[FEATURE] Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival – Workshops

UCSI University is proud to be one of the supporting partners of the first ever inaugural Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival organized by Roland Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd. The festival, which is the first of its kind in Malaysia, was the collaborative brainchild of several figures in the local jazz scene namely Justin Lim, Tay Cher Siang, Cheah Wei Li, Michael Veerapen, John Dip Silas and Hin Ee Jeng. The festival, which spanned over a period of 3-days, began with several masterclasses and workshops, concluded with a myriad of jazz performances at KL’s premier jazz club & gastro-bar; No Black Tie.

Michael Veerapen giving the opening address of the jazz piano workshop
Michael Veerapen giving the opening address of the jazz piano workshop

At the workshop conducted in UCSI University, veteran jazz performer and educator Mr. Michael Veerapen stated that “the goal of the festival was not just to widen the publics’ exposure to jazz but also to elevate the status of jazz both musically and as an art form” in his opening speech. Mr. Veerapen also mentioned that plans for a jazz piano competition and future invitations of foreign jazz artistes, were in the works and slated for yet another festival later in the year 2015.

Justin Lim conducting the workshop on jazz piano voicings
Justin Lim conducting the workshop on jazz piano voicings

The first of a series of masterclasses began with a workshop on chords choices delivered by Mr. Justin Lim at UCSI University’s very own recital Hall. Mr. Justin Lim, who holds a Masters in Music from Pennsylvania State University, treated the sizeable crowd to a brief but delightful performance of “All The Things You Are” alongside UCSI University School of Music student Ian Lingarajan on the bass guitar. Mr. Lim then proceeded to give a simple but insightful lesson on chordal note choices and how to incorporate them in a solo setting.

Cheah Weili sharing useful tips on transcribing
Cheah Weili sharing useful tips on transcribing

The next workshop was delivered by yet another lecturer at UCSI University, Mr. Cheah Wei Li. Mr. Cheah, who received a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies at the Leeds College of Music, UK, regularly performs with his trio at various gigs and locales both locally and internationally in addition to having performed with Lewis Pragasam’s “Asiabeat”. This time based on a rendition of Bill Evans’ “Autumn Leaves”, yet another jazz staple, Mr. Cheah then proceeded to enlighten the audience with a brief lesson on the historical roots of jazz and how various voicing styles were introduced. In addition, Mr. Cheah also delved into how transcribing music can be used as a tool to educate and study jazz music.

I look forward to the next Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival, with hopes that it will reach out to a wider music community and collaborations both locally and internationally.

This article was written by Glenn Tan, 3rd year student of the B. Music Contemporary program.

An accompanying article by UCSI University can be read here.

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