Sunday, March 26, 2006

Get me to the church on time, mama!

Today is Sunday... the first day in weeks that I didn't have to do anything at all but take my sweeeeet time getting out of bed. Very much unlike the frenzy of the last six weeks leading up to the opening of the club.

For over a month my days didn't usually end till 6 a.m. then 3 hours later I'd be up and out the door either taking measurements or choosing paint colour or checking out sound equipment or scanning pictures or something or other! No wonder I'm sooooooo tired. So this morning when my daughter, Judith, came up to ask if we were going to church, all I remember saying to her was, "[yawning] hhhokay, have your bath and get ready". I opened my eyes 3 hours later, just about the same time the Pastor must've been ending his sermon.

On the upside, someone remarked last night that I had lost weight. I was quite the unbeliever as I still have this annoying post-maternity paunch, three years on since giving birth to Aaron. However, last night at TTR@TH, I was wearing this li'l blue number that I hadn't worn in a while and, lo and behold, it kept threatening to perform a wardrobe malfunction! It was loose. So, yes Anita, I have lost weight. Yay!

And speaking of last night, we had a marvelous time at the club. We had a great crowd that turned up. Some old friends came by in response to mass emails and smses announcing the existence of a new [true] jazz venue. They came expecting to hear it and that's exactly what they got. And, boy, they sure showed their appreciation. It gives me hope for jazz in this town.

However, being the jaded jazz musicians that we've become in this country, lurking in the back of our minds is the million dollar question... how long can we sustain this before we have to kow tow to the deep-rooted Malaysian notion that jazz is anything but... God-forbid, Malaysia, prove us wrong! It would just kill me to have to bring in R & B into the place. Throughout our careers we've been forced to compromise our repertoires on many occasions just because of what the public, [sometimes even the venue], thinks jazz is or should be.

Can't really say I blame them too. I mean, big corporate backed "jazz festivals" have been seriously flawed with commercial artistes getting top-billing. And may I add, these people are the first to tell you they're NOT jazz artistes. Companies pump big bucks into these exercises and all they want at the end of the day, like any profit-driven outfit, is to generate revenue which is all fine by me because that's why we all engage in business ventures. We all need to make a living. But I take offense in the fact that they usurp the good name of jazz for their selfish gains. Go ahead and organise your festivals but it's time to call a spade a spade. Just call it an R & B festival or Rock fest or Pop fest or grunge or alternative or underground, overground, indie or undie... whatever! But just don't label it jazz anymore and expect to get away with it.

They [the organizers/backers] maintain that its the public who dictates what goes up on stage. So, give them what they want. But you better find out exactly what that is before putting up your big banners in the name of jazz.

The question I need an answer to is: Why are people so enamoured with this four letter word that spells jazz? What's the draw? Somebody please enlighten me.

But the best question I've heard so far is from the big kahuna at The Top Room. To David, he says: Do they [referring to musicians] know they have to play jazz here ah?

'Nuff said.

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