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The long awaited Borneo Jazz 2013 has finally arrived. Running for the eighth time in a row, the festival has managed to attract countless visitors worldwide; many jazz enthusiasts come every year to appreciate and enjoy the various approaches to jazz displayed onstage. Like past Borneo Jazz concerts, the first day’s event was fantastic, with amazing performances by award winning bands. The general atmosphere was surreal with traditional bazaars, tasty food, and amazing lighting and sound systems. The location, ParkCity Everly Hotel, provided an enchanting environment, interacting with the masses through their senses: the smell of food, sight of nature, sound of music, and large screens situated in strategic locations to capture the amazing performances. This festival doesn’t just serve music enthusiasts; it is also an excellent getaway for family and friends who are looking for a relaxing way to spend their weekend.
The concert commenced with Sarawak’s very own West Jazz band. As the only local act, they managed to heighten up the mood by their performance, a mix of fusion funk. The lead singer, Lisa Chong, charmed the audience with her charisma and vocal talent. Overall, they managed to add a Malaysian touch to their music, making their performance unique and entertaining. The rest of the lineup included the amazing Lisa Young from Australia, the Grammy award winner Scott Martin Latin Soul band from the United States, and the legendary Nylons from Canada.
Escalating the mood, the Lisa Young quartet took the crowd on a journey of South Indian vocal percussion, ‘konnakol’. The band’s extremely appealing compositions left the masses breath taken. Lisa and her quartet’s song cycle ‘The Eternal Pulse’ left the audience wanting more. According to Lisa, ‘The Eternal Pulse’ “explores a diverse musical expression, layering Indian elements, rhythmic textures and ensemble dialogue, and varieties of meter and sub-division.” Lisa was truly phenomenal; her music is one of a kind, all about rhythmic control, something rare yet so beautiful. Her quartet features Stephen Magnusson on guitar, Ben Robertson on double bass, and Dave Beck on drums.
All the way from California, the Scott Martin Latin Soul Band took the crowd by storm with their Latin jazz soul mix performance. The band of 10 years played magnificently; they even performed a song they had recently written along with a couple of tracks from their upcoming album. To please the crowd, the Scott Martin Latin Soul band members announced that they are planning to name their latest song as either Malaysian Mambo or Miri Malaysian Mambo. Their music was harmonically rich, appreciated by all at the scene. Young fans described their performance as “fun and adventurous.”
Finally, the legendary Nylons, the last act of the evening, dazzled the crowd with their beautiful vocal harmonies, wonderful humor, and feel good songs. Among the songs they performed were “Work,” “Dream,” a cover of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, “Happy Together” and the most loved “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Along the years, members changed, leaving Claude Morrison as the only original member. Though he may not be as young, he is the perkiest singer in the band. The quartet also includes Tyrone Gabriel, Garth Mosbaugh and Gavin Hope. The Nylons instantly connected with crowd; they were adored by people of all ages, and even kids danced to their music. The band’s creativity was astonishing. They collaborated with Lisa Young, intensifying the excitement of the crowd. Up until the very end, the mesmerized audience was not quite ready to say goodbye.
Coming up next is a recap of Borneo Jazz 2013 Day 2, featuring Jump4Joy from Sweden, Hazmat Modine from the United States, Mo’Blow from Germany, and the Asian Jazz All-Stars Power Quartet from Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand.
Image credit: Yasmin Pascual Khalil //Toonari Post