October 23, 2008

InSingapore: UNIT ASIA Jazz Concert at the Singapore Conference Hall, 22 October 2008

Posted in Music tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:34 am by myrlinn

So, my friends and I were lucky enough to go to the Unit Asia concert last night. Not the tightest performances ever (understandable since this is the group’s first performance together, from what I understand), but even a layman would be able to tell that each of the individual musicians – Isao Miyoshi (guitar), Koh Mr Saxman (saxophonist), Tay Cher Siang (piano), Hiroyuki Noritake (drums) — are immensely talented. They certainly shined in their solos.

One of the things which really stood out during their concert is that the musicians have such different personalities. Isao Miyoshi on the guitar was just this “cool dude” type with his floral-print shirt and tight pants. Koh Mr Saxman from Thailand clearly had a flamboyant, outgoing performing style, while Tay Cher Siang from Malaysia on the piano had this scholarly vibe about him.  Not too sure if that’s an unusual mix for jazz groups, but it certainly makes for intriguing contrasts. Especially as their personalities are reflected quite clearly in their compositions as well.

The program started out slightly disappointing, with sound issues, but picked up for me with the third piece, Elephant Vanishes (composed by Tay Cher Siang). The piece had interesting variations, and it suited my taste that there were darker sections to the music. I would have loved to find out why the piece is titled Elephant Vanishes.

The other standout for me was definitely Adventure of the SANCHIKI (composer: Isao Miyoshi). This piece had a very strong melodic theme, and a distinctive bass line that anchors it all through the various parts. A very enjoyable piece to listen to. And it helped that Miyoshi and Mr Saxman stepped out and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was also impressed with the piece before that — Walkin’ Around “K” — with its infectious rhythms.

This group will no doubt  get tighter as they play and perform together. Would love to see them a few performances later, but I guess that’s not on the cards since tonight is their last performance in Singapore.

A couple of improvements that could be made:

  • Isao Miyoshi should have a translator — it would be interesting for the audience to have some background on the music.
  • The musicians could step from behind their stands more, and earlier in the program, to establish a connection with the audience.

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7 Comments »

  1. philotheos said,

    i was at the concert tonight. there were generally no sound issues, and the band sounded great to me. looks like they’ve gotten tighter over the day. 🙂 heard that they only came together last week and rehearsed 3 days before performing.

  2. myrlinn said,

    That’s great that your concert went off without a hitch. Sounds like I should have gone the second day, doesn’t it? Though I must say it was special to see them perform in public for the first time as well.

  3. "Girl from Ipanema" said,

    I went for the first day. There were no sound issues. The accoustics of the hall was fantastic. Every note from the steinway sounded merticulous from the pianist, Tay Cher Siang.

    I didn’t think that they weren’t tight. In fact, they were very tight.

  4. myrlinn said,

    Girl from Ipanema, well, that’s the beauty of a live performance, isn’t it? We each come away with different impressions. My friends and I heard differently, obviously.

    Tay Cher Siang was excellent.

  5. Raymond Chen said,

    I watched the concert last night (their last one for this SEA leg) at Philharmonic Theatre at KLCC…certainly enjoyed it. My fav would be the Adventures of SANJIKI (Sanja! haha..). Kinda brings you on a ride into a story. The concert went without a hitch & the drum solo by Hiroyuki certainly was outstanding. Showmanship & interpretation was overall great for such a newly formed band, chemistry & improvisation was evident 🙂

    Good show 🙂

  6. Raymond Chen said,

    oppss…sorry. another one in Bkk this Sat 🙂

  7. myrlinn said,

    Hi, Raymond, I love it that so many people are interested in watching these Asian musicians, and enjoy them. You’re right about SANJIKI … the story element in that piece was very strong.


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