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Thailand International Jazz Conference: Bangkok, Thailand, January 27-29, 2012

Thailand International Jazz Conference: Bangkok, Thailand, January 27-29, 2012
Carla Marie Rupp By

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4th Thailand International Jazz Conference
Mahidol University College of Music, Salaya,
Bangkok, Thailand
January 27-29, 2012

The strong Jazz Studies Department at the College of Music, Mahidol University, makes it possible to host an impressive international annual jazz conference. Committee members literally plan the event throughout the year, and are already working hard on the 2013 schedule.
The successful, multifaceted, and well-organized Thailand International Jazz Conference (TIJC) 2012 brought in noted jazz musicians from the United States, expats, and well-known locals to come together for a long weekend of sharing music and ideas. The fourth annual conference, held in the green setting of the university's Salaya campus located just a short commute outside of busy Bangkok, was the largest yet
Invited musicians held clinics throughout the day, and performed to enthusiastic audiences during the evening in the warm, tropical open air. American headliners this year included the Benny Green Trio, with Green (piano), Rodney Green (drums), and Ben Wolfe (bass); Marcus Strickland Quartet, with Marcus Strickland (saxophone), David Bryant (piano), Ben Williams (bass), and his brother E.J. Strickland (drums); and Taylor Eigsti and David Hart Group, which included Eigsti (piano), Dr. Hart (trumpet), Zachary Ostroff (bass), and Ted Poor (drums).
"It's been amazing! We're absolutely thrilled to be here in beautiful Thailand," said Dr. Hart.

"I love you Thailand, thank you for inviting us here. It's a great honor," said Marcus Strickland to his concert audience, echoing the other American's sentiments.

Each of the headliners brought their expertise in jazz performance. They shared their academic views on various aspects of jazz at the conference, even bringing Thai jazz students on stage to share their knowledge and tips with them and answer questions. Held in the Nakhon Pathom section of Bangkok over the marvelously long, enriching weekend, the event aimed to further develop Thailand's prowess in jazz, with special guidance from the talented American jazz artists, Thai jazz experts and international performers.

The goal of Thailand's jazz community at TIJC is to head towards "the Society of Knowledge—the Society of Happiness," according to a motto of the jazz conference. This rare, special event is expected to continue annually, with its vibrant festival atmosphere. It certainly lived up to this aim this year. It was happiness through music—jazz—that anyone who loves real jazz would love.

The concert segment of the conference, always a highlight, "sees the coming together of world-renowned jazz artists from the genre's mother country, the United States," reported pre-conference coverage by Manote Tripathi in The Nation newspaper, one of Bangkok's dailies in the English language. The American jazz musicians from "the mother country" genuinely appreciated their invitation to the university for the unique music conference and sincerely thanked the event organizers, sponsors and the audience.

"This has been a very memorable time in Thailand. It's my first time performing here, and it's been great! It's off the chain fun," said Marcus Strickland.

"Thanks for treating us all so well; for showing us that people can get together from all over the world and be peaceful—and happy. It's a good feeling!" said Benny Green after his musical set on the final night, blowing kisses to the audience and giving them a "wai," a traditional greeting of placing the two palms of your hands together above your heart. His set included songs such as "Golden Flamingo" and "La Portuguesa," ("for a very beautiful woman")—that he wrote in a Mahidol practice room the day before, after his conference workshop.

Besides the United States and Thailand, some of the musical participants who live in Thailand originated from countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Denmark and Russia. Jacob Dinesen (Denmark), Koh Mr. Saxman (Thailand), and Dr. Robert Knop (USA), each presented separate approaches to jazz saxophone- playing. Bassists who gave workshops included Ben Wolf, who talked about the role of the bass in an ensemble, and Ostroff, who offered technical details on how to get a good bass sound. Jazz pianists who enlightened their audiences in hands-on, lively talks were Kom Wongsawat, Benny Green and Eigsti ("You can get cooler chords using your favorite hand positions.") Drummers E.J. Strickland, Rodney Green and Poor (finding an identity was his topic) brought their knowledge in well-attended sessions.


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