Friday, May 15, 2009

Miri International Jazz Festival - Solid reputation

The little oil town of Miri in Sarawak came alive with the sound of roaring jazz again.

IF you wanted one hell of a party, then the action stirred up at the fourth Miri International Jazz Festival was something to write home about. Held last weekend at the Pavillion, ParkCity Everly Hotel in Miri, the indoor festival rolled out many different genres of jazz and the entertainment value hardly wavered throughout the two days. There was variety in terms of acts offering their unique takes on jazz music. The intimate duos, songbirds, the virtuoso musicians and the noisy brass brigade ... you had them all at the festival.

For music fans that made the trip to Miri, it was an experience to remember. On the first night, Sabah-raised duo Double Take opened the festival with aplomb. The duo’s performance was charismatic and melancholic at the same time. As one-half of the duo, Roger Wang was a force on the acoustic guitar, nimbly plucking the strings and delivering each note with great clarity and precision.

Wang’s deft instrumentation were capably complemented by Double Take’s vocalist Mia Palencia, who held her own with her vocal strength and control. Her distinct sense of eloquence in song has remained intact through the years. Performing only covers, they effectively entertained the nearly 2,000 people that turned up and clapped enthusiastically to the duo’s tight and melodious reinterpretations of classics from Black Coffee right to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, transformed into a blues tune. That garnered much applause from the crowd.

Another show-stealer that evening was Australia’s six-piece band Alamode, influenced by the likes of Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove, Jamiroquai and Soulive. Like their inspirations, Alamode’s music had a heavy acid-jazz influence and overall, their performance pushed between the energetic and invigorating gears with ease.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Miri International Jazz Festival - Solid reputation

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