Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Smooth 27 January Evening.

Who says jazz can’t be serious? Armed with 3 saxophones and his band members for the night at No Black Tie- Kerong on piano, Syam on guitar, AJ on bass and John Thomas on drums, Greg Lyons has certainly proven the point that jazz has every reason to be serious about; amid the fact that it can sometimes be fooled around with.

It didn’t take him long to bring his point across, too- a performance that was neatly choreographed, bundled and presented with strict professionalism. One couldn’t help but to notice what a seasoned performer he was, and how it contributed to the versatility of the music selection played that night.

The performance was a delight, even to one; to which jazz wasn’t his usual cup of tea. You wouldn’t find anything too hardcore beyond your understanding in the showcase; just smooth contemporary jazz for easy-listening over good company. Nevertheless, the improvisations were blatant enough for jazz-lovers to rave about. Overall, it was a good mix of both introduction and sense of familiarity for music lovers, regardless of whether you are in for the jazz or not.

His rendition of “African Skies” was certainly noteworthy to be mentioned over and over again, for its distinctive change in tempo and arrangement complexity. Yet, it was in “Truffles” that was most striking to the heart for the night. Despite being a relatively easier number, Greg and Kerong displayed a more melancholic mood of showmanship, in which Kerong shone in his softer touch on the ivory keys. Special mention, however; must be given to the only classic performed for the night- “The Nearness of You”. The number was indeed a special treat and ear-candy for classics enthusiasts and one must certainly pat Greg and Kerong on the shoulders for giving the number its due loveliness.

However, the person to watch out for in the near future; was the young and charismatic John Thomas. At 20, he has already established a stronghold in the Malaysian Jazz scene with his bold and unpredictable beat. You would want to watch him play again and again.

Verdict- So, the performance was a tad too smooth and contemporary for my liking for a 2-hour seating of jazz. However, it was no less a sterling performance by the seasoned saxophonist and the equally promising band that he had for the night. One would obviously not mind throwing away his black ties for more of these.


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