Quoted from blog: Bangkok cultural scene
This is regarding a concert I was honored to play with Unit Asia in Bangkok. The response from the audience was overwhelming. At the same time, it was quite unnerving to play in Bangkok, as I know Bangkok is where the Tigers are crouching, and Dragons are hidden, so to speak. They have such a healthy music scene. A lot of their so called Pop stars are great players of instruments, my buddy Koh Saxman is one of the example.
Below is the review for the concert, 29th March, 2010
Unit Asia Jazz Concert / Bangkok 2010, Thailand Cultural Centre
We went out to a “Must See” on our list of weekend events, albeit a day or two off schedule and checked out an amazing performance by a five- some of Asia’s top jazz music talents in contemporary, fusion and experimental jazz at the Thailand Cultural Center featuring Thailand’s own Sorcerer of the Saxophone, Koh Saxman, who is a true magician… Throughout the whole performance from our view in the front row seating area, never once did his frequent transfers of the alto and tenor saxes appear to us as anything we visibly noticed. For a fairly small guy, he pumps out a lot of watts of high voltage jazz, rock/contemporary, blues and jazz fusion styles from both his saxes, displaying a competitive edge to drive everyone around him to higher levels of playing intensity than they’ve been accustomed to – on the limit of their comfort zone. At other times he seemingly presides over and watches the players, waiting for the moment to jump in and renew his own opportunites to shine. The mostly Japanese ensemble were clearly all at the top of their game, and also able to assist attracting sponsorship, primarily through the Japan Foundation.
Drummer Hiroyuki Noritake was phenomenally gifted, smiling virtually the entire time. It was nice to see a smiling drummer looking seriously blessed to be doing what he loves. Contrasted with a session drummer from the Philippines who was very talented but never smiled an iota playing with the second set when American Jazz saxophonist extraordinaire Eric Merionthal came to the M Theater here a few months back, and it was a nice contrast. The aforementioned somber faced drummer remained stony, even while Koh Saxman and Merionthal were jazzing it up to dizzying heights and dueling crescendos, out soloing one another with the drummer and other instruments in rounds, and most of the audience and musicians on stage were beaming appreciatively and ecstatically expectant with joy. The Thai jazz drummer in the opening set played powerfully, full of high intensity, smiling all the way and nearly stole the show. If you’re not familiar with Eric Merionthal, he’s one of the top performing and contemporay jazz saxophonists in the world, certainly within the top few in the U.S., although he hasn’t achieved the name recgoniiition of say Kenny G, or some others yet.
Isao Sankichi Miyoshi plays a very powerful array of melodic ranges from stinging electric jazz, rock, blues and fusion styles to softer harmonizing on both a mellower jazz- feel hollow body guitar and a rock Stratocaster style guitar to hit his harder rock sounding rifts, alternating between jazz, rock and electic electric fusion. In a particularly complex and multi-varied genre piece called ‘Walking Around K Town’, it was clear the 5 piece could handle anything from any style, fuse it together, break it down, and bring it all back together again. Isao composes and also provides a front man presence to the all Asian ensemble of the somewhat mysteriously named Unit Asia Jazz Concert/ Bangkok 2010… He also displayed a multi -talent we’ve never seen, whistling while playing jazz guitar simultaneously and doing it very well, in bird call like whistles that gave a natural feel of being outdoors to ‘Elephant Vanishes’ inspired by the book of the same name, composed by Tay Cher Siang, who also composed several of the group’s other pieces as masterfully well as he performed them.
But whatever you call them, they were definitely so worth the time to come, see and hear that even a thousand baht or two for tickets would be like gifts of heaven, to share their seemingly free musical vibes that both electrify and soothe the spirit and soul. Tay Ser Siang , master keyboard/pianist fom Malaysia quietly lays back flowing on the piano and willingly provides the twinkling keys with pleasurable rifts and interludes, and at times jumps in more powerfully and takes center stage with an amazingly, clear, fluid and classy style and even pounds the synthesizer with heavy bombing sequences to dramatic effect, with impeccable timing and ease.
Not to neglect the solid train rumbling through the background of bass, Shigeki Ippon stays solid throughout in the background but his ability to provide the thumping backdrop to the performance belies his overt talent, timing, and dexterity, alternating briefly on a conventiaonal electric bass while predominantly laying back on the contrabass.
When the show ‘ended’ it appeared the door was left open for an encore,… and who should appear but the enormously talented and beautiful “Luk Pat”, one of Thailand’s top female jazz sounds singing with her silky, smooth and sensual style. A few more pieces later and the night was complete, and time to step out into the now cool, rainy night air, as refreshed as the earth, the dust of struggle settled, renewed and perhaps, with new vision and vigor for life— LifeBangkok!