Tuesday, July 31, 2012

馬來西亞管弦樂的溃散 [the MPO debacle]



the latest statement from International Federation of Musicians (IFM).....

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You may have seen recent advertisements for positions in the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, to be held in New York, in October, 2012. There are several very important reasons why one should NOT attend these auditions: and more – why the musicians in the MPO need all of your support in answering the advertisement, via email, to the managers, board of directors, and M.D. as to “WHY I AM NOT ATTENDING YOUR AUDITIONS!”

Earlier this year, the new orchestra CEO – Nor Raina, appointed by the parent petroleum company PETRONAS – sent “non-renewal” notices (effectively “termination”) to 9 key musicians in the orchestra, apparently for NO REASON whatsoever. These NINE players have been employed 5 years, 9 years, 12 years, and in 4 cases, 14 years. Almost all of the players have families, most with young children. This CEO, with absolutely no music background, has never spoken face to face with any of the ‘dismissed’ musicians. The M.D., Claus Peter Flor, has remained virtually silent on the action, but has insisted that the decisions were beyond his control. His denials have been met with skepticism by the musicians…

Dismissed are: Concertmaster, Co-Concertmaster, Tutti 1st Violin (Orchestra Committee Chairman…!), Tutti Viola (wife of Orchestra Committee Chairman…!), Section Percussion (also Orchestra Committee member …!), Principal Timpani, Principal Trombone. Also included are Principal Piano and another Section Viola (Piano position is being cut, and 2nd violist is past retirement age, so they are unable to take legal action.) The other seven positions are now being advertised for the NEW YORK auditions. These SEVEN, however, have filed legal action with the Industrial Relations Court, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The file has been sent already to the Labour Minister for review and probable referral to a court hearing.

Management has consistently declared “NO REASON” for selecting these 7 players – and destroying their livelihoods. Now, however, the new contracts are out to the remaining 70 musicians, and the “reasons” seem a little more explainable… and indecent. These seven players, and the Orchestra Committee, would most certainly be the voices of the orchestra in protesting the changes and disrespect that this new contract represents to the musicians. Now, however, the intimidation effect of firing these seven has assured management of little or no resistance in getting it signed and accomplished. Musicians were asked to sign and return the new contracts within a few days.

If these were not reasons enough to boycott the MPO auditions – it gets even more serious: The“new musicians” being sought by management, to fill these 9 chairs, and 23 other vacancies are being offered much reduced contracts. New members will be signing for 20 – 25% LESS pay than existing members – replacing illegally dismissed, long-term, dedicated musicians, with scaled down contracts.

This, in itself, is an affront to the music profession, and symphony orchestra standards. The concept of FIRING long term musicians only to try their luck at hiring slightly cheaper ones, is disgraceful and beyond most decent people’s moral comprehension. ANYONE WHO TAKES THIS AUDITION, AND FILLS THESE SPOTS, WILL BE JUSTIFYING THE MPO MANAGEMENT’S ACTIONS AS A FINANCIAL SUCCESS. Further, the remaining 70 musicians and their families will simply become ‘corporate targets’ for further “cost-cutting” strategies. Fire another 10 or 20? Reduce some more costs? Beyond this, the current audition procedure is completely corrupt and without standard voting procedures. Will you waste your time and money on this type of audition?
As well, anyone receiving a contract offer had better read some of the new clauses VERY CAREFULLY. The usage of “Fixed Term Contract”, is widespread in this document – and is the management’s way out for cutting any musician at the end of any term, without cause or reason. You will not be treated as an “employee”, or be regarded as “having tenure”. Can you build a future on this uncertainty?

Musicians around the world are therefore kindly requested to do the following
  • Write a Reply to the MPO Audition ad, stating the “REASONS I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING YOUR AUDITIONS:”
  • Refer to industry standards that they are abandoning.
  • Let them know that THE WORLD knows what is going on in MALAYSIA, and the total disrespect they are showing to professional musicians. The Board of Directors must realize that the new CEO is destroying the reputation of a once great orchestra, and is harming the reputation of Malaysia at the same time.

our views:

DFP (dewan filharmonik petronas) and its resident orchestra MPO have certainly brought fame to malaysia over the last decade. but how it degenerated into a big loss-making venture is anyone's guess.

sure, they pay huge sums to foreign musicians in the orchestra (at least Rm15K a month) and they have every right to severe the employment contract to cut loss or to reduce costs but perhaps they didn't do it in the most professional manners.     

all we know is there is so much politics and politicking inside that make working with DFP so hard. those who get to perform there are those who got "connections" with the top management. we were once told to simply "rent the hall", costing  RM60++K a night. 

how this develops into an international debacle tarnishing the reputation of DFP./MPO, we shall see. but we are not too confident that petronas can rescue this failure in the near term without a total change of management and policies.    

流行與爵士樂的交會點 [exclusive interview by audio art taiwan]

流行與爵士樂的交會點-專訪Pop Pop Music創辦人Leslie Loh
洪瑞鋒 2012-07-27

在一手製作暢銷華語發燒專輯「2V1G」之後,來自的馬來西亞的Leslie Loh除了是位資深音響迷外,更多了專輯製作人的身份。集結資金創立了Pop PopMusic,打著「品味音樂.優質生活」的理念,企圖在外界不看好的華語市場中,走出屬於自己的爵士音樂路。

本次來台的除了Pop PopMusic的創辦人Leslie Loh之外,還有同行的Pop Pop Music營業經理Shiya Sia。最左邊的則是Joy Audio老闆Jimmy



 


這張為先前合作過的何芸妮量身訂做的「靡靡之音」,是Leslie Loh認為Pop Pop Music最巔峰的作品。編曲找來馬來西亞近期竄紅的知名爵士鋼琴手鄭澤相負責,並與一群國際樂手一同合作,將鄧麗君的歌曲以爵士編制進行改編,當初怎麼會有這想法?

Leslie Loh:「在前幾年做完「2V1G」之後,其實市場熱烈的反應超出我們預期,這也讓我們有更多的資源可以去作未來我們想做的事。從去年開始,我們創立的 PopPop Music開始轉型成全新的音樂品牌,一個全新的中文爵士音樂,這是華人音樂市場目前少有人在做的事,而這張「靡靡之音」就是我們企劃已久的全新作品。

在 做這個張專輯之前,我們就先想過要怎樣讓老一輩的發燒迷也聽我們的音樂?採用他們較熟悉的鄧麗君歌曲似乎是個不錯的點子,但市面上已經太多這類「對鄧麗君 致敬」的專輯,因此我們要做出全然不同的作品,最後我們選擇以爵士樂作包裝,透過全新編曲讓歌曲更有新意,這其中擦出的火花會很精彩。在選曲上,我們刻意 不去模仿、或迎合大眾口味,因此不找太多人翻唱過的歌曲,如《月亮代表我的心》、《甜蜜蜜》…等。反而找一些市場上較少人注意的歌曲,透過編曲重新包裝讓 聽眾再次認識它。」


Leslie Loh對於Pop Pop Music想要做的音樂作品有很明確的概念,在他的一手掌舵下,相信會讓更多人聽見不一樣的音樂類型。


Pop Pop Music向來走在質不在量的精緻化作品,從歌手、樂器、編曲,你可以很容易找出它與一般流行專輯的不同定位。若你有聽過「2V1G」,就知道即便是兩個 女聲搭配一把吉他這般簡易的編曲,也能唱出截然不同的歌曲面貌。這不僅樂手要具水準,歌手的唱功更是了得。這次再度與何芸妮合作,有何感想?

Leslie Loh:「何芸妮是絕對是我個人非常欣賞的歌手,尤其她的音色非常迷人,這是我在評斷一位歌手第一重視的條件。我常開玩笑講,在製作專輯時即便製作人與歌手多少會因理念不合而有摩擦,但每次當她唱起歌,我就融化了,什麼都原諒她了。」(笑)

除了歌手,本張專輯最大的賣點就是請來一批國際樂手一同為專輯錄音,透過鄭澤相的編曲,即便唱著熟悉的鄧麗君歌曲也能讓人從中感受到不同的樂趣。從「2V1G」的一把吉他唱到底,到現在「靡靡之音」中有更多豐富的樂器配置,在製作專輯上有何不同之處?

Leslie Loh:「這次編曲皆由馬來西亞著名的爵士鋼琴手鄭澤相負責,他真的是一個非常有才華的人,透過他獨特的編曲,讓樂器有很獨立的自我個性。同時,我們希望 這張專輯的歌手與樂器是可以互相對話的,也就是說,從歌手的情緒、樂器的聲音表情、到旋律與歌詞的搭襯都是一個很完整的表演。像專輯中的自創曲《青鳥》, 是編曲中唯一使用弦樂編制的歌曲。透過弦樂的搭襯,歌曲給予你的感覺會很飄、很浮,好像漫遊在雲端的那種自在感;而《千言萬語》,則是有聽過「2V1G」 專輯的人會很熟悉的編曲,就是透過一把吉由RogerWang負責彈奏。最後我必須說專輯中《南海姑娘》的編曲是很大膽的,很少人聽過這麼輕快的版本,中 間更插入知名的Bossa Nova名曲《The Girl FromIpanema》,而我相信這創新是很成功的。因為先前我在馬來西亞一個專門播放7、80年代的老歌的電台,聽到VJ前後先播放了鄧麗君與王菲的 《南海姑娘》,隨後也播放了何芸妮的版本,我覺得這是很大的肯定,讓他們各自有不同年代的代表性,我很開心。


在未來Leslie Loh不排除與台灣歌手合作,尋找具潛力的全新聲音。


最後Leslie Loh提到這次為了宣傳「靡靡之音」他們採用不同的包裝方式,希望透過演唱會讓更多人認識何芸妮、認識PopPop Music、認識「靡靡之音」。

Leslie Loh:「何芸妮今年在馬來西亞開了四場演唱會,第一場是售票,其餘三場是由企業包場。這在馬來西亞是很罕見的,媒體也覺得為什麼一個爵士音樂會可以讓聽 眾如此瘋狂?這都是音樂統籌鄭澤相與歌手何芸妮的功勞。她唱現場的爆發力是厲害的,那由內而外的音樂感染力會讓下面的聽眾站起來跟著跳舞。我希望日後能有 機會來台灣辦這種爵士音樂會,關於這點我們會再討論。」

 


本次「靡靡之音」一共發行「普通流行版」(售 價:480元)與「終極發燒版」(售價:680元)兩個版本。兩者的混音與母帶後製皆有所不同,前者的混音師較注重人聲,適合一般聽眾,而後者則較兼顧歌 曲中的人聲與樂器的平衡度,適合家中有音響系統的發燒友。兩種版本在JoyAudio皆有現貨供應。

代理商》Joy Audio
電話》(02)2311-9566
地址:台北市中華路 2 段 75 巷 6 號 ( 近中華路、和平西路口 )

Monday, July 30, 2012

台北,台北 [taipei, taipei]


rainy day on arrival

3rd time in taipei and third summer in taipei! we promise our next visit will coincide with spring or autumn!

taipei is a city of refinement. refinement in language, food, culture, music ... the more we probe into this city, the more we fall in love with it.

altho' this is a business trip, we wasted no time in discovering more facets about this city, like the amazing back alleys of taipei. if you haven't been to the back alleys of taipei, you haven't been to taipei. there is so much food, food, food and yes, 7-11 at every nook and corner! taipei must boast of the highest population of 7-11 premises in the world!

the bread and bakery shops in taipei are also exceptional creative.  this shop in the picture, recommended by jimmy of joy audio, our distributor in taiwan, has a big variety of breads and cookies, a paradise for ladies who are fond of bakery and stuff.  
   

bread shops aplenty in taipei

hotel rate in taipei starts from Rm250, something which we are not too keen to spend on. so we decided to stay in hostels which charge around RM80-RM100 per night. this place we stayed in, the star hostel, comes highly recommended. it is apartment style, with small and compact rooms which are clean and classy.  the staff are super friendly. the facilities are adequate for travelers on the budget. the bonus is, it is located in the heart of taipei!

star hostel: wonderful apartment -style budget accomodation

there is nothing special about 101. the mall is so high-end and not  as friendly as KLCC. but if you wanna check out a big erection of a building, then it is worth it!



our fave chain bookstore, eslite, is as great as ever, altho' we could feel that the CD department is not doing as well. still, we bought a few rare CDs.


eslite in xin yi HQ, CD department
  
the real purpose of the trip is to meet this audiophile extraordinaire, mr leo yeh, who not only is a young successful banker, he also owns a very famous hi-fi forum and hifi e-zine. his showroom in the back alley, is so high-class that we feel embarrassed to step in! compared to the showroom in KL, leo's showroom exudes class, good tastes and refinement. dang, everything in taipei is about refinement! leo interviewed us for an article on pop pop music and our latest album, winnie ho's "the jazzy sounds". leo later brought us to steamboat restaurant, taipei style, no less. it was delicious and the soup was yummy!

the towering leo yeh, audiophile extraordinaire

now the best part, live music in taipei! EZ-5 has been established for more than 20 years and it is now even listed as a tourist spot! it is the key grooming ground for taipei's best talents, including tiger huang, peng jia hui, jam xiao and many more, before they became famous. it was a friday night we went and it was packed to the brim. no wonder, because the singers were all from 星光幫, the reality singer show's past contestants. they included lai min wei 賴銘偉 and lin xin yi 林欣儀, all well known singers by now. the atmosphere is warm and the crowd, average in their mid-20s,  applauded generously. and guess what, the cover charge is NTD800 (RM90) and the young crowd can afford it! this is something like a dream in KL live scene, as you can't even ask people to pay more than RM50 in no black tie!

EX-5 livehouse, great ambience, great crowd!

        
賴銘偉 live!

next, we will publish our interview article with another magazine, audio art!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

我希望你找到真愛 [i wish you love]

 
pavillon the venue fully conquered. she has learned how to conquer the audience. we are mighty pleased to see her progress into the big league. we feel proud. an eye for talent is not enough for talent alone is not enough, it is her hardwork that shapes her into what she is today.
 征服。 他已懂得征服聽眾。 看到她有今天的功力, 有點驕傲。 慧眼固然重要, 天分固然重要, 但她的努力才是關鍵。

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

她有千言萬語和你訴說 [she has a thousand words]




winnie ho's thousand words to her fans on last saturday's mini show at bentley music auditorium.

catch her performance at pavillion the venue tonight @ 9:30 pm!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

超炫廣播 [radio gaga]

senior celebrity DJs anchoring FM103


if there is one thing that internet doesn't or hasn't killed, it is the radio stations. most folks working 9-to-5 jobs still tune in to radios when they drive to work, or are stuck in KL's infamous traffic jams.

the problem with malaysian radio stations is most of them are format radio, meaning the DJs have absolutely no choice over song selections, it is the program director who dictates what songs to play. and sadly because of this, most songs are played to death. how many times you'd listened to "you to me are everything" on light and easy? sometimes, it could be 5 times a day, jesus christ!

second problem is, most DJs are shallow and noisy/annoying to the max! for "mature uncle" listeners like yours truly, we just want music, good music, music for our era, minus the incessant verbal diarrhea.

for local chinese radio stations, things are no better,  because of the many commercial factors and the target audience. chinese radio stations here wants the latest hits (mostly thrash), targets the youngest crowd (mostly students or young adults!). i am not sure who their advertisers are but to me, this segment of listeners have the least buying power!

most local chinese radio stations have closed their doors to our albums/songs, save for one and two, and even then, with limited air-time. they find our music not suitable to their target audience, which is understandable. we don't harbor grudges against them but we were silently waiting for the break of a new dawn. deep inside, we were telling ourselves: "let's see if the top management wakes up from their slumber and start catering music for the crowd with buying power?".   

it took astro over one decade to realize that they have grossly ignored a niche segment in the market: the over 30 year-olds. these people would be senior executives, department heads, or senior managers or business owners, the ones with the real money to spend. aiya, just to reveal you the open secret la, it is also our target.    

FM103 comes like a breath of fresh air, playing songs that uncles like us would recognize, 7 times out of 10. it makes guessing the next song so much more exciting. in the past, i don't listen much to chinese radio stations, but now i am tuned in to FM103! and the best part, the DJs,  mostly senior DJs with experience and maturity, do take the time to talk about their memories of the song, who was the singer and how it relates to them. i thought this is incredible. experiential sharing! so much better than yakking with no substance!

so, uncles and aunties, tune in to FM103 and find a new hobby in radio listening while driving or being stuck in massive jams!

if budget permits and if their ad slots are reasonably priced, we may consider advertising in FM103! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

南海姑娘來咯! [Free High-Res 96/24 download!]



This is a free service extended to readers of this blog and we hope if you like it enough, you would buy the new "definitive audiophile version", which will be making its debut at Friday's KL International AV show at j.w.marriot hotel. Do look out for InterGlobal Music stall, our distributor, which is located at Level 4! 

Here's the download instructions:

1) Please paste this link onto your browser

http://www.poppop-music.com/thegirlfromsouthsea2496.wav

Please be patient with the download! It is a HUGE file!

2)  Once the file is properly downloaded, right click on your mouse to save the source (a WAV file) onto your pc hard drive.  depending on your browser, this service may be chargeable. For example,  if you use Apple QuickTime, you need QuickTime Pro, which is chargeable. If you use Google Chrome, then this service is totally FOC. So, please explore with your browser.

3) Sit back and enjoy the most unorthodox "The Girl From South Sea" ever!

for this song, we engaged some of the best musicians in the scene. they include percussionist valtinho anastacio from brazil, trumpeter eddy wen, saxophonist julian chan and of course our maestro painist-cum-arranger tay cher siang from malaysia.

tay cher siang's idea of this bold arrangement is inspired by the fact that "the girl from south sea" was written by a malaysian composer in the 70s, so he could be inspired by jobim's "girl from ipanema" which carries the same sentiments lyrically, so why not fuse the two versions together and have a fabulous crossover? yes, indeed, that was how the arrangement was born!

mixing and mastering is done by nick lee of the ark studios, one of the leading engineers in malaysia.  

this definitive version emphasizes more on the instruments and overall musicality (unlike the normal edition, which is more vocals-centric). it has better palpability, bass (lows), highs, separation and imaging etc etc, compared to the normal edition.

please blast out the volume and enjoy the full carnival-like atmosphere that's the spirits of this samba-bossa nova hit song!    

週年慶促銷 [anniversary promotion]



we are two-year old this month (based on the registration of our company with ROC) , yes, it has been two glorious years of non-stop action.

we are feeling generous and we would like to give, give and give!    

yes, this is unbelievable but it is true. we are giving away one free CD for every purchase of winnie ho's definitive audiophile edition of "the jazzy sounds of teresa teng"! all you have to pay is  RM49.90!

bonnie lam "remembering danny chan" album boasts of great recording, the best from keith yip, our partner in HK. the cd alone is worth RM54

this special offering will debut at interglobal stall at friday's KLIAV (KL international AV show) at J.W.Marriot hotel and is limited to only 300 copies. retail wise,  it is still exclusively distributed by popular CD-RAMA and they would carry the stock a week later.

besides boosting a 30% superior recording quality, a special feature is the UNIQUE SERIAL NUMBER (from 001-300) on the album cover  to make collecting worthwhile. this is the first time we are imprinting a unique number. well, we feel that this is our best album to-date and it is worth remembering in more ways than one!

to-date,  the normal edition of winnie's album has sold over 2,000 copies and this is something quite remarkable in trying times like these.

to those dinosaurs who say we spoil teresa teng's music, eat your heart out, sour grapes!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

前途無量的曲婉婷 [she leaves me wan ting more (part 1)]


the chinese pop scene has reached a stalemate, something like 10 years ago, with no apparent talents left. even the likes of jay chou and lee hom have somewhat lost their appeal to the korean acts, who are sexier and are better eye-candy. in short, it is heading nowhere and is in dire need of an injection of new talents. 

typical chinese-based composers (all over the world) are all scratching the bottom of the barrel to come out with something refreshing, something that could shock the world and take it by storm. unfortunately, they fail because their bottleneck is still very much limited by their talents and lack of creativity.

to break the stalemate, you need composers who are out of the norm, who don't listen to mass produced chinese ballads (or K-songs) and - this is the key - someone who is westernized enough in their thinking, listening habit, education and upbringing so that they could come out with new melodies and harmonies. in the past, we have tanya chua from singaporea, cheer chen from taiwan and more recently joanna wang, singer songwriters who managed to break the old-fashioned mould and created some sort of new wave for chinese pop. brilliant as they are, they still failed to win the mainstream crowd in a BIG way because their tunes are not BIG enough.  

what do we mean by BIG? BIG means it appeals to the current generation and across ages; it appeals to the layman who don't necessary listen too much to music. BIG means it can be used as movie soundtrack. BIG means it can rule the world.

here comes someone, not even pretty but with talents so huge that she raises your eyebrow beyond just  "ok. something new" or the typical "oh i see".     

she is Qu Wan Ting, a girl from harbin but educated in canada, currently signed to the top music label in canada, netwerk music.

to be continued....  


Thursday, July 12, 2012

陳昇, 約定你啦! [mark your calendar: 26th july!]



the (old) bad boy of chinese folk, mr bobby chen (sheng) will be coming to the pavilion's The  Venue on 26th July 2012!

bobby, now all uncle with big tummy, used to be the oriental bob dylan of sorts and his unconventional love songs are well cherished by the most intellectual of chinese pop lovers.

he is coming and we are screaming! The Venue must have spent a fortune to get him coming to KL but nobody is complaining, right? 

please make a booking cos it is gonna be packed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

回饋時間![reward time!]



partnering with popular CD-RAMA, we are giving buyers of winnie ho's album a freebie: a mini showcase of "the jazzy sounds of teresa teng" at bentley music auditorium on next saturday 21st july, from 3pm-4pm!

all you need is to show your album (or the ticket if you have one) and of course, you can also buy the album on the spot and get free admission. isn't that a fair deal?

those who haven't been to bentley auditorium, this is the best chance to go without having to pay ;-)

get a couple of good friends and come together and enjoy a musical saturday afternoon!

since we are celebrating pop pop music's anniversary, we will also be giving out freebies!

we are supposed to be resting but in the name of music, we have to work another live event!

see you all next saturday!  

Monday, July 9, 2012

全新網站即將來臨![a new website coming soon!]


our current website is way way out-dated! we have progressed from a niche music label to a full-fledged entertainment company .....

in tandem with our rapid development as a corporate entertainment provider, we will be revamping our website and it shall be ready by end of this month!

here's the first draft of our design.....

pop pop music’s website components
1.    About Us (company Profile)
2.    Artistes (profiles all ready!)
3.    Productions:
i.    Albums
ii.     Concerts
4.     Media
•    Videos
•    Press Articles
  • On Artistes
  • On pop pop music
  • On Albums
  •  On Concerts
•    Music Videos (MV)
•    Album sampling (use the mp3 player already built)
5.    Services (write-up!)
6.    Contact and Album Order Form
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Friday, July 6, 2012

很酷的電影主題曲 [a very cool OST]



our fave hk movie for the past few years "love in a puff" boasts of a very cool soundtrack, sung by singer wan ting.

 we got wind that her album is gonna be exclusively distributed by CD-RAMA. do watch out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

好評 [a good review from sabah's music reviewer]

KK Jazz Festival 2012: Winnie Ho ‘The Jazzy Sounds of Teresa Teng’ CD review



The Jazz Sounds of Teresa Teng is an album of songs which were previously sung by Taiwanese pop icon Teresa Teng, and now presented to us by Malaysian singer Winnie Ho and the musicians of Pop Pop Music, in a jazz idiom.

Memorable jazz is usually associated with something which was captured in the studio at that moment. Spontaneously. This album doesn’t feel like that. It feels like an album which was carefully thought out. Maybe that’s the “Chineseness” of it: Pop Pop Music is doing jazz but not leaving anything to chance!

The result? The most beautiful album – an almost divine album. Pop Pop and Winnie Ho bring the songs of Teresa Teng to us with intelligence, respect and care.

Winnie is perfect for this. Like Teresa Teng, Winnie is beautiful in the sweetest way. Teresa Teng reigned in Chinese music charts for some three decades, and her camera image was wholesome. Winnie glows with loveliness, and she does every justice to Teresa Teng’s memory.

Winnie’s voice is also lovely; clear and controlled, Pop Pop must really enjoy recording her. She sounds just like she looks. On this album her two duets, one with piano and the other with acoustic guitar, are particularly moving.On ‘River of Clouds’, pianist Tay Cher Siang’s expressiveness ebbs and flows like a gentle tide all around Winnie. Likewise, in ‘A Thousand Words’, Roger Wang’s acoustic guitar makes beautiful musical tendrils which reach out and entwine tenderly with Winnie’s melody.




The arrangements never overwhelm Winnie’s melody, but they are no less adventurous. ‘Where Does The Wind Come From’ has the musicians taking off in fantastic oblique directions before coming back to Winnie. I love all that exploration.

Julian Chan [saxophone] and Eddie Wen [trumpet] do nice horn work in ‘The Girl From South Sea’, a Bossa track which embeds Girl From Ipanema within it. The horns capture a bit of the past, playing happy, jumpy phrases in harmony, made me think of Horace Silver arrangements.
Similarly, in ‘Forgetting Him’, Salvador Guerzo’s sax creates that gumshoe movie feel, the old Los Angeles detective – think Charlie Haden Quartet West. Maybe ‘Forgetting Him’ will become a soundtrack for a Chinese detective movie one day…

For one track, bass player AJ PopShuvit sets up a rock groove, and Winnie sings ‘Rain of Tears’ as a soft rock ballad. I wouldn’t say it’s really raunchy…but Winnie should at least wear a tank top and some jeans to perform this one!  In ‘The Place of Our First Love’ Tay Cher Siang lets the piano keys fly. It’s modern, a David Benoit/GRP sound, but with his own gossamer lightness.

The last track is ‘Songbird’. On the album sleeve, Pop Pop founder Leslie Loh says it’s their tribute song to Teresa Teng. He likens it to a 1908 play by Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck about two siblings who search for The Blue Bird of Happiness. There is a gorgeous string quartet opening [Lim Jay Sern, Lau Yew Hann, Lee Chee Fatt, Dylan Lee], and the song is uplifting, like one is paying homage to Teresa Teng.

Leslie says Teresa Teng’s life was short, but she “contributed immensely through her music. Her spirits of benevolence is like her music, long lived and loved by generations after generations of music lovers.”

Leslie has previously said to me that this album does challenge many die-hard fans of Teresa Teng, with its new presentation of her songs. Well yes, it’s very different from the original style, but so what? It’s still an easy-listening album: it’s gentle and melodic, and every voice in it is first class. It’s wonderful.

I recommend it to anyone who listens to music in the Chinese language, and to everyone who likes crossover work, and to everyone who ever heard of Teresa Teng, and to everyone who hasn’t.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

真宗的上海爵士 [bona fide shanghai jazz]


it is funny how malaysian singers have been doing their own interpretations of shanghai jazz over the years. most of them don't sound authentic at all. a true shanghai jazz band like that of the paramount - a famous nightclub in shanghai - must have a brass section, to start with and their repertoire is not always the "jajambo" or "carmen" that most malaysian singers are fond of.

wanna listen to a really authentic shanghai jazz singer? come to pavillion the venue on 8th july!

jasmine chen, a shanghainese singer who has a shanghai jazz album under her belt, is too willing to show malaysian audience what is shanghai jazz all about.




pavillion the venue is the "livehouse" style of entertainment nightclub that promises to add glitz and glamour to KL's night life. it is going to have its official opening next week. we truly look forward to having more international artistes to grace its stage.

also, it is high time NBT is gonna have a worthy competitor!