September 2015

Hi everyone.

Sorry I never did my August! I am currently under pressure of moving house (after 10years) and many classes to teach at LASALLE, and all other stuff I do. Also I need to tell you, I am finally officially accepted to start my masters degree study from January 2016 in Arts & Cultural Management. I am excited as I already have a specific field I want to pursue within this category, but want to explore and learn more about what I want to do.

Anyway here is my September in Rain (today it’s raining, but normally haze), that is almost ending!



20th (Sat) 9:30pm-1am :
MUSIC EN VOGUE with MITCH (trumpet) & KENJI SUZUKI(tenor sax)

I am delighted to perform with 2 top Jazz musicians of my home towns (Kyoto & Osaka) especially in the style of New Orleans, Swing, and Bebop. Come drop by while you pretend to shop!

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/// Schedule ///
18th & 19th :   5pm & 6pm (30min each set)
21st & 22nd : 12:30pm & 1:30pm (30min each set)

More information




21st (Mon) 8:30pm
SingJazz Club
$25 (students w/valid ID $10 off)
Bon Gout Music presents “We All Love Jazz!” Party Vol.2

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My own Bon Goût Music is once again very excited to present 2nd instalment of ‘We All Love Jazz!’ Party, a fabulous evening of hanging out around Jazz, New Orleans and Soul music that is so close to the heart of Jazz featuring special guests from Kyoto & Osaka!
The Jazz party is back, and this year at SingJazz Club! Don’t miss this great night to enjoy all kinds of Jazz.

4 acts together with special guests : Mitch (trumpet /Kyoto)  & Kenji Suzuki (tenor sax /Osaka)

New Stream Brass Band w/Mitch & Kenji
L.A.B w/special guests
Aya Sekine Trio w/ Ben Poh (bs) & Benjamin Thia(dr)
2Cats  w/Namie Rasman(vocal) & Joe Lee (guitar)

Hope to see you all there!





23rd (Wed) 9-11pm :
Alicia Affair with Alicia Pan (vocal)
Powder Room at Black Swan

It’s always a blast to hang out and play with Alicia. Together with Jase Sng(bass) & Aaron James Lee (drums), things can only get groovy. With fabulous DJ KFC between and after, who can easily make me stay out for extra 2 hrs even though I want to go home so bad.

More details and venue info





25th (Fri) 7pm
Art After Dark
CCA at Gillman Barracks


I am performing with one of my favourite collaborator, a multi-disciplinary artist, a close friend Angie Seah. Together with Ian Woo (bass) and Shark Fung (percussions). Video, movements and interactive art installation.

More information


JUNE & JULY 2015

Hi everyone.

Some shows and performances coming up.



20th (Sat) 9:30pm-1am :
Blu Jaz Cafe​ w/ L.A.B & special guests

We are back! It’s been a while but we will play some of our materials mixed with some covers. It’s a casual night to unwind. Come out. Buy merch and we share some stories about our Japan Tour (see our tour blog here)



24th (Wed) 9pm-0:30am 
Blu Jaz Cafe w/ Ed Layman’s KIND OF BLU JAM

I will be a guest house pianist of the notorious jam! Together with jam master Ed Layman(drums) and Christy Smith (bass).  Come and hang out!


26th (Mon) 9-11pm :
SingJazz Club with Dawn Ho Jazz Quintet
Feat. Dawn Ho (Vocal), Aya Sekine(piano), Christy Smith (bass), Darryl Ervin (drums) and Mark Kelly (trumpet)

Dawn puts together a wonderful collection of her favorite standards, a lot of ballads and blues. Come and enjoy a very laid-back evening of real good Jazz.


5th (Sun) 2pm :
Japanese Association Singapore 100th Anniversary Concert
Feat. Sachiyo, Aya Sekine, Namiko Sakai, Hiroaki Maekawa
I am delighted to have been invited to perform for Singapore Japanese Association’s 100th anniversary special event Super Local J-Artists Concert. The concert features 4 of most well known Japanese musicians living in Singapore and is organised by one and only Sachiyo Nakagaki​, my senpai.

Artist line-up :
Sachiyo​ (vocal feat. her band)
Hiroaki Maekawa​ (bass feat. Tokyo Blue/ Ywenna& Pablo)
Namiko Sakai​ (wadaiko feat. Tenko)
Aya Sekine​ (piano feat. L.A.B / Michaela Therese​, Tim De Cotta​, Teo Jia Rong​)

Details :


6th (Mon) 9-midnight 
Live music @ Blu Jaz Cafe presents : Jazz Composer’s Series For LARGE Ensemble July edition Erik Satay & The Kampong Arkestra 

This is one of my favourite project I am involved in, the Soundpainting. Also it’s my birthday eve, so here is a reason for you to come out :) The Kampong Arkestra is an ensemble of creative sound makers, dancers and actors from diverse cultural and performance backgrounds residing in Singapore that will be SOUNDPAINTED in real-time by Head of LASALLE music Tim O’Dwyer – creating sound & movement collages of dynamic, humorous, and gigantic proportions.

A ROGUE-ROJAK-BAND that will excite and stimulate your senses from the first down-beat to the last cut-off!

“Soundpainting is the multidisciplinary live composing sign language created by Walter Thompson.”


….and here comes,

Ayaschool 2 day-Celebration

Ayaschool is a long-lasting series (since 2007 NYC) of performances where Japanese pianist Aya Sekine handpicks and put together a group of musicians to make music together. The musicians are often picked from different communities or genres hence the line-ups are normally intriguingly unique, and this is where you can see well her artistic vision. Aya is known as a Jazz pianist stylistically to most of the people, but her interpretation of Jazz covers wide spectrum, and ‘Ayaschool’ may explain it more than anything.


During her weekly residency at Blu Jaz Cafe (since 2006 until 2013), she’s featured countless musicians in different combinations & configurations every weekend, performing cover to improvisation with unconventional instrumentations, but the constant elements were ‘listening’ and ‘experimentation’. During the performances whether the material was rehearsed or improvised, the ‘flow’ of music was valued more than anything, it required everyone on the stage to listen and let things ‘flow’ as to just ‘jam’. “Not every configurations or the line-up was a success, people had different styles and music didn’t get to flow, but just like life, sometimes you just need to move on” Aya says. She took a year long break in 2013 & most of 2014, and now she is back to push her own edge ready to flourish more ideas. This particular version of Ayaschool features some of the old regulars of the project, combined with the new faces.

|||| Day 1 ||||

10th (Fri) 9:30-1am 
Blu Jaz Cafe – Ayaschool : VIVID
Bani Rahman (bass)
Bani Haykal (drums)
Stewart Bamrah (Didjeridoo)
Adam Adhiyatma (guitar)
Aya Sekine (keys)

||||  Day 2  ||||

11th (Fri) 5pm-8pm 
Esplanade presents “Jazz In July”
Ayaschool : FLOW

Aya Sekine (piano etc)
Stewart Bamrah (Didjeridoo)
Navin Kumar Nagpal (tablas, percussions)
Tim De Cotta (bass, vocal)
Bani Haykal (guitar, vocal etc)

More information about Jazz In July Series will be updated here :

More to come. Stay alertedly.


L.A.B ジャパンツアー2015「ELEVATE (エレベート)」

L.A.B の日本ツアーが迫っています。もう後一週間です。来週の今、福岡に到着です。



バンドのリーダーは私じゃないのですが、今回一肌脱いで準備に明け暮れたのにはこんな気持ちがあったから。毎回やり過ぎかな、って思いますが今やらなかったらいつやるの?って思ったときにメンバー一同「Let’s do this」って声を揃えましたので今に至ります。


L.A.B 日本ツアー2015 ’ELEVATE’ 日程 

52日(土)   福岡・天神アーリービリーバーズ

54日(月)   京都・三条ルクラブジャズ

55日(火)   大阪・北区 NOON+CAFE

57日(木)   京都・三条 Live & Bar 和音堂

58日(金)   大阪・心斎橋 digmeout ART&DINER

511日(月)    東京・代官山晴れたら空に豆まいて

5月14日(木)    東京・洗足学園音楽大学とのコラボレーション/交流会

515日  (金)  東京・下北沢 Music Bar RPM

★そしてL.A.B 日本ツアーファイナルはココ!

516日(土)  東京・六本木エレクトリック神社



今回のツアーブッキング及びマネージメントは私が Bon Goût Musicとして窓口になっています。今更ながら大きな仕事を請け負ったなあ、と思いますが(毎回そういっている)、仕事の量を上回る内容の濃さと待ち受ける冒険の数々。どんな音が出来るんだろう。終わった後の私達の気持ち、どんなかな?



来週の火曜日(28日)Blu Jaz Cafe の二階で8時半から公開リハをやります。ミニ・アルバムが出来上がったので販売開始です!まだ私達の音を聞いてない皆さん、是非ごゆるりとお立ち寄り下さい。日本に行く前の最終リハがそのままパフォーマンスです。




L.A.B Japan Tour 2015 ‘Elevate’ is supported by National Arts Council Of Singapore (NAC) and Singapore International Foundation (SIF)

SIF logo colour nac_eng_logo

It’s a new year : JAN-FEB SCHEDULE 2015

Dear everyone –  There are things happening in the world which are not exactly happy, quite sad and some people are going through hard time, on the other hand there are some wonderful news, which gives smiles to many. So many lives, so many ways – I can only wish everyone’s well being and strong love.


Here is my Jan-Feb schedule. Please click on ‘blue’ for direct links!


【20 Jan / Tue】43 East Coast Series with L.A.B

7:30-11pm / Carvers & Co. with Nick Chim / Bani Hidir

Cover $15 (at the door)

Carvers & Co. : 


【23 Jan / Fri】Art After Dark with L.A.B

7pm until late / Gillman Barracks : 9 Lock Road (


【27 Jan / Tue】Performance with Bani Haykal & Heddy Boubaker

7pm / Gillman Barracks


【30 Jan】(Fri) Playfreely 2015

with “Otomo Yoshihide and The Playfreely Ensemble”

At The Projector (REDRUM theatre- Golden Mile Tower Level 5)

Tickets & detail :


【6 Feb】 (Fri) Erik Satay And The Kampong Arkestra

(Soundpainting performance conducted by Tim O’Dwyer)



【13 Feb】(Fri)  L.A.B with Benjamin Kheng 

8pm / 203 Henderson Road, #02-01 (Lift Lobby A), Singapore 159546

for event : Revolution Will Not Be Televised by The Henderson Project with headline act by Lazy Habits (UK),

ShiGGa Shay and after party with Matte Blacc (JNR & DREM)


【22 Feb / Sun】 “Huayi 2015″ with Hanjin Tan

At (Esplanade Recital Studio) *2 shows
Tickets :




Hi everyone. Many many things going on in my life at the moment, but music is always there and when I’m playing or working on music, I am able to center myself.

Here is my upcoming schedule of November! Please do come to some very special show I’m hosting!


1 November (Sat)
L.A.B (Listen And Believe) at SingJazz Club

This is the first time we are presenting ourselves at SingJazz Club!
We will be bringing you rather acoustic and Jazz inclined selections from our songbook.
Please come and witness how we do it!
Here is the ticket link :

10689883_10152810691594727_5045045173702509749_n Official Facebook invite

3 November (Mon)

Erik Satay & The Kampung Arkestra at Blu Jaz Cafe 
[as part of Jazz Composer’s Series For LARGE Ensembles]

The Kampong Arkestra is an ensemble of creative sound makers, dancers and actors from diverse cultural and performance backgrounds residing in Singapore that will be SOUNDPAINTED in real-time by Head of LASALLE music Tim O’Dwyer – creating sound & movement collages of dynamic, humorous, and gigantic proportions. For their first performance we will be presenting a stella line – up of scintillating performance makers:

Soundpainter – Tim O’Dwyer
Actor / Voice – Adam Marple
Actor / Voice – Sangeetha Dorai
Dancer – Julius Foo
Guzheng / electronics – Natalie Tse
Strombophone (electronics) – Dirk Stromberg
Guitar – Bani Haykal
Keyboards/ electronics – Aya Sekine
Saxophone – Teo Boon Chye
Trombone – Michael Cartwright
Tuba – Fujita Hidehiro
Drum Kit – Daryl Ervin

YouTube Preview Image


November 5 (Wed)

Orgo Bar & Restaurant (Esplanade Rooftop)

Magical Jazz Trio : Dawn Ho (vo) Aya Sekine (piano) Shawn Letts (sax)

We have played at this amazing venue for almost 2 years, and it’s time to move on. This will be our last performance at starry Orgo Bar, so we hope to see you. Thank you for supporting us for so many Wednesday!


November 8 (Sat)
Halia Restaurant at Raffles Hotel
Anne Weerapaass (vo) Aya Sekine (keys) Ben Poh (bass)


November 14 (Fri)
Axis Bar and Lounge (Mandarin Oriental Singapore)
Trio jazz with Rob Collins(vo) & Eddie Jansen (bs)


November 18 (Tue)
Axis Bar and Lounge (Mandarin Oriental Singapore)
Solo piano


November 21 (Fri)
Blu Jaz Cafe (ground floor)
Ayaschool VS. SA Trio (Andy C./Natalie Alexandra/Sheryl Ong) with special guests


November 27 (Thu)
SUS SESSIONS Vol.4 (presented by Bon Goût Music & L.A.B)
as part of SAIGENJI Singapore Tour 2014
together with KAYE (Darker Than Wax) and many special guest musicians! SAIGENJI Singapore Tour 2014

This is a really special occasion for me, being the executive director of the whole event (by my organisation Bon Goût Music. Saigenji is my absolute favorite artist and I have always made effort to invite him, and this is the 4th time. Hope you can catch the show with us! L.A.B’s been working pretty hard on our new material, and we’re happy to share :)

YouTube Preview Image

Venue : Blu Jaz Cafe (11 Bali Lane)
Tickets : $35 incl. 1 drink
Event details :

and you can buy your early bird ticket right here, right now!

Partners :

Official Media – J+Plus FM96.3 SMILE WAVE (COMM Pte.Ltd.)
Venue Partner – Kizuki+lim / Lithe Paralogue (Museum of Independent Music, Singapore)
Marketing Partner – Spoonful SG
Liquer Partner – Epicurean Nomads – エピキューリアン ノーマッズ
Equipment partner – Vivid Creations / Hummingbird Concepts

Design : Kiat (System Sovereign)

Design : Kiat (System Sovereign)


Bon Goût Music name card is printed :)

So I am very happy with my new name card, which were delivered to me by amazing Nazneen Azziz, who has been designing everything Bon Goût Music for me, and she is not stopping just yet.

I actually still need a website, but for now, what I do you can come and take a look at my Facebook page. You can read the Description section of the Page.  :

This is the company I do everything besides playing or composing. This company represents and manages me, and also create events to keep me inspired. I have realised that I am an artist to express, but also value where inspiration is born and nurtured – I’d like to support this mission with this company. At the moment obviously, I do that myself. All of it.

I have a lot on my plate, so I have been looking for possible candidate to work with me, to help me out. My job is not difficult, but my idea comes from years I spent playing, meeting people and living my life, so it may not be understood by everyone.  But I keep searching for the best candidate(s). I have a passion for growing the community, which eventually benefits the individual, vice versa. All is needed for artistic growth.

The name of the company – ‘nuf said comes from my grandfather’s boutique business which was taken over by my dad, and many of you are familiar with my parents’ cafe Bon Goût at Robertson Quay – which closed 3 years ago, but I hear people still go and ask where we are! I’m here! I just don’t serve food to everyone ;)

Anyway, I am very happy finally with where I am with our family business – in Music related format. I thank Nazneen Azziz for her amazing work and input in a lot of things I do for the company these days. She is a PRO.

Now. November performance schedule  on it’s way!



Hi everyone! So sorry for not being able to ‘bilingualize’ my tour report… I only owe you an apology dearest non-Japanese language experts. The infamous Google Translator that would give you about  20% of what I’ve meant, is also useful just to guess.

Now I’m a little more than half way in completing my Tour Report, but I would like to take a break and let you know about few gigs. I do that on my official  Facebook Page but it wouldn’t hurt to consolidate all of the information here. I am expecting my brand new website to launch soon as well.

I am back at Orgo Bar and Restaurant every Wednesday with The Magical Trio. Please do drop by for a starry evening on the rooftop view of Marina Bay :)



July 16, 23, 30 (Wed) 8:30-11:00pm
Orgo at Esplanade Rooftop(4th Floor)
Magical Trio feat. Dawn Ho (vocal) Shawn Letts(sax) Aya Sekine(piano)

*Daniel Wong (trumpet) replaces Shawn this week on 16th evening.


July 18th (Fri) 8:30-11:00pm
Café 21 Living Room – Aya Sekine & Maya Nova (as part of ‘Jazz In July’) 
Concourse (Esplanade)

Maya and Aya or Aya and Maya… which ever the order is, we are back in the hood! We are presenting our original compositions, favorite standards which are arranged and sorted out just for this particular evening. Hope to see you all!
No cover charge, free seating :)

Time :
(1st set) 7.15 – 7.45pm
(2nd set) 8.15 – 8.45pm
(3rd set) 9.15 – 9.45pm

More details and info :

Jazz In July full line-up: 


July 19th (Sat) 6:45-9:30pm
Raffles Hotel Lobby
Solo piano


July 18th (Fri) 9-10pm
The Metamorphosis by Regi Leo (as part of Late Nite Series)
Esplanade Recital Studio


Regi Leo’s music is enriched by the many influences that have permeated his 27-year-long career. While rooted in jazz and blues, he takes from all genres of music to form his own style. 

Protégé of renowned guitarist Vivian Nonis, Regi is adept at jazz, latin jazz, pop and rock. He began his career in pop but soon found himself searching for more depth to his music. Smitten by the tunes of Charlie Parker, Chet Atkins and Joe Pass, it was in jazz that he found his true love before discovering fusion and modern jazz. 

Regi has played alongside many internationally renowned artists including jazz musician Nester Torres; pop legends England Dan and Lobo; and Asian singers Jam Hsiao and JJ Lin . He performs at regional jazz festivals, on television programmes as an acoustic and electric guitarist, and represents Singapore for its cultural showcases overseas. 

Regi’s passion spurs him to constantly evolve and search for new sounds, harmonies and techniques. He believes that music is not only about sheer technical prowess or advanced harmony, but rather a beautiful blend of melody and arrangement that immerses the audience in a journey. 

Presenting original compositions and unique arrangements of music by some of his favourite artists, Regi will take you through the last decade of his career and share the diverse styles and genres that have impacted him. Everything you will hear this evening represents a different side of Regi that adds to the talented and multi-faceted guitarist that he is.

Regi Leo (guitar),
Tony Makarome (bass)
Lester Ang(woodwinds)
Aya Sekine(piano&keyboard)
Rizal Sanip(drums)
and Wayne Sandosham (vocal)

Details & information :

Buy your tickets now : S$25




August 6, 13, 20, 27 (Wed) 8:30-11:00pm
Orgo at Esplanade Rooftop(4th Floor)
Magical Trio feat. Dawn Ho (vocal) Shawn Letts(sax) Aya Sekine(piano)


August 15 & 16th (Fri & Sat) 9:30-1:00am
Aya & Maya 2 days with Special guest bassist : Joseph Lepore (Italy/NYC)
Blu Jaz Cafe : 11 Bali Lane  (

We will have completely different materials on Friday and Saturday. Friday we will present our favorite Jazz standards, on Saturday we will play original materials. It will be very very fun. We are working on it already, having great time picking songs and brainstorming! I’m so happy my ‘musical twin’ Maya is back in Singapore temporarily. It’s always a great catch up when I’m with Maya. We welcome a wonderful bassist from NYC – I had pleasure of performing with him when I visited the City last year in 2013. Very excited to have him here in Singapore!

Maya Nova
Joseph Lepore


★And here is a very special concert where my composition will be performed by amazing quartet, one and only The Pipa Quartet! There will be many other great composers. This is the first time in my life I am commissioned to write, so I am very excited.

August 22nd  (Fri) 7:30m
The Pipa Quartet in Concert: 品 Pǐn  

Venue : SOTA Concert Hall
Duration : Approx 1 hr 30 mins, including an interval of 20 mins
Tickets : $25 (Standard), $10 (Student)


With the support of the National Arts Council’s Creation Grant, The Pipa Quartet presents its first full concert in Singapore, premiering original works by Aya Sekine, Bani Haykal, Chow JunYi, Jeremy Wong, Jordan Wei, Mark John Hariman and Samuel Wong.

The Pipa Quartet is led by artistic director and award-winning pipa player Dr Samuel Wong and is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. Their past engagements include a tour of Singapore’s major education institutions and public spaces, and a Thailand tour, where they performed at Silpakorn University, Patravadi High School (Vic Hua Hin) and the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre to standing ovations and critical acclaim. They were also invited by the Singapore Tourism Board to present their music and open for the Singapore Arts & Entertainment Showcase in Damansara Performing Arts Centre, KL.

The Creation grant supports the creation, adaptation and re-development of distinctive artistic content. Through a rigorous creation process, it seeks to expand the canon of Singapore-made works that engage audiences at home and abroad.


Dr Samuel Wong
Goh XueQi
Jeremy Wong
Ivan Chng

Buy your tickets now :


I guess this is it for now. There might be more performance added later on, so do check back here, or my Facebook Page for fresh updates. I do have a Twitter that is linked to my Facebook, so that is also a place that you can check my schedule without being on the Facebook, where I usually post my schedule and everything as it’s public and I don’t need to ‘friend’ anyone to come check out my world. You are all very welcome!

Aya Sekine Journal 2014 – New Year Special : Part 2 – Aya Interviews Andrew

This is a sequel to my post earlier.

I am very happy to be hosting a counter-interview project brought to me by guitarist Andrew Lim who resides in New York for last 3 years.

Read Vol.1 here → ★ 


Andrew’s photo by Andy Yang, Aya’s photo by Dju-Lien Chan (Primary Studio)

How it started. 

It was a pleasant surprise and honour for such an independent thinker to interview me about life and music – although we’ve known each other for years and both strived as Jazz musicians in the same music scene, we both have different upbringings and characters.  Since he has brought up this project of interviewing me, I’ve also decided to interview him and see what we get out of it – and maybe it would be a great thing to share what we feel about music and life with all.  Thank you Andrew for wanting to know – because I believe in talking about things, especially about how I feel about things.  Here is the counter Interview project, part 2.


PART 2 – Aya interviews Andrew 

What seems to enhance your music/practicing/writing? 

(I actually meant to ask them all in one shot, but Andrew has given me individual answers and they were interesting, so there.)

In music : When you say music I’m assuming you’re talking about the performance aspect? The things that I noticed have helped  get me to be in the zone are things like making sure I practiced the physical aspect on my instrument really slowly and with intent and not leaving out all the core physicalities that go into producing a good sound on it. also I’ve found that is only half the picture, the other half is when I spent some time activating my aural faculties and making that connection with the instrument. I.e making sure I’m playing what I hear. in order to do that, i just sing melodies in my head and strive to play exactly that with no fluff.

In practicing : Being in a space where I’m not distracted and also filled with love. sometimes its hard so I’ll go listen to some music instead… does the trick always. what also helps,personally, is to have a clear intent on a really small amount of information and focusing on that. and then practicing the exact opposite after that.

In writing : playing the piano really helps the writing bit. I’ll find myself thinking a lot more about pure ideas. it’s also helpful in the way the instrument is so orchestral. something i have less access to on the guitar.

What seems to bring you down, which brings your productivity in practicing/playing/writing etc?

In music/performance : when I’m in an uncomfortable mental space. so many things cause it and I’m trying to work each aspect so they don’t bug me anymore. some sources of discomfort, when there is not enough mastery of the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements at hand. I know it sounds obvious but its the shaky foundation that leads to all kinds of worries and doubt.  Also whenever I ignore the concept of balance in my practice’ll show up in the playing.

In practicing :  the biggest impediment I’ve found is when I’m trying too fast to “get somewhere”. I’ve found over the years that anything you can’t do is made up of a multitude of little problems that you have to solve first. I get in trouble when I forget, or, fail to see the smaller issues that I need to work on first.

In writing : a judgemental mind? also, for every idea that doesn’t work, it’s only one tweak away to make it happen. I’ve learnt not to throw anything away…but rather just think of one small modification at a time.

Andrew with Chok Kerong and Soh Wen Ming “A Sleepin’ Bee”

What was the most inspiring thing that happened to you(since moving to New York)? 

I don’t know if I can pare it down to any one experience. So many things have affected me here, the different pockets of musicians here, all intensely connected to what they chose to do, and as hard as life is here for a musician, everyone is kept afloat by their belief and the scene is inspiring that way.  I’ve never met so many people so committed to their vision that has nothing to do with the marketplace before. Also playing gigs then realising you have Barry Harris, Jimmy Heath, Lou Donaldson, Harold Mabern, Russell Malone, Danilo Perez, Peter Bernstein right in front of you in pretty horrifying LOL.  Some of them tell me nice things when I played well and some keep quiet coz I was BS-ing.  But its inspiring coz you get an instant indicator… you know you need to hold yourself to a higher standard very quickly and edit out all the fluff if you are serious about this music.

What was the most discouraging thing?

When I’m making music with musicians who don’t care.

What is Jazz to you? Why are you playing Jazz?

I used to think about that all the time but don’t do it  anymore. I just let it be what it wants to be in my life. when I started, it was just because  the music sounded great and it was fun playing something that kinda sounded like it.  Over time, as I got more into it, it just felt like I was exposed to so much truth within it that I couldn’t look at life in the same way anymore.  It’s become a mediation, a means to chip away at who I am, a gift to people willing to listen…I’m still finding out as of now.

“It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” we all know this infamous Duke Ellington tune and we both love to swing as well.

What do you think is most important thing to be a Jazz musician/Jazz practitioner BESIDES ‘swing’?

To be in LOVE and to be in SERVICE to others.  I started out only taking from and as I grew, I realised the importance of giving more and more. I’m not talking about just material giving here, but a giving of honesty, of spirit, of care.  These things are what makes an artist.  First we see, then we have to give of ourselves. me..has the most direct effect on the music.

If you never learn the melody/changes, how to deal with harmony, etc….and love people….you’ll always be a taker.  You can’t give something you don’t have.

Do you think it’s possible for Singapore to have bigger Jazz scene? 

I don’t know about that.  If you lived truthfully and try to set an example, hopefully people can start to discern for themselves what’s up? I know what I’m striving to be and that’s only because of the many angels I’ve had who were there to show me some aspect of the truth, whether I was ready for it at that time or not.  I’m hopeful …. hope is really all we got isn’t it?

Singapore may not have the big Jazz scene. What would you tell young Singaporean Jazz enthusiasts, to encourage them?

You better you listen, the more you learn.  Learn to love more than yourself. That’s all I have to say…am working on all these same things…. see you at the end folks.

(Interview completed December 31st, 2013)


My after thought :

We both enjoyed answering eachothers questions.  It is really good to know what we think are important – there are some similarity in our answers from different questions.  We are excited about this small interview sessions, and may continue in the near future.  I think next time will be a discussion, as this time it was more answering individually.

What I’ve noticed is that both of us are a big fan of  ‘acknowledging our levels’.  I also firmly believe reality is where everything starts.  Previously when we were talking about music, Andrew said ‘only way to grow is some discomfort’ which I couldn’t agree more, as I embarrass myself daily in school now (with or without people around), and this is how I’m learning with such strong conviction.  I know my weaknesses and I find them daily.  This is the best I felt in a long long time.   We could talk for hours about how embarrassed we are at times finding our weaknesses, but finding things to practice is fun.  Also we both are letting music lead our ways, not trying to make our ways.  Anyway I think it is great to share these type of thoughts.  It’s a blessing to have a friend who you can talk to about music so deeply.

In any case, I have played with Andrew countless time in the past, and I am really looking forward to play with him again – maybe in New York, maybe back here in Singapore! We will find out.

Thank you all for reading.

My little plan for Little India

So few minuites ago a thought popped in my head. So I shared on my page on Facebook.
It started like this :

“Why not ban the cars on Sundays, and let the boys have fun? Dance on the street to their music… It will be very good business for Little India, and maybe some become much happier and definitely no bus accident. Tourist may come and see great Sunday festival and maybe boys get creative. Just a thought. Banning alcohol in their area, will only create another area for them methinks.”

and then I went into ‘zone’ … I continue here. Aya’s fantasy!

It would be great to have Sunday Festival of Indians and Bangladeshi so they can sweat themselves away with music, food and dancing on the streets. Maybe once a month, if not every Sundays. It will be exciting for them to look forward to, maybe think about what to wear, or what to eat…even just to talk about going there!

Some of the restaurants can come to the street and sell snacks and drinks… they might wanna have special deals and start competing! Shops can open a little late for extra business. Maybe Sunday night time sale on golds (@_@)! Maybe after a while it may become so fun and attractive, people are getting excited. Feeling of new possibilities…some boys may even want to do something for the festival! But they need to make sure they don’t fantasize while they are at work site! Avoid the occupational hazard… I would be dead on the ground thinking about what to do for the festival.

Their hidden creative mind may awaken and burst into something different than they ever thought. May not burst out, but at least look forward to something. I personally want to see a live Bhangra music, with lots of percussions so they (and myself) can dance.
Even the Singaporean Indians/Bangladeshi can have fun in this Singapore’s original Indian/Bangladeshi excitement in Little India… I am now hungry writing this and about to shake it.

My fantasy continues.

The people in their own countries hear about this new Sunday festival in Little India, and may want to start some business there…well, this can bring up whole other subjects/issues, but still, people will get excited and creative – that’s always good for culture and business, fool everyone out of stress and anger.

The restaurants are now getting more business.
They start to improve their shops a little. Fix shit up etc.

No cars on the street, so bit messy, but it’s Singapore, so things will always get cleaned up by Monday 2am, because the festival finishes at midnight (or something). Boys go home sleep for their new week. Completely knocked out from the hang.

There maybe fights and frictions during the Sunday festival because they let loose, but it’s among themselves, or with curious tourist, pedestrians or spectator etc. But most importantly, it will happen all during ‘fun’ they are letting it loose and risk for anger or accident is less. What I (Aya) is saying is, let’s make it official here! Close the road.

People will not go there if they are worried, but the boys still need place to hang and have fun. Take a break, have fun and forget daily life is so important.  Even during my composition or practicing, I finally learned to take a shot of break here’n there – even when deadline is coming, I purposely stop and do something else. It works. I get freshen up by being side tracked. Snacking is helping (big issue is about to burst after consecutive snacking).

This is all my fantasy. But I’m just saying it pure sad to have Little India lose element, leaving bitterness behind. Little India is my favorite part of town, where I never fail to enjoy it even for a small thosai or Mustafa hang alone after practicing. I don’t drink there, but banning alcohol may create unnecessary frictions there, and other places. If that’s the case, hey why not leave it where it is, let shit happen and let things deal with it, so at least it’s in one place.

It is my personal *mental* journey based on alcohol ban news in Little India in my head that I’m sharing. No credibility or reliability whatsoever.
Thank you for reading my little story!
Have a great weekend.

A week of great concerts.

I am in the middle of semester final at the moment.  I have finished one of the biggest exam past Monday, left with one recital to end the semester.  I have worked frantically last few weeks, so I am giving myself a breather, and went to see some performances…let me share a few.


The other night I went to listen to my composition professor John Sharpley’s concert at the Artshouse.

It blew my mind.  To hear his compositions that was directly inspired by Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet – I knew about this infamous novel, but I have not read it and as he shared bits prior to his performance, I was already very moved by the words (now I’m going to get this book!!) and he sat down to play.  I really don’t know how to explain, but because I have his lesson every week and hear him talk about music, life, and everything and as he calls music as ‘biological (and also he refers it as quantum physics at times)’, and to hear his music being exactly so fresh, raw and yet so thought out and complex… a depth stroke me every single note he played.  He has invited vocalist Reuben Lai (tenor) to sing the songs and not only I enjoyed the music throughly, I was touched and my senses were stimulated. I am so inspired to know more about the music, and feel extremely fortunate to have a mentor who constantly pushes my boundary and to make me question where my music is, without fail.  He has shown it to me just like that.  Truly a platinum level artistry, which is not easy to find these days, especially around where I am.


Right after this concert, I headed over to see one of my favourite young bassist around the globe, Tim De Cotta who is also my band mate of L.A.B. (Listen And Believe).  This super talented cat, he has just launched his single ‘RIO’ (which I have also played with him before) and he is in the middle of a launch celebration tour ‘The Warrior’s Hall‘ in Singapore with some of his favourite bands around.


First of all, here is the song. Simple song but throws me into unlimited imagination :

I am always so amazed by how talented he is, and I rely on his talent a lot.  The joy of playing music with someone who can hear what I can hear, and have another angle to it… it’s a blissful feeling. Though we make music together in the same band, it was my first time to see his concert with all his own material.  He is also a talented vocalist (he sings harmonies with Michaela in L.A.B.) and one of the most grooving bass player, and has big big ears to hear ‘music’.  You might think ‘oh, sure we all hear music’… not really.  Amongst so many musicians I know and I’ve played, some people only hear music as notes and sounds. That is ok too (you will not believe, some don’t even hear other people’s notes) but when making music, we need to have ability to hear the whole thing, or should I say ‘where it may go to’.  I’m now talking not just about Timmy, but here is how I felt after 2 shows I experienced that night.  Again quoting John Sharpley : ‘music is biological’ – there is no better way of saying it. Music is alive, and we musicians must know it….

If we keep listening to what’s happening at the moment, the music will stop right there(well, sometimes you don’t even hear ‘what’s happening at the moment’, sigh…). We musicians, especially when we are involved in improvisational or soul music (Jazz, blues, tribal, and if you are a composer), we are driven by music.  I don’t believe we are the original creator, for thousands of years the music has been composed, played and sang.  Every possible thing we hear has been done.  So… the originality of what we have is, that we living in ‘now’, we are vessels to be filled up and music goes through us we need to catch.  We are processors, who create from what we hear.  That means you need to be open and be lean enough to catch what goes through us. I think this is the most important but tough part.

I think we can all play with our egos, but then still, in order for music to sound how it sounds, you need to accept and open to egos, which eventually means ‘no ego’!

This year I’m a student at a college again. This doesn’t only means I’m a college student, but I’m back to square one. I’m so happy to let go my recent experience of being a professional musician, though I still am an adult and at times need to have certain responsibility to play music, but I’m now back to ‘not ready’. This ‘not ready’ part of me is working hard to refine the art from taking few step back… I’m still struggling to play purely from the heart due to too much experience of performing in so many situations, but it’s getting better.  Because I cut down performances, I can finally see my habits and tendencies… when in the practice room, I feel my habits and it’s sometimes painful and I go into dilemma and even small depressions, but I take them all as blessings. I do criticise myself a lot, but I also have an ambition to make true music for me, so it is a worthwhile pain!

Getting a little too philosophical in this anatomy, but I really enjoyed both concerts that night of pure original music. Extremely different, but the common part is me, who knows both :)  I’m the lucky one.  My life is happening like this.


This is Timmy and I from one of our gigs last year.  We are playing tonight at Blu Jaz Cafe as L.A.B.!

Hope to see you all there!

From one of our performances last year :) He is the younger brother I don't have!

From one of our performances last year :) He is the younger brother I don’t have!


P.S.  I am jamming/rehearsing with my new project with Angie Seah and Ian Woo. This is completely experimental and improvisational one. Hope to let you know soon when our performance will be :)