As a musician who has lived in Paris from a young age, I have always been a fan over all sorts of music and have gone through phases, taking me from reggae to classical, punk to ska, and finally focusing on jazz. Since the Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2019 is coming up this weekend, I decided to pay tribute to some of the best jazz musicians I’ve had the pleasure to see in Bangkok this year. Here we go:
Housed in the charming Old Town district of Charoenkrung, FooJohn Building is the home of three beautiful venues: FoudieJoie, an authentic French bistro, a speakeasy with quality live music and prohibition era cocktails, and SpareParts Smokehouse, an American BBQ and beer rooftop.
At this unique, three-story hang-out space, all our senses were satisfied as the majestic Jean-Seb delivered a flamboyant Jazz performance with a taste of French classics.
This ambidextrous genius continued to wow the audience, a hip crowd of live music lovers, by playing the piano while simultaneously working the chorus on a trumpet—a duet in one! That night, Jean-Sebastien jammed with Mr. Sticks on drums and Alexander Sergeenko on his bass guitar.
After a while, our friend Chinda Soichi from Japan entered the bar, brought out his horn and started on his alto saxophone, bringing a bop edge to this wonderful session. As our heartbeats returned to its regular pace, we heard the undulating voice of a tenor saxophone from the back of the room, introducing Grammy-award-winning Jakob Dinesen, and the sounds began to intertwine a melodic and counter rhythmic pulse. The place was brimming with such great talent, it flooded the shophouse and spilled out onto the sidewalk.
Mitch Frohman Live In Bangkok
I’d heard of the name Mitch Frohman, Composer, Saxophonist & Flautist, but what I didn’t know is the musical legacy that he carries around with him.
The man was, for 25 years, a part of the Tito Puente Orchestra as well as the Mongo Santamaria band. Mitch has played with big names like Celia Cruz, Blood Sweat & Tears, Paul Simon, and Cyndi Lauper. Even his signature sound can be heard somewhere in the world, everyday, as he is the sax soloist on the theme song of TV's mega-hit "Sex & The City"
Last night, I had him right in front of me for 2 hours, with the Mr. Bump the organist and Mr. Sticks. It was a beautiful session, and a little birdie told me that Mitch will be in Thailand for over a month! Definitely worth fighting Bangkok traffic to see this one. Stay tuned for Mitch’s next gig on BangkokHaps.com!
Jazzy Jam Session at Smalls
Every now and then, some magical events occur, and we were there at Smalls to watch it happen! Showcasing some of Bangkok’s top 10 jazz musicians such as Pitchayan Tabtim and Jakob Dinesen on the tenor sax, the multi-talented Mr. Pipe Taweesak Booranapanitpan on the tenor, soprano, and oriental flute, Jirathitikarn Hemsuwan on the trombone, and Sarit Tanpensuk on trumpet. Rhythm section with Pong Nakornchai on the drums, Kasemsmai Wongchayasilpa on the bass, and on the piano, Nattikorn Tiabtiam, as well as a few more names I didn’t quite catch.
That night, we were gifted with two sets of a non-stop, evolving jam session with infusions allowing each musicians to explore the sounds of their instruments within a non-controlled environment of fraternal fusion. The progressive themes weaved in and out and took us on journeys across sounds and rhythms, feelings and emotions, as well as places and spaces.
Smalls is the kind of a place that lends itself to such wonderful events and we truly acknowledge the owner David Jacobsen for bringing it on.
Welcoming Jakob Dinesen Back to the City of Angels
If Danish jazz has one genuine playboy, it must be 46-year old Jakob Dinesen – with a thick line under play. He and his sax and his good looks have romped around most of the world: Europe, Africa, Cuba, Thailand, USA, Japan and Australia. He has received just about every award a Danish musician can get – Grammys and soloist awards.
When he saunters on stage, there are always a few moments of total concentration; then a crisp, searching sound emerges from the bell of his sax before starting up.
Perhaps jumping straight into an improvisation, perhaps a loyal interpretation of whatever tune is on the agenda.
I listened to this wonderful saxophonist play at Whisgars last Thursday and again at the Saxophone Pub and Restaurant. I haven’t been to Saxophone for a while but have always loved the place for its variety of musical talents and genres. I went there to hear my friends Natt Buntita and the Sunny Trio. Jakob brought his horn along. Needless to say, it was a fantastic night.
Thanks for reading this far, my fellow jazz lovers. Did you know that you could use the filter to find all jazz events on BangkokHaps? Well, now that you do, I highly recommend that you visit the Music Events Section on BangkokHaps.com and give it try (hint: all you need to do is click on “Which Music”, select “Jazz” and wait!’ You might be surprised by how many jazz concerts are happening across town, so why not treat yourself a little and start planning your weekend right now? Maybe we’ll see you soon.
Written by Robert Ruesz and Praevaryn Sucharitachandra
Photographs by respective venues. Featured image by Smalls.