Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Genting International Jazz Festival 2008 (part 1 of 2)

Great selection of top-notch jazz performers, excellent sound engineering and an efficient crew made the 2008 Genting International Jazz Festival a success.

I had the good fortune to attend the International Jazz Festival held at Genting Highlands in Malaysia. Everything was perfect! The efficient crew took only 15 minutes in between sets to setup the stage, the room acoustics was top-notch and the performers-- let's just say that there was a party in my ears and everyone was invited.

For what it's worth, reviewsbyp is awarding errr pawikan awards (eh?) to the performers:

Best solo
- Hamilton de Holanda's "Disparada" (full version here) on the 10 string mandolin. Imagine this big guy with a shaved head who looks like Dominic Purcell (from Prison Break) playing an instrument as small as a banduria. His fingers flying through the small fret board, each note ringing true and full of emotion. This alone was worth the MYR112 admission price. more videos here and here.

Best duet - Hamilton de Holanda again on the mandolin with Gabriel Grossi (?) on the chromatic harmonica. This performance gave me goosebumps. (Ang OA ko!) But it's as if both instruments were lovers intertwining.

Strangest Fusion - A cross between salsa and celtic music by Salsa Celtica. (Salsa with bagpipes!) They had an unconventional entrance by walking to the stage from behind the auditorium while playing their celtic tunes. Watch this sample video of Salsa Celtica. Their music was also livened up by the spontaneous dancing of salsa students from Havana E Studio.

Best vocalist - This award definitely goes to Tangora (video below). Her scat improvisations were breathtaking and although I barely understood a word of what she was singing because it was all in French, she just proved that her music could cross languages. She also had the best backup band!

The guy (what's his name?) on the steelpans was amazing. In the first place, I didn't even know what this instrument was! It looks like a giant snare drum, sounds a bit like a xylophone but not quite. Check out a the video of his steel pan solo below taken by earthxavier. (Here's another solo taken by d7b9 at the festival itself.)

I'm also awarding the steel pan guy and Jazz Jamaica trumpeter Abram Wilson the best duel! During the last performance of the festival, a lot of these jazz greats went on stage for a huge jamming session and these two really stood out trying to outdo each other with their riffs.

It started out innocently-- a few bars of the trumpet here, a few bars of the steel pan there; but then it got faster and faster and more intricate and the crowd went on their feet and started cheering!

Who won?

Well, the steelpan guy took the pan off its rack, placed it on the floor and started to spin it like a roulette while playing it. That's badass! And it was beautiful musical mayhem!

I wanted to scream "we're not worthy! we're not worthy!"
Find out reviewsbyp's sexiest performer, best dressed band, most unexpected song and more-- continue reading the second part of the review...

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