On 31 January 2015, Chiangmai was home to Jazz de Lanna Concert !! Bands flew in to join this celebration. Thai, American, Brazilian, Cuban, Australian, Indonesian, Italian and other artists joined this music gala!
Jazz de Lanna filled the Thae Pha Gate area. The operation contained band stage, seats, large concert video screen, lights, balloons, sponsor activities and over 25 food stalls!
The opening band, Balawan Trio from Bali, immediately drew attention to the incredible tapping touch style technique of Wayan Balawan! Holding his two-necked guitar and strumming music from Bali, Jazz de Lanna opened with excitement. Wayan Balawan’s concluding set was battle of the drums and guitar!! The drummer played rolls, then Balawan followed, it started in long sets, then each set shortened and pace quickened. It was amazing to see a Guitarist match the speed and pace of a drummer.
Our MC, former Miss Thailand, Pop Areeya, opened the evening, introducing our sponsors and concert events. With almost a full moon, delicious food simmering, and lively festive audience. Jazz de Lanna was the place to be.
The party was just beginning and Mama Funker took stage and played a spicy Bossa Nova Jazz set. This was Mama Funker’s first concert in Thailand and it will be the beginning of many more concerts to come. Mama Funker’s musicians from Brazil, Cuba, Italy and Australia played with passion and joy. They surprised the audience by breaking out sombreros to wear and play their last set of Latin American jazz. A nice close to their performance!
A concert is not just measured by the quality of the sound system, or the appearance of a star. It is measured by the collective atmosphere of mixing engaging bands, good organization, food, and receptive, engaging audience. This night at Thae Pae Gate had all the above and everyone caught the spirit of a great festival.
Khun In, who has performed around the world, including USA, Italy, Switzerland, France, Russia, Japan, and Taiwan, took stage with the Jazz of Siam. The world’s fastest Xylophone Artist led the audience with rhythms and soul which we saw live.
With an eccentric jazz mix having already played, the audience was surprised when Howard McCrary took the stage. Looking sharp and professional, Howard was wearing a white tuxedo. Howard shared his love of Thailand and his excitement to sing at Jazz de Lanna. With a smooth, flawless motion, music from “What a Wonderful World” played and Howard began to sing. What a voice, the audience was overwhelmed. Howard composed his next song “Welcome to Thailand” which touched the audience with the uniqueness of the Land of Smiles. Then, Howard called Koh Saxman and Fabao to join him, playing sax and guitar for “Girl from Ipanema”. WOW, is the only word for this performance! As Howard said when he called Koh Saxman and Fabao on stage, they never practiced this song before, matter of fact the three of them had never played together! Yet when Howard started singing “Girl from Ipanema”, surrounded by the harmony of Koh’s sax and Fabao’s Latin guitar, it was amazing. Then surprising Howard and the audience, Fabao slipped in singing “Girl from Ipanema” in his native Portuguese! What a performance by three dynamite musicians!!
Howard finished his set with “Sway” and the audience called back for an encore! Howard concluded with “Imagine”. It seemed perfect to hear amongst the moonlight and cool air of Chiangmai.
The crowd was eager for more, and Koh Saxman was up next. Accompanied by the Sound of Siam band, Koh brought his Saxaphone out and kicked off a fantastic closing set at the Jazz de Lanna concert. Energy was everywhere and the crowd’s smiles left people asking for Jazz de Lanna to return next year.
A great concert was held and left good feelings with the musicians and audience.
After the concert,
9FilmFest received an email from Gail Finlay:
An amazing night. Such wonderful musicians created a magical inclusive atmosphere on a perfect Chiang Mai night. They had the audience in awe of their talents and their music lifted our spirits.
And then there was Koh!
A brilliant musician leading a brilliant band. I’m 68 and that was the best concert I’ve ever attended.
Koh had such energy, such grace, generosity and a joyful pride in Thailand. And his music was sensational.
Thanks very much to the organisers of this event. It truly is Amazing Thailand and we feel very privileged to be included in your celebrations.
It is the highlight of our 2 months in wonderful Thailand. We’ll be back.
Howard McCrary shared his thoughts:
I am still in amazement of how wonderful the concert was. Cat, you and your staff are world class!
I was so elated and proud to have worked with you and can’t wait for the next event to come.
After the concert, 9FilmFest received an email from Gail Finlay: