groove from the ever alert Kim In Young and Kim Yeong Jin. Yun is an obvious talent and this trio is clearly one to watch closely in the future.

The wonderfully named Electric Barbarian sent a few ripples of surprise through the crowd with its avant-garde mixture of urban beat poetry, turntable jiggery pokery, and a deep techno-funk groove. There was plenty of energy in the performance although the pace and dynamics varied little. Lead singer Luanda Casella cut a striking figure with her sexy, quasi robotic dance moves which at one inexplicable point included a rather ordinary exhibition of hula hooping. Casella's fast-paced stories recited in Portuguese were the focal point of the music and were reminiscent of singer Gil Scot Heron for their rhythmic quality.

George Pascal's trumpet brought a softer, rounder tone to the music and although a small section of the crowd at the front of the stage were totally seduced by the hard-edged, danceable grooves the majority of the crowd seemed a little nonplussed by the performance. Later that evening in the intimate setting of the Celsius pub, Casella, backed by her sidemen, gave a compelling vocal improvisation—this time in Spanish—suggesting that Electric Barbarian communicates much better in a club environment.

Stouxingers, from left: Michael Eimann, Khatarina Debus Konrad Zeiner, Karsten Muller, Thomas Piontek, Gregorio Hernandez

The Stouxingers' main stage performance at the Penang Island Jazz Festival held the audience captive from first polyphonic chord to last. The rousing, swinging set largely resembled that of the G Spot club performance two nights previously, but this time unencumbered by sound glitches. The Beatles' "All My Loving," and Prince's "Sign of the Times" featured complex though enchanting arrangements. The physical choreography of the band was an important part of the show, both from the technical point of view of realizing voice combinations and for the delightful comic touches that permeated the music, particularly on "Funkjoe." The band was clearly enjoying itself and between numbers founder Michael Eimann declared: "We feel like we're on holiday," a testament to the relaxed, family-and-friends nature of a festival which has as much to do with the organization and running of the event as it has the idyllic location, set between rolling hills covered in tropical vegetation and white beach lapped by blue sea.

Whether singing a ballad, as on the lovely adaptation of the William Shakespeare sonnet "Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day?," or funking it up on "Jungle Boogie," the Stouxingers' rather special chemistry resulted in a potent, intoxicating musical brew which was technically jaw-dropping and downright enjoyable in equal measure.

Saturday's program came to its conclusion with a blast from the past in the form of Carefree, a Malaysian funk/R&B band formed in 1975. Carefree disbanded in'82, but 28 years later the original members were persuaded to reunite for a benefit concert and, based on the success of this comeback, Paul Augustin convinced them to fill the headline slot on Saturday. After a hiatus of close to three decades the band could be excused slight ring rustiness but nevertheless its enthusiastic performance moved a sizeable section of the crowd to boogie on down to the riffing horn section and funky rhythms which echoed the Average White Band.

Attractions other than the music on offer at the Penang Island Jazz Festival included several exhibitions of note. The jazz photography of world renowned photographer William Ellis drew plenty of admirers. Ellis has the same knack of making his subjects comfortable that the late Herman Leonard had, resulting in photos of great intimacy, whether they be live action shots or more composed portraits. Festival goers could also appreciate the ORIS Jazz Legends collection of photos or ponder the artful posters of past editions of the Montreux Jazz Festival from '68 to this year's festival of '10. It would have been nice to have had a list of the artists who participated in each edition, to see how the festival has grown and changed its spots over the years, something for the Montreux Jazz festival and the Swiss Embassy—who supported the exhibition—to consider in the future.

Unfortunately, a photographic exhibition chronicling the development of popular music in Penang in the '40s and '50 to be displayed in the Penang State Museum in the downtown World Heritage site of Georgetown was postponed, although it will run from the December 19 until mid-January, 2011. These turbulent years saw devastating bombing during World War II, vicious Japanese occupation, subsequent British administration—which was not without the rod—and bloody insurrection.. In spite of the political turmoil, and perhaps because of it, these were hugely fertile years for music and the cross pollination of various styles from an ethnically diverse population resulted in a musical scene unmatched to this day. One of the long-term aims of festival director Augustin and his team is to make the Penang Island Jazz festival an island-wide celebration, and if they can achieve this then they will have gone a long way to recreating something of the musical vibrancy of mid 20th century Penang.

The final day of the Penang Island Jazz Festival was a music-packed marathon which ran from 9.30 am with the first workshop of the day until 3am the following morning with the rousing afterhours session and closing party. For the early birds the reward was an infectious drum circle workshop which brought together festival goers from the age of five to 75. Conducted by Paul Lau and Edwin Nathaniel and the enthusiastic members of the Aseana Percussion Unit, the workshop demonstrated the rhythmic pulse inside each and every one. A bonus in a greatly entertaining session was Celso Machado's participation, bringing bags of enthusiasm to the circle.

After the workshops and fringe performances the final evening kicked off with Malaysian guitarist Roger Wang's trio. This premiered and much travelled musician led drummer Peter Lau and bassist Simon Lau through a set comprised of highly melodic covers which highlighted his talent as an acoustic guitarist of refinement, culminating in a heartfelt rendition of Santana's classic "Europa."

Boi Akhi, from left: Sandip Bhattcharya, Monica Akihary, Niels Brouwer

The trio of vocalist Monica Akihary, guitarist Niels Brouwer and Indian percussionist Sandip Bhattcharya—otherwise known as Boi Akih—has been playing together since 2004, and the deep empathy between the three was apparent in a thrilling performance, where the rhythms of India fused with Akihary's Haruku language of the Moluccan islands of Indonesia and some breathless improvisation from all three.

A defining characteristic of Boi Akih's music is Akihary's vocal improvisation: one minute, her voice screeching like car wheels spinning around a corner; the next, evoking tropical bird song, as on the lovely "When Evening Falls." Earlier in the day at Boi Akih's workshop/Q&A session a local classically trained singer asked Akihary how she saved her voice to which Akihary replied: "I don't. I take my voice everywhere I want to go; I try to find everywhere my voice can go."

This trio is, however, very much a sum of its parts and the interplay between Brouwer and Bhattcharya, whether trading konnakol vocals or engaging in lightening instrumental passages of tremendous precision and power, was riveting. Their musical language bore comparison to that of guitarist John McLaughlin and tablaist Zakir Hussain; in effect, Boi Akih is akin to a stripped down version of Shakti, though Brouwer brings an African color to his strings which is absent from McLaughlin's playing.

A new composition featured a mantra-like riff from Brouwer over which Bhattcharya executed a stunning table solo. "Sunset" brought a wonderfully vibrant set to its conclusion with the three musicians center stage, singing in the same close harmony that emanated from their playing.

Azerbaijan is better known for its oil wealth than for its jazz, though the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of the capital Baku may provide the seeds for the development of jazz by the Black Sea. Saxophonist Rain Sultanov is the leading jazz figure from Azerbaijan Republic and has performed with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and pianist Bobo Stenson. His quartet gave a highly tuned performance of varied pace and undulating intensity with the leader's meaty tenor voice at the center.

The opening number, "City of Jazz" had a Michael Brecker-ish feel to it, with the rhythm section of bassist Rusian Huseynov and drummer Ramin Sultanov buoyant. Pianist Elchin Shirinov's explorative playing was equally propulsive. The slower "Memories of Baku" featured a decidedly delicate touch on piano from the impressive Shriinov accompanied by wonderfully resonant bass lines. "Island of Jazz"—a new composition named on the spot and dedicated to the people of Penang—was baptized with some lively group interplay which took the quartet out on a high and to great applause.

PELbO, from left: Ine Hoern, Chris Lo

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting performances of the 7th edition of the Penang Island Jazz festival—and perhaps the most unorthodox—came from Norwegian three-piece PELbO, winners of the coveted Nordic Jazz Comets Competition in '09. The tuba is not uncommon in the progressive music scene in Norway but few attack it with such boppish ferocity as Chris Lo. In between playing, he prowled the stage with seeming intent, like a caged tiger, and leapt off stacks of stage equipment. He brought a punk rock energy to the set and it wouldn't have been too much of a surprise had he trashed his tuba like Pete Townsend of The Who did with his guitar. Drummer Trond Bersu added to the spectacle by thrashing his sizeable kit with a polyrhythmic fury worthy of a young Carl Palmer.

Vocalist Ine Hoern was a charismatic presence herself, threading her pure-toned voice through a loop board and providing stark contrast to Lo and Bersu's frenetic jazz-rock. This is a trio which defies attempt at categorization; one minute the bell of Lo's tuba was howling into the percussive avalanche of Bersu's drums, like saxophonist John Coltrane going toe-to-toe with drummer Rashied Ali, and the next minute Hoern was singing a gentle ballad, accompanying herself on the softly plucked kalimba. PELbO gave out a great deal of energy and received it back from an audience which is clearly open to such experimental music.

It took seven years for the Penang Island Jazz festival to tempt guitarist Tommy Emmanuel to perform here and there was a palpable excitement among staff and public alike in the days leading up to the concert. Emmanuel's workshop that afternoon had fairly packed the Bayview Hotel Ballroom where the Australian guitar legend demonstrated his finger picking style. Emmanuel also spoke of his early mentor, guitarist Chet Atkins, whom he had first heard on the radio as an eight year-old, an experience which was clearly the defining moment of his life. Emmanuel carries on a rich tradition which stretches back beyond Atkins and Merle Travis to Arnold Schwarz, a black Kentucky coal miner who is credited with developing the finger picking style which Emmanuel has taken to new heights.

Watching Emmanuel's incredible technique it was tempting to conclude that his talent is innate, yet he reminded a host of aspiring young guitarist at his workshop that it all stems from long hours of practice. When asked by one youngster how he manages to play when he has blisters he replied: "If you get blisters you're not playing enough. I play with my calluses."

A medley of Beatles numbers got the set off to a lively start and was followed by Emmanuel's interpretations of songs by Merle Travis and Elvis Presley. The swagger in Emmanuel's stage presence is his inner metronome marking time and rhythmically he's about as swinging a guitarist as you'll find. His incredibly fast runs and percussive accompaniment brought whoops and cheers from the crowd— not for nothing was Emmanuel voted "Best Acoustic Guitarist 2010," by Guitar Player Magazine. He slowed things down a little with a delightful version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and his own compositions, "Haba Na Haba" from Little by Little (Favored Nation Records, 2010) and "Those Who Wait" revealed a sensitive composer.

The anticipated incendiary playing that had characterized much of the set was laid aside for the set closer, a softly voiced rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" to mark the 30th anniversary of his murder—and, with the crowd in fine voice, to celebrate his timeless music.

Tommy Emmanuel

The unenviable task of following Emmanuel's blistering, roof-raising performance and of bringing the festival top a close fell to ZHAN, a young jazz quartet which was making its international debut. Bassist Rozhan Razman and drummer John Thomas have been playing together for more than a decade and they formed a dynamic, deeply grooving rhythm section in an energetic set of post-bop jazz which was as compelling for the arrangements as it was for the strong collective and individual playing.

Pianist/keyboardist Rie Tsuji was outstanding; a highly versatile musician, Tsuji is a classically trained pianist who currently plays in Beyonce's band. As she demonstrated with her exciting, free-flowing solos and intelligent comping, jazz is another idiom in which she feels completely at home. Saxophonist Nicole Duffel also impressed as a soloist with a personal voice, free of cliché.

A group of aspiring young drummers gathered at the front right-hand side of the stage behind the speaker stack to observe Thomas's playing up close. His drum solo in the middle of "The Enemy" was a model of imagination and panache, and it was easy to see why he is one of the most sought-after drummers on Malaysia.

A set of striking originals climaxed with a fresh take on saxophonist Wayne Shorter's "Footprints"' which moved between slow impressionistic movement to a powerful funk-based groove, with Tsuji and Duffel stretching out in uninhibited manner. The crowd had thinned out a tad following Emmanuel's set, but more fool those who thought the festival had reached its climax with the Australian finger picker, for ZHAN surely rose to the occasion and delivered a storming performance worthy of festival headliners.

ZHAN, from left: Rie Tsuji, Rozhan Razman, Nicole Duffel

With record crowds over the four days the Penang Island Jazz Festival has perhaps turned a corner in its efforts to establish itself. Certainly, the festival stands alone in its committed effort to promote Malaysian musicians, not only in the fringe program but on the main stage as well. In just a few short years it has earned a reputation as an important festival on the regional calendar, and, with nothing comparable in Kuala Lumpur, Penang can arguably lay claim to being the nation's jazz capital. The eclectic mixture of small combo jazz, Big Band Jazz, fringes of jazz experimentation, roots music, and, the wholly unpredictable, mean that the Penang Island Jazz Festival—seven years young— can also stake a reasonable claim to being the premier musical event in Malaysia, and one worth traveling for.

Photo Credits

Page 1, Top: Wong Horng Yih

Page 1, Bottom: Anusha Peterson
Page 2: Adam Chew

Page 3: Top Photo: Jerome Quah

Page 3, Bottom Photo: Anusha Peterson

Page 4: Anusha Peterson
Page 5: Top Photo: Anusha Peterson

Page 5, Bottom Photo: Courtesy of www.wartajazz.com

Page 6: Sanjiv Daevin

Page 7, Top Photo: Adam Chew

Page 7, Bottom Photo: Anusha Peterson

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