Hong Kong Jazz Festival

Once yearly, Hong Kong hosts a jazz festival. I was fortunate to be able to attend in 2014 on its free Sunday. I took the Star Ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui and walked to the Hong Kong Cultural Center Piazza where the concert was taking place. The ferry ride was lovely – wind on my face as a nice respite from the heat and humidity.

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It was a fine, clear day and both sides of the harbour looked appealing.

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On my way to the Piazza, I noticed the lantern display from the Mid-Autumn festival was still up. It seemed to be themed around international celebrations of various holidays.

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When I arrived at the stage, the first ensemble had already started. They sounded good, hot and in synch. The lineup was as follows:

5422 Collective – a recently formed group made up of a number of players, some of whom – the band leader told us – hailed from the Berkeley School of Music. No wonder they looked so young! They were quite enjoyable. A series of jazz standards got me in the mood to listen.

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Bouloukos, Fernandes & Gagnon Trio – bringing it down a notch, this classic trio was quite easy to listen. A pleasant blend of piano, guitar, and drums.

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Roger Wang + Tommy Ho – well-mic’d acoustic guitar on a sultry afternoon. Who knew how great that could be? Wang sang and played some nice songs from his Malaysian heritage too. Ho only joined for a few numbers, but they sounded good together.

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Boris Savoldelli Voice Orchestra came on next. I won’t link to this one because I didn’t fancy him. He was like a can of annoying that you tried to freeze and then exploded all over the inside of your freezer. Worse, he thought he was cool and funny. He probably also enjoyed the fact that his name is a misnomer. There’s no orchestra involved. I stuck with it all the way through his atrocious set, keeping my nose firmly buried in my book and relaxing supine on the steps of the piazza, trying to will it to be over so I could see what the next group would be like.

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Maple Jazz band – Sadly, my appetite for more music had been ruined by the previous performer. After only one or two pieces from this group, I was feeling the urge to go. Also, it was still super hot, I’d finished all my water, and my tiny lunch of a few bao from a street food stall around noon had already burned off. Add a drenching of sweat and you’ll understand why I decided to head home to shower off my day. But not before catching a beautiful sunset! (With my work hours, it’s so rare for me to get to see the sun grace the sky with its last rays.)

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How I wish that clock tower was still connected to a working train station serving the Mainland. I’d probably have been to visit by now if I could just hop on a train.

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The glowing lights of the lantern festival looked great in the dusk. This zebra’s for you, Grandma!

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Why take the MTR home when I could ride the boat again? So I hopped on the Star Ferry once more and glided back Island side as the neon lit up the sky.

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