Paper Moon: Jazz in the City
Paper Moon: Jazz in the City brings together some of Malaysia’s finest musicians in two complementary back-to-back concerts. The first, Purnama, is a premiere of the latest album from the award-winning group WVC Jazz. For this special occasion, they are joined by renowned names: guitarist Rizal Tony, saxophonist Yow Weng Wai, Ng Chor Guan playing the theremin, Tan Jie on shakuhachi (end-blown flute), together with singers Junji Delfino, Janet Lee, Jo and Tan Chee Shen. Purnama – a bright full moon – takes its inspiration from the music and songs of a different age: the era of Merdeka, when a new country was in the making. The lyrics of that time were beautiful, the sentiments hopeful, and the melodies grew out of the rich soil of this land. With all their eccentricities, foibles and imperfections, people lived together and shared a common musical language. And the image of a new moon seems somehow to capture the spirit of those times. Come and listen to great classic songs – “Hitam Manis”, “Main Shayar to Nahin”, “Putera Puteri”, “Penang Samba”, “Song of Crossing at Dawn” and more – in sparkling contemporary arrangements.
About WVC Jazz
Formed in 2006, WVC Jazz are one of Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary jazz bands. The group has toured extensively in the region, recalling the spirit of being on the road – the lifestyle of touring jazz bands of old. The present incarnation of WVC consists of bandleader/composer/arranger/music director/pianist Tay Cher Siang, bassist AJ Popshuvit and drummer Adriel Wong. WVC have released six instrumental albums of original music: WVC TRiO (2008), Eleven (2009), In the Dark, I See Her (2011), Waiting for That Day (2014), Do Not Go Gently (2016) and Give Thy Ear (2018). Their most recent album, Purnama (2021), revisits songs from the era of Malaysian independence and presents them in fresh contemporary arrangements. WVC won three awards at the prestigious BOH Cameronian Arts Awards in 2016 and a further two awards in 2020. The band also appeared briefly in the Hollywood film, Crazy Rich Asians.
Tay Cher Siang (Musical Director, Musician)
Tay Cher Siang is one of Southeast Asia’s finest jazz pianists, composers, arrangers and producers, and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur. With an early training in classical music, he took up jazz in his teens and began a musical odyssey as a jazz pianist. He studied with the renowned teachers James Miltenberger and Paul Scea in the United States before returning to Malaysia to immerse himself in jazz education at a number of universities while also teaching at his private studio and giving masterclasses and jazz clinics. As a pianist and composer, Cher Siang has toured extensively, performing in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America with both the multinational band Unit Asia and with his own band WVC Jazz – one of Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary jazz ensembles.
Adriel Wong (Musician)
Adriel Wong graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Being an alumnus of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, he has received classical and contemporary orchestral music exposure. He actively pursues a full-time music career by engaging in projects with musicians locally and internationally, mainly as a jazz drummer. He is currently the drummer for WVC Jazz, and has been a sideman for notable musicians including Tay Cher Siang, Michael Veerapan, Julian Chan, Gabrielle Stravelli, Patrick O’Leary, Chi-Pin Hsieh, Kai-Ya Chang and Yuki Arimasa.
AJ Popshuvit (Musician)
AJ Popshuvit is a founder member and bassist of WVC Jazz, one of Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary jazz bands, with whom he has toured extensively in the region. With WVC, he has played on seven albums of original music, and won three awards at the prestigious BOH Cameronian Arts Awards in 2016 and a further two awards in 2020. He also appeared briefly with the band in the Hollywood film, Crazy Rich Asians.
Junji Delfino (Singer)
Junji Delfino is a name deeply etched in Malaysian jazz and performing arts circles. Born into a family whose name is synonymous with music in the Philippines, she has become a vocalist of critical and popular renown, developing a sound and a style all her own. A gifted songwriter, lyricist and composer, Junji has released two albums. Her solo album Here I Am (2010) received rave reviews both locally and internationally, and she released It’s Christmas Time Again (with David Gomes, 2014) to great popular acclaim. She has appeared at several jazz festivals, including the first edition of the KL International Jazz Festival in 2012, with performances in Southeast Asia and the United States. In addition, Junji won the Best Vocal Performer Award at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards in 2012 for her tribute, Lush Life.
Janet Lee (Singer)
As a stage performer and vocalist, Janet Lee specialises in vintage music, regularly performing great songs from the 1920s to 1960s. Her unique musicality, vocals and stage presence deliver American songbook standards, Broadway show tunes, operatic arias, art songs, bossa nova and Shanghai jazz with inimitable flair and grace. Janet has released two studio albums: Restless Heart (2015) and Cinnabar Rouge (2017). She has staged and produced two solo concerts in conjunction with the album releases to packed houses and rave reviews. She is also a member of the Shang Sisters, Southeast Asia’s leading Shanghai jazz trio.
Tan Chee Shen (Singer)
The tenor Tan Chee Shen is a winner of numerous awards, including the grand prize of The Voice Singapore-Malaysia competition and the Bangkok Opera South-East Asia vocal competition, and the bronze award of the NTD Television International Chinese Singing Competition in New York. He currently resides in Kuala Lumpur and is a full-time lecturer at the Institute of Music, UCSI University.
Jo Lixian (Singer)
Jo is a singer-songwriter and music educator. After graduating with a songwriting degree from Berklee College of Music, USA, in 2017, she started a trio called Jiwang with her sisters. She is also the founder and instructor of the Music Nation Music School and the Music Nation Speaks podcast host.
Rizal Tony (Musician)
Rizal Tony is a full-time music educator, jazz guitarist, musician, music director, music arranger and composer, affiliated with Universiti Teknologi MARA. He has collaborated widely with local and international musicians and artists working in jazz and popular music genres.
Ng Chor Guan (Musician)
Ng Chor Guan is an internationally acclaimed creator, composer, multidisciplinary artist, thereminist, improviser, educator, and co-founder of the contemporary arts collective Toccata Studio. He is a familiar face in many international arts festivals across the continents and a prolific artist whose diverse body of work is rooted in contemporary technology that transcends genres. His interactive creation, Mobile Phone Orchestra (MPO), encourages audiences to play an active role in the performance, and was presented at the George Town Festival and the Melaka Art and Performance Festival, as well as in Britain and South Korea. His musical creation, Space Age won Best Production and Best Original Music at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards. Guan’s most recent project with Toccata Studio, Project 2020, is a multidisciplinary performance powered by multiple futures and time travel concepts.
Tan Jie (Musician)
Tan Jie has been playing bamboo flutes (dizi, xiao and shakuhachi) for decades. As an educator, performer and proponent of bamboo flutes, he has appeared in various musical productions in Malaysia and internationally.
Yow Weng Wai (Musician)
Originally from Kota Kinabalu, Yow Weng Wai is a professional saxophonist performing and touring with many popular names in the Chinese pop music scene. When he is not touring, he also performs with Malaysian jazz bands such as Funkatorie, Urban Tribes and WVC Jazz.