Your Weekend Entertainment –Jazz From Malaysia

June 14, 2014

Your Weekend Entertainment –Jazz From Malaysia

din and kamsiah2Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

For listening pleasure, Dr. Kamsiah and I present Jazz from Malaysia featuring the RTM Combo led by Ahmad Shariff, Radio Malaysia Orchestra under the direction of Alfonso Soliano and Gus Steyn, and the crooners of the 60s era.

My dearly departed cousin, Dato’ Ahmad Daud and  Zain Azman, my friend at the malaysia-endless-possibilitiesRubber Research Institute (known in the 1960s as the Nat King Cole of Malaysia) are  also featured here. Malaysia is a country full of talent and rich in culture and music (including Jazz).In fact, it is a land of Possibilities, if only we know how to utilise our  diverse cultural heritage, and talent pool.

That said, let us relax since this week, as reflected in the postings on this blog, was an equally emotionally draining one. Keep well and enjoy your Sunday.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

RTM Combo–Ahmad Shariff

Aku Dia & Lagu

Di Taman Seputeh



Alfonso Soliano

Ayam den Lapeh

Mimpi Ku Semalam

Ku Kan Kembali

Gus Steyn

Ahmad Daud

Zain Azman

Stand Up for Democracy And Stand By Anwar Against Kelptocracy

March 7, 2014

Stand Up for Democracy,Freedom, Justice And Stand By Anwar Against Kleptocracy 

Stand Up for each other, Pakatan Rakyat.  Fight for freedom, democracy and justice. We have no option. Today’s Court of A Appeal decision makes Anwar the driving force for change in our country.  Let us not feel dejected. Our fight goes on against the dark forces of repression, arrogance, oppression; and like Badwawi’s supression, Najib will fall on the count of three.–Din Merican

by Josh

TDMBaruFor nearly 16 years now, Malaysian politics has been stuck in skullduggery just because one influential and popular individual by the name of Anwar Ibrahim was – and is – determined to challenge UMNO’s hegemony embodied by Mahathir Mohamad’s autocracy.

The sodomy issue is like a sword of Damocles that hangs forever over Anwar’s head. When he was acquitted for the first time over Sodomy II back in January 2012, some were quick to attribute the verdict to a restoration of judicial integrity. How premature the conclusion was, I would say.

Although there have been cases where justice was seen to be done, including a series of decisions against UMNO mouthpieces such as Utusan Malaysia and TV3, it would seem that the Judiciary remains very much beholden to the powers-that-be whenever the latter’s ultimate authority is severely challenged.

In other words, as long as the opposition adhered to the rules of the game laid down by UMNO and played its role within the permitted boundaries, it was allowed to survive but not to thrive.

Until, of course, the power of reformasi was unleashed by Anwar and turned the UMNO game upside down. Since then, the party that claims to represent the Malays has been fighting tooth and nail to stay relevant.

Still, neither Mahathir nor Najib Abdul Razak ever doubts the sodomy trump card that they have, alongside the advantages that UMNO holds as the ruling party. While Najib grudgingly accepted the not-so-splendid outcome of the 13th general election, he was privately relieved that more than sufficient time had been secured for him to say in power.

But Najib’s fortunes started to dwindle in no time as the costs of living were rising as a result of his hastily implemented economic measures.

At the same time, Mahathir and his cohorts cashed in on the increasingly discontents at the grassroots level by attacking Najib’s lacklustre performance, although the ex-dictator is never under the illusion that every act of defiance on his part is meant to soothe his immense grievances over his son’s failure to make it to UMNO’s top leadership.

So Najib was on the verge of repeating what Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had gone through – an ignominious exit that was.

Anwar-KajangAt this juncture, Anwar pre-empted Najib with the Kajang Offensive, seeking to regain the momentum that was clearly lost post-GE13.

All at a sudden, the public’s zeal for a regime change was aroused, posing a serious threat to UMNO’s legitimacy once again.

Should Anwar win big in Kajang, it would deal further blow to Najib’s diminishing authority within the party and nationwide.

Talk of reconciliation

Prior to this, there had been talk of reconciliation, with both sides of the political divides seemingly warming up to the idea.

I had chastised Anwar in no uncertain terms over the overtures that he had been making towards UMNO for the simple reason that the party that has ruined each and every public institution over the last 30 years and trampled on our national dignity time and again can never be trusted as a partner.

Then Anwar appeared to have changed his mind and decided to go on the offensive. But his Kajang strategy was interpreted by Najib as a betrayal on the consensus between them, which explains the rush to move the Sodomy II appeal forward to stop Anwar from getting closer to assuming a greater role in politics.

A calculative politician, Najib most probably decided to finish Anwar off by sending him to jail so that he gets to keep Putrajaya, while simultaneously appeasing Mahathir.

Yes, the Kajang Move has clearly backfired and one can go on arguing whether it was ethnical or justifiable from the very beginning. However, the very cruel reality remains that Umno is so arrogant and powerful that judges must disregard all the evidence and convict its opponents on the shakiest grounds.

Mahathir is the happiest man for now, but the country and the people will eventually pay for his and Umno’s perfidy unless a new generation of Malaysians are prepared to rise up against all the injustices.

Favourites from the Zain Azahari Collection

December 5, 2013

Favourites from the Zain Azahari Collection @ The Edge Galerie

MY COMMENT: This is the first time I feature art on this blog. HavingKamsiah and Din2 been to the Opening Day of this excellent art exhibition at the Edge Gallery in Mont Kiara with my wife, Dr. Kamsiah, I cannot not resist posting this review (

Apart from the fact that Zain Azhari is my friend and golfing mate, and  I have  the highest regard for the many fine human qualities of this septuagenarian, I felt this review reflects exactly how I felt as I saw the paintings on display.

I have seen some of them before at Zain’s home and office, but not collectively ina  single place. In my view, it is a sample of the finest art collection by an individual in Malaysia.Thanks, The Edge Gallery and Zain for making it possible for members of the public to see them.

Zain is passionate about everything he does from his legal work, music, golf, reading, and art. He is an amazing man. –Din Merican

Favorites from Zain Azahari Collection

Pastoral, sensual, vigorous – these common descriptions surmise the prominent art collection of Zain Azahari, where a selection of 38 pieces are displayed at this exhibition. Large works by Ibrahim Hussein and Hendra Gunawan greet the visitor with titillating intent, where Fauvist colours and sinuous contours excite primitive human senses. Flanking both sides of the lobby, Latiff Mohidin and Anuar Rashid arouse the spiritual with abstract illustrations of great control and harmonious beauty, easily subjugating works by young artists hung in the same area.

Ramlan Abdullah’s aluminium sculpture also blends into the gallery’s medieval design, as the contemporary takes a back seat to master artists belonging to the Modern era. Earth and human form an unbreakable bond in these works, implying the collector as one whom possess deep faith and a resilient outlook of life.

Zain No 1Kampung truths: Jalaini Abu Hassan – Di Murahkan Rezeki, Di Berkatkan Hati (2011)

This philosophy is clearly specified in Jalaini Abu Hassan’s meditative ‘Di Murahkan Rezeki, Di Berkatkan Hati’, a minimal juxtaposition of objects (by Jai’s standards) beautifully rendered, where words elucidate Malay sayings and its connotations. When utilised correctly, writing creates additional dimensions on a canvas, Mangu Putra’s picture of utter despair being a good example. Academic painting typify depictions of toil and hard work, contrasting with the creative expressions of Mount Merapi by Affandi and Srihadi Soedarsono.

Illustrations of human feet seem to captivate the collector, who own a couple of high-priced watercolour masterpieces by Chang Fee Ming. Among the elegant dancing figures shown, including Latiff’s curious ‘Bird Dance’ sculpture, a menacing ‘Barong’ by Popo Iskandar emerges proudly from the shadows.

Zain No.2Crimson tide: Latiff Mohidin – Malam Merah (1968)

Zain’s collection boasts many works by the renown Latiff, none more significant than ‘Malam Merah’. Lively strokes of purple, yellow, and white, provide an inherent energy to the amalgamated Pago-pago, as a single horizontal line allows the sun / moon to set. The remaining areas are painted crimson red, while darker brush strokes sketch movement that augments the powerful picture. Cheong Soo Pieng’s tender ‘Mother & Child’ follows in the Nanyang tradition, which the pioneer artist updates via a rare oil painting.

Zain No. 4Why brown? Ibrahim Hussein – Farewell to New York (1969)
Previously unseen to the public is Ib’s ‘Farewell to New York’, a witty nude done in his characteristic Pop manner, where the curious usage of brown as its background has me polishing my chin while pondering the rationale. More sensuality is exhibited in Anthony Lau’s ‘Exstacy’, a wooden pair of smooth forms that recall natural contours, its overt tension depicted in the horizontal gap.
Zain No. 5Gliding sarongs: Dzulkifli Buyong – Four Friends (1964)
Hung low to provide viewer clarity, many works from this collection are museum-worthy, with the occasional odd gem standing out beyond Nusantara motives. Dzulkifli Buyong’s quirky ‘Four Friends’ “captures that single moment that is the birth of our Malaysian Modern art movement”, as described by curator Anurendra Jegadeva. Simple pastel colours, gliding sarongs, lily buds in the air, and innocent human gestures – I will not be surprised if the artist was in fact drawing 4 versions of his self.

Moving from flying figures to floating heads, Agus Suwage’s brilliant red fields pay tribute to artistic influences in an unconventional manner, the depiction like a tinted collage filtered through a computer program. Singling out figurative subjects is Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s contemporary approach, the huge portrait of a hippopotamus beckoning the viewer to come closer and swat flies, while the logical me clamour to inject meaning into a successful aesthetic.

Despite having a shorter tradition in picture making, the Malaysian works hold their own when compared to the diversity displayed in the Indonesian paintings. Among the many natural landscapes, a hazy wetland and a vertically-stretched Batu Caves signify personal importance, the former a nostalgic memory and the latter being Zain’s first collected artwork (a wedding gift!). Zain’s stories and passion are expounded and repeated across few essays in the catalogue, inspiring all who appreciate art.

Zain No.3From Kahli, Van Gogh, Bueys, Sudjojono, Freud to Hiroshige: Agus Sugawie– Agus SuwagePemandangan Dunia Wi (Earthly Landscape) (2011)

Having amassed 400 works over the past 50 years, Zain Azahari’s collection is a testament of one’s relentless pursuit of art on one’s personal terms. Not a luxury item, never an asset type, consistent in vision, absorbing one’s soul and intellect. I may not share Zain’s taste in art, but I do share a similar passion, which makes him my Art Collector idol for years to come.

Weekend Entertainment: Back t0 the Good Old Days

November 9, 2013

Weekend Entertainment: Back t0 the Good Old Days

Dr. Kamsiah and I feel that for this weekend’s DDM and DDKamsiahentertainment we should go back in time–to 1960s and 1970s–and feature the voices of Malaysian singers like Ahmad Daud Hashim, Zain Azman, Zainal Abu and Wan Salman. Let us not forget Johor born Dato Shake who found fame and fortune in Paris, France with his hit song, Tu sais je t’aime. We think it is also appropriate to feature Kembara and M.Nasir who made the pop charts in 1970s with their hit song, Express Rakyat.

May the tunes we present for listening pleasure bring back sweet memories of what used to be the simple life of the average Malaysian. Keep well. 2013 is nearing its end and we must now reflect on what 2014 will bring us.–Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican

Ahmad Daud Hashim

Zain Azman

Zainal Abu

Wan Salman

Dato Shake

Kembara and M. Nasir

Your Weekend Entertainment

September 22, 2013

Your Weekend Entertainment: Featuring Nat and Natalie Cole

Dr Kamsiah and DMFor this sabbath morning, we feature Nat King Cole and his lovely daughter, Natalie Cole. You can note that Natalie has the talent of her late father (dec. 1965) and more. Also please listen to our special guest Billy Paul’s rendition of Me and Mrs. Jones  So let us start the music as the show must go on, despite the dirty politics we witness everyday here in Malaysia.

Expect more in the coming month since UMNO goons will be in town in their suits and blazers with laptops, state of the art handphones and generous pocket money from candidates for elected posts. They will be at the UMNO General Assembly, Putra World Trade Center,Kuala Lumpur. While they will be backstabbing one another and shouting ultra Malay nationalist sentiments, they are doing multimillion ringgit deals with gullible Chinese businessmen. It is very comical to see this Malay sandiwara and wang kulit (see pic below). All the best.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican


Nat King Cole

Natalie Cole

Billy Paul–Me and Mrs Jones

Your Weekend Entertainment

June 15, 2013

Your Weekend Entertainment


Dr Kamsiah and I will be leaving for the Big Apple in a few days’ time; after that we will proceed to Washington DC. While New York, we hope we can meet Mr. Bean and renew our friendship. Being in DC will be particularly special to me since I will be taking Dr. Kamsiah to the US capital to where I was educated in 1968-1970.

The DC trip will be my first since I left this lovely city more than four decades ago. We will be visiting The George Washington University and The George Washington School of Business and meeting friends.

For this weekend entertainment, we kick off with a tribute to New York. Billy Joel’s hit is particularly poignant. After that tribute, we present for your listening pleasure unforgettable ladies of jazz from a bygone era. Listen to Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney. May our choices please you.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

New York, Here We come

Billy Joel

Dinah Washington

Sarah Vaughan

Ella Fitzgerald

Rosemary Clooney

Your Weekend Entertainment

June 8, 2013

Your Weekend Entertainment

Dr Kamsiah and me2

It is that time of the week when we leave all the politics and other concerns in the attic. Let us relax and enjoy some wholesome music. So for this weekend, your co-host Dr. Kamsiah and yours truly have chosen to play songs by Barry Manilow, Vince Hill, and Michael Buble. They are from different generations but when it comes to music,there is no generation gap. We think it is nice to dedicate a song to some of our friends whose comments have made this blog interesting and controversial. They write with passion.

Michael Buble is rather special because he reminds of Frank Sinatra. But make no mistake, Michael is no imitator. He has his distinct style of crooning and that has made him a popular singing sensation with a huge following around the world. He is lively and soothing to listen to. Vince Hill sings his hit, Look Around, and Roses of Picardy.

New Yorker Barry Manilow is great composer with numerous hits to his credit and a wonderful interpreter of popular music and jazzy numbers. So now, let them entertain us all. Peace  be with you.–Dr.Kamsiah and Din Merican

Barry Manilow

Dedicated to Khalid Ahmad, Bean, Semper Fi, Tok Cik, Frank, CLF

Vince Hill

Michael Buble

Special Guest-Mel Tome

Fond Farewell to My Favorite Jazzman, Mr. Brubeck

December 6, 2012

Fond Farewell to My Favorite Jazzman, Mr. Brubeck

Dave Brubeck | 1920-2012

His Music Gave Jazz New Pop

by Ben Ratliff (12-05-12)

Mr. BruebeckDave Brubeck, the pianist and composer who helped make jazz popular again in the 1950s and ’60s with recordings like “Time Out,” the first jazz album to sell a million copies, and “Take Five,” the still instantly recognizable hit single that was that album’s centerpiece, died on Wednesday in Norwalk, Conn. He would have turned 92 on Thursday.

He died while on his way to a cardiology appointment, Russell Gloyd, his producer, conductor and manager for 36 years, said. Mr. Brubeck lived in Wilton, Conn.

In a long and successful career, Mr. Brubeck brought a distinctive mixture of experimentation and accessibility that won over listeners who had been trained to the sonic dimensions of the three-minute pop single.

Mr. Brubeck experimented with time signatures and polytonality and explored musical theater and the oratorio, baroque compositional devices and foreign modes. He did not always please the critics, who often described his music as schematic, bombastic and — a word he particularly disliked — stolid. But his very stubbornness and strangeness — the blockiness of his playing, the oppositional push-and-pull between his piano and Paul Desmond’s alto saxophone — make the Brubeck quartet’s best work still sound original.

Outside of the group’s most famous originals, which had the charm and durability of pop songs ( “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” “It’s a Raggy Waltz” and “Take Five”), some of its best work was in its overhauls of standards like “You Go to My Head,” “All the Things You Are” and “Pennies From Heaven.”

David Warren Brubeck was born on Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, Calif., near San Francisco. Surrounded by farms, his family lived a bucolic life: his father, Pete, was a cattle buyer for a meat company, and his mother, Elizabeth, was a choir director at the nearby Presbyterian church. When Mr. Brubeck was 11, the family moved to Ione, Calif., where his father managed a 45,000-acre cattle ranch and owned his own 1,200 acres.

Forbidden to listen to the radio — his mother believed that if you wanted to hear music you should play it — Mr. Brubeck and his two brothers all played various instruments and knew classical études, spirituals and cowboy songs. He learned most of this music by ear: because he was born cross-eyed, sight-reading was nearly impossible for him in his early years as a musician.

Playing for Local Dances

When Mr. Brubeck was 14, a laundryman who led a dance band encouraged him to perform in public, at Lions Club gatherings and Western swing dances; he was paid $8 for playing from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., with a one-hour break. But until he went to college he was an aspiring rancher, not an aspiring musician.

At the College of the Pacific, in Stockton, he first studied to be a veterinarian but switched to music after a year. It was there that he learned about 20th-century culture and read about Freud, Marx and serial music; it was also there that he met Iola Whitlock, a fellow student, who became his wife in 1942.

He graduated that year and was immediately drafted. For two years he played with the Army band at Camp Haan, in Southern California. In 1944 Private Brubeck became a rifleman, entering basic training — first in Texas, then in Maryland — and was then sent to Metz, in northeast France, for further preparation for combat.

When his new commanding officer heard him accompany a Red Cross traveling show one day, Mr. Brubeck recalled, he told his aide-de-camp, “I don’t want that boy to go to the front.” Thereafter, Mr. Brubeck led a band that was trucked into combat areas to play for the troops. He was near the front twice, during the Battle of the Bulge, but he never fought.

Finished with the Army at 25, Mr. Brubeck moved with his wife into an apartment in Oakland, Calif., and, on a G.I. Bill scholarship, studied at Mills College there with the French composer Darius Milhaud. Milhaud asked the jazz musicians in his class to write fugues for jazz ensembles, and Mr. Brubeck played the results at a series of performances at the college. Mr. Brubeck had such admiration for his teacher that he named his first son, born in 1947, Darius.

An Instant Partnership with Paul Desmond

Mr. Brubeck first met his most important musical colleague, Mr. Desmond, the altoThe DB Quartet saxophonist, in an Army band in 1943. Mr. Desmond was a perfect foil; his lovely, impassive tone was as ethereal as Mr. Brubeck’s style was densely chorded. In 1947 they met again and found instant musical rapport, fascinated by the challenge of using counterpoint in jazz.

Mr. Brubeck’s first group, an octet formed in 1946, contained several of Milhaud’s students, and played pieces influenced by his teachings, using canonlike elements. The group’s earliest recorded work predated a much more famous set of similarly temperate jazz recordings, the 1948-50 Miles Davis Nonet work later packaged as “Birth of the Cool.”

In the late 1940s and early ’50s Mr. Brubeck also led a trio with Ron Crotty on bass and Cal Tjader on drums. It was around this time that he started to develop an audience. He was given an initial boost by the San Francisco disc jockey Jimmy Lyons, later the founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival, who plugged the band on KNBC radio and helped secure it a record deal with Coronet.

In 1951 the trio expanded to a quartet, with Mr. Desmond returning. (The permanent lineup change was perhaps inevitable, as Mr. Desmond was desperate to join his old friend’s increasingly popular band, but it may also have had to do with physical necessity: Mr. Brubeck had suffered a serious neck injury while swimming in Hawaii, limiting his dexterity, and he needed another soloist to help carry the music.)

Quickly the constitutionally different men — Mr. Brubeck open, ambitious and imposing; Mr. Desmond private, high-living and self-effacing — developed their lines of musical communication. By the time of an engagement in Boston in the fall of 1952 they had become one of jazz’s greatest combinations.

The next part of the equation was a record label, and for that Mr. Brubeck had found another booster: Fantasy Records, just started by the brothers Max and Sol Weiss, who owned a record-pressing plant and had little interest in jazz apart from wanting to make a profit from it.

They did, eventually, with Mr. Brubeck. But Iola Brubeck also played a role in the growth of his audience. Before Mr. Brubeck became a client of the prominent manager Joe Glaser, she handled her husband’s business affairs. In 1953 she wrote to more than a hundred universities, suggesting that the quartet would be willing to play for student associations. The college circuit became the group’s bread and butter, and by the end of the 1950s it had sold hundreds of thousands of copies of its albums “Jazz at Oberlin” and “Jazz Goes to College.”

In 1954 Mr. Brubeck became only the second jazz musician (after Louis Armstrong) to beDave Brubeck on Cover of Time Magazine-1954 featured on the cover of Time magazine. That year he signed with Columbia Records, promising to deliver two albums a year, and built a house in Oakland.

For all his conceptualizing, Mr. Brubeck often seemed more guileless and stubborn country boy than intellectual. It is often noted that his piece “The Duke” — memorably recorded by Miles Davis and Gil Evans in 1957 on their collaborative album “Miles Ahead” — runs through all 12 keys in the first eight bars. But Mr. Brubeck contended that he never realized that until a music professor told him.

Mr. Brubeck’s very personal musical language situated him far from the Bud Powell school of bebop rhythm and harmony; he relied more on chords, lots and lots of them, than on sizzling, hornlike right-hand lines. (He may have come by this outsiderness naturally, as a function of his background: jazz by way of rural isolation and modernist academia. He was, Ted Gioia wrote in his book “West Coast Jazz,” inspired “by the process of improvisation rather than by its history.”)

It took a little while for Mr. Brubeck to capitalize on the greater visibility his deal with Columbia gave him, and as he accommodated success a certain segment of the jazz audience began to turn against him. (The 1957 album “Dave Digs Disney,” on which he played songs from Walt Disney movies, didn’t help his credibility among critics and connoisseurs.) Still, by the end of the decade he had broken through with mainstream audiences in a bigger way than almost any jazz musician since World War II.

In 1958, as part of a State Department program that brought jazz as an offer of good will during the cold war, his quartet traveled in the Middle East and India, and Mr. Brubeck became intrigued by musical languages that didn’t stick to 4/4 time — what he called “march-style jazz,” the meter that had been the music’s bedrock. The result was the album “Time Out,” recorded in 1959. With the hits “Take Five” (composed by Mr. Desmond in 5/4 meter and prominently featuring the quartet’s gifted drummer, Joe Morello) and “Blue Rondo à la Turk” (composed by Mr. Brubeck in 9/8), the album propelled Mr. Brubeck onto the pop charts.

Initially, Mr. Brubeck said, the album was released without high expectations from the record company. But when disc jockeys in the Midwest started playing “Take Five,” the song became a national phenomenon. After the album had been out for 18 months, Columbia released “Take Five” as a 45 r.p.m. single, edited for radio, with “Blue Rondo” on the B side. Both album and single became hits; the album “Time Out” has since sold about two million copies.

Standing Up to Racism

In 1960, realizing that most of the quartet’s work centered on the East Coast, the Brubecks, with their children, Dan, Michael, Chris, Darius and Catherine, moved to Wilton, where they stayed. They later had one more child, Matthew.

Genial as Mr. Brubeck could seem, he had strong convictions. In the 1950s he had to stand up to college deans who asked him not to perform with a racially mixed band (his bassist, Gene Wright, was black). He also refused to tour in South Africa in 1958 when asked to sign a contract stipulating that his band would be all white. With his wife as lyricist, he wrote “The Real Ambassadors,” a jazz musical that dealt with race relations. With a cast that included Louis Armstrong, it was released on LP in 1962 but staged only once, at that year’s Monterey Jazz Festival.

When Mr. Brubeck’s quartet broke up in 1967, after 17 years, he spent more time with his family and followed new paths. In 1969 he composed “Elementals” (subtitled “Concerto for Anyone Who Can Afford an Orchestra”), a concerto grosso for 45-piece ensemble. He later wrote an oratorio and four cantatas, a mass, two ballets and works for jazz combo with orchestra. Most of his commissioned pieces from the late ’60s on, many of them collaborations with his wife, whose contributions included lyrics and librettos, were classical works.

As a composer, Mr. Brubeck used jazz to address religious themes and to bridge social and political divides. His cantata “The Gates of Justice,” from 1969, dealt with blacks and Jews in America; another cantata, “Truth Is Fallen” (1972), lamented the killing of student protesters at Kent State University in 1970, with a score including orchestra, electric guitars and police sirens. He played during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting in 1988 and he composed entrance music for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1987.

Another Quartet

DB with MulliganIn 1968 he formed a quartet with the baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, and later he began working with his musician sons Darius (a pianist), Chris (a bassist), Dan (a drummer) and Matthew (a cellist). He performed and recorded with them often, most definitively on “In Their Own Sweet Way” (Telarc, 1997). The classic Brubeck quartet regrouped only once, in 1976, for a 25th-anniversary tour.

Mr. Brubeck’s son Michael died in 2009. In addition to his other sons and his daughter, Mr. Brubeck is survived by his wife; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Mr. Brubeck resumed working with a quartet in the late 1970s — finally settling into a long-term touring group featuring the saxophonist Bobby Militello— and thereafter never stopped writing, touring and performing his hits. To the end he was a major draw at festivals.

In 1999 Mr. Brubeck was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. Ten years later he received a Kennedy Center Honor for his contribution to American culture. He gave his archives to his alma mater.

Despite health problems, Mr. Brubeck was still working as recently as 2011. In November 2010, just a month after undergoing heart surgery and receiving a pacemaker, he performed at the Blue Note in Manhattan. Nate Chinen of The Times, noting that Mr. Brubeck had already “softened his pianism, replacing the old hammer-and-anvil attack with something almost airy,” wrote that his playing at the Blue Note “was the picture of judicious clarity, its well-placed chordal accents suggesting a riffing horn section.”

Mr. Brubeck once explained succinctly what jazz meant to him. “One of the reasons I believe in jazz,” he said, “is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born — or before you’re born — and it’s the last thing you hear.”

Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 5, 2012

An earlier version of this obituary erroneously attributed a distinction to Mr. Brubeck.  He was the second jazz musician to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, not the first.  That version also misstated the name of a song at one point. It is “Take Five,” not “Time Out.” (“Time Out” is the name of the album on which “Take Five” first appeared.) It also said that “Take Five” was the first jazz single to sell a million copies, instead it was the album “Time Out” that sold over a million copies.

A version of this article appeared in print on December 6, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: His Music Gave Jazz New Pop.

Your Weekend Entertainment

October 6, 2012

Your Weekend Entertainment–Back to Jazz

Dr. Kamsiah has decided that for this weekend, I should do my own thing. My thing is definitely jazz, although I am not adverse to other musical forms including classical music.

So jazz, it shall be and I trust jazz men and women among you like my selection for this weekend.

Allow me then to take  you to the cool and modern jazz era. I will start with Miles Davies who is in my view the greatest jazz trumpeter of the last century. Miles will also play Dr. Kamsian’s favorite Nat King Cole number, Autumn Leaves.

Next, let me bring you the music of Ben Webster on tenor sax and his followed by Paul Desmond (alto sax) and Stan Getz (tenor sax). Finally, let us listen to the talented Diana Krall, the new Lady of Jazz. I dedicate this to our young generation of jazz fans. Cheers.–Din Merican

Miles Davies–Kind of Blue

Someday My Prince will come

Autumn Leaves

Ben Webster–Over the Rainbow

What is the Thing called LOVE

Paul Desmond–Take Ten

All Things Are with Dave Brubeck Trio


Stan Getz–O Grande Amor

Samba De Una Nota

Diana Krall–Live in Rio

Your Weekend Entertainment: Singing The Blues

July 6, 2012

Your Weekend Entertainment: Singing The Blues

We have pleasure in presenting to you Miss Billie Holiday as  your entertainer for this weekend. After listening to these signature tunes by her, you will agree with us that Lady Day is the greatest female exponent of this All-American art form called the Blues. In this selection, she is accompanied by some of the best jazz men of all times.

Wikipedia–Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Harris ( April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.

Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday “changed the art of American pop vocals forever.” She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably “God Bless the Child“, “Don’t Explain“, “Fine and Mellow“, and “Lady Sings the Blues“. She also became famous for singing “Easy Living“, “Good Morning Heartache“, and “Strange Fruit“, a protest song which became one of her standards and was made famous with her 1939 recording.

Dr Kamsiah and I hope you enjoy listening  to this fine and mellow voice who has become a  jazz legend with few equals. –Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

The Lady Sings the Blues

What a Little Moonlight can do to You

Blue Moon

All or Nothing At All

All of Me

Stormy Weather

April in Paris

Crazy He Calls Me

Natalie Cole’s Version

How about this jazzy swinging tune?

This Weekend: Tribute to Donna Summer

May 18, 2012

This Weekend: Tribute to Donna Summer

The world lost a musical talent on Thursday May 17, 2012 with the passing of Ms. Donna Summer at the age of 63. Here is a report on her death:

Associated PressBy MESFIN FEKADU | Associated Press: Disco Queen Donna Summer dies at 63

AP National Writer Hillel Italie in New York and AP Music Writer Nekesa Moody and Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Like the King of Pop or the Queen of Soul, Donna Summer was bestowed a title fitting of musical royalty — the Queen of Disco.Yet unlike Michael Jackson or Aretha Franklin, it was a designation she wasn’t comfortable embracing.

I grew up on rock ‘n’ roll,” Summer once said when explaining her reluctance to claim the title.Indeed, as disco boomed then crashed in a single decade in the 1970s, Summer, the beautiful voice and face of the genre with pulsating hits like “I Feel Love,” ”Love to Love You Baby” and “Last Dance,” would continue to make hits incorporating the rock roots she so loved. One of her biggest hits, “She Works Hard for the Money,” came in the early 1980s and relied on a smoldering guitar solo as well as Summer’s booming voice.

Yet it was with her disco anthems that she would have the most impact in music, and it’s how she was remembered Thursday as news spread of her death at age 63.

Summer died of cancer Thursday morning in Naples, Fla., said her publicist Brian Edwards. Her family released a statement saying they “are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.”

Luminaries from Aretha Franklin to Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand mourned the loss, as did President Barack Obama, who said he and Michelle were saddened to hear of the passing of the five-time Grammy winner. “Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna’s family and her dedicated fans.”

It had been decades since that brief, flashy moment when Summer was every inch the Disco Queen.

Her glittery gowns and long eyelashes. Her luxurious hair and glossy, open lips. Her sultry vocals, her bedroom moans and sighs. She was as much a part of the culture as disco balls, polyester, platform shoes and the music’s pulsing, pounding rhythms.

Summer’s music gave voice to not only a musical revolution, but a cultural one — a time when sex, race, fashion and drugs were being explored and exploited with freedom like never before in the United States.

Her rise was inseparable from disco’s itself, even though she remained popular for years after the genre she helped invent had died. She won a Grammy for best rock vocal performance for “Hot Stuff,” a fiery guitar-based song that represented her shift from disco to more rock-based sounds, and created another kind of anthem with “She Works Hard for the Money,” this time for women’s rights.

Elton John said in a statement that Summer was more than the Queen of Disco.”Her records sound as good today as they ever did. That she has never been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is a total disgrace especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted,” he said. “She is a great friend to me and to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and I will miss her greatly.”

Summer may not have liked the title and later became a born-again Christian, but many remembered her best for her early years, starting with the sinful “Love to Love You Baby.”

Released in 1975, a breakthrough hit for Summer and for disco, it was a legend of studio ecstasy and the genre’s ultimate sexual anthem. Summer came up with the idea of the song and first recorded it as a demo in 1975, on the condition that another singer perform it commercially. But Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart liked the track so much that he suggested to producer Giorgio Moroder they re-record it, and make it longer — what would come to be known as a “disco disc.”

Summer had reservations about the lyrics — “Do it to me again and again” — but imagined herself as a movie star playing a part as if she were Marilyn Monroe. So she agreed to sing, lying down on the studio floor, in darkness, and letting her imagination take over. Solo and multitracked, she whispered, she groaned, she crooned. Drums, bass, strings and keyboards answered her cries. She simulated climax so many times that the BBC kept count: 23, in 17 minutes.

What started as a scandal became a classic. The song was later sampled by LL Cool J, Timbaland and Beyonce, who interpolated the hit for her jam “Naughty Girl.” It was also Summer’s U.S. chart debut and the first of 19 No. 1 dance hits between 1975 and 2008 — second only to Madonna.

Summer, real name LaDonna Adrian Gaines, was born in 1948 in Boston. She was raised on gospel music and became the soloist in her church choir by age 10.

“There was no question I would be a singer, I just always knew. I had credit in my neighborhood, people would lend me money and tell me to pay it back when I got famous,” Summer said in a 1989 interview with The Associated Press.

Before disco, she had already reinvented herself several times. She sang Motown songs with local groups in Boston as a teenager, then dropped out of school in the late 1960s and switched to pyschedelic rock after hearing Janis Joplin. An attempt to get a part in the musical “Hair” led her to get the principal role in Munich. She stayed in Germany for five years, worked in other productions and modeled.

Meanwhile, she was performing in operas, singing backup for Three Dog Night and other groups and releasing songs of her own. A marriage to Helmuth Sommer didn’t last, but the singer did hold on to her ex-husband’s last name, changing it to “Summer.” By 1974, she had met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and released her first album, “Lady of the Night,” to success in Europe.

Then came “Love to Love You Baby,” her memorable U.S. debut. Through the rest of the disco era she burned up the charts: She was the only artist to have three consecutive double-LPs hit No. 1, “Live and More,” ”Bad Girls” and “On the Radio.” She was also the first female artist with four No. 1 singles in a 13-month period, according to the Rock Hall of Fame, where she was a nominee this year but was passed over.

Musically, she began to change in 1979 with “Hot Stuff,” which had a tough, rock ‘n’ roll beat. Her diverse sound helped her earn Grammy Awards in the dance, rock, R&B and inspirational categories.

Summer said grew up on rock ‘n’ roll and later covered the Bruce Springsteen song “Protection.”

“I like the Moody Blues, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, the Supremes and Temptations,” she said. “I didn’t know many white kids who didn’t know the Supremes; I don’t know many black kids who don’t know the Moody Blues.”

Warwick said in a statement that she was sad to lose a great performer and “dear friend.” “My heart goes out to her husband and her children,” Warwick said. “Prayers will be said to keep them strong.”

Summer later became a born-again Christian and was accused of making anti-gay comments in relation to the AIDS epidemic — a particular problem for a woman who was and remains a gay icon. Summer denied making the comments, but became the target of a boycott.

Religion played an important role in her later life, said Michael Levine, who briefly worked as her publicist.”Her passion in her life, besides music, was God, spirituality and religion. She held a bible study class at her home every week,” he said.

Summer released her last album, “Crayons,” in 2008. It was her first full studio album in 17 years. She also performed on “American Idol” that year with its top female contestants.

Summer is survived by her husband, Bruce Sudano, and three daughters, Brooklyn, Mimi and Amanda.


We join her fans around the world including Mr. Bean in New York in tribute to this amazing Disco Queen.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Donna Summer –This Time I Know It’s For Real

Try Me, I know We Can Make It

I Feel Love

Don’t Wanna Get Hurt

The Only One

With Tina Arena–No More Tears

Con Te Patiro

Andrea Bocelli-Dedicated to the Late Donna Summer

Celine and Andrea–My Prayer

This Time it is JAZZ for Your Weekend

April 21, 2012

Your Weekend Entertainment: This Time it is JAZZ


It has been quite a while that Dr. Kamsiah and I brought jazz to you for your weekend entertainment. So we thought we play this uniquely American bandstand music for this weekend, and  we hope you will enjoy listening to some of the finest exponents of jazz.

We start off with the great trumpeter, Miles Davies whose Kind of Blue and Someday My Prince will come are fabulous jazz classics. He is accompanied by some of the greatest jazz exponents. Chet Baker  is next with his rendition of Dr. Kamsiah’s favorite song, Autumn Leaves and the popular  I get along very well without You. Chick Corea follows with his popular rendition of Spain and  Return to Forever. Not to be missed, Dave Brubeck Quartet returns with Take Five, La Paloma Azul, and Bossa Nova USA.

Have a great Sunday and be ready for Monday when we will again get down to the business of dealing with the issues in Malaysia and other parts of the world.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Miles Davies–Kind of Blue

Someday My Prince Will Come

Chet Baker-Autumn Leaves

I get along very well without You

Chick Corea–Spain

Return to Forever

Dave Brubeck Quartet-Take Five

La Paloma Azul

Bossa Nova USA

Your Weekend Entertainment

February 25/26, 2012

Your Weekend of Songs by America’s Ladies of Song and Dame Shirley Bassey


Last week we bade farewell to the young, beautiful and talented Whitney Houston and New York gave her a celebratory funeral with eulogies by Kevin Costner, friends and relatives. Gone tragically, she will long be remembered as the finest of her generation. Her funeral was carried to our part of the world live by CNN.

For this weekend’s entertainment we wish to play her popular song just to remember her again. At the same time, we thought it is appropriate to bring back on this blog the voices of some of America’s superb ladies of songs like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald (Mack the Knife), Dinah Washington (with rendition of What a Difference a Day Makes), Sarah Vaughan, jazz pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn and Etta James (singing her popular tune, At Last). To conclude, we thought Nancy Wilson and Dame Shirley should brighten up things with their sultry voices. Please have another good weekend.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Farewell, Whitney: Gone Too Soon

Billie Holiday- What a Little Moonlight Can Do

Ella Fitzgerald–Mack The Knife

Dinah Washington-What a Difference a Day Makes

Sarah Vaughan-September in the Rain

Shirley Horn–The Meaning of the Blues

Etta James–At Last

Nancy Wilson-Like Someone in Love

Wives and Lovers

Shirley Bassey- The Birth of the Blues

Never, Never, Never

Your Entertainment for a Long Weekend (in Malaysia)

February 4, 2012

Your Entertainment for a Long Weekend (in Malaysia)

For us in Malaysia, it is going to be a long weekend since Monday and Tuesday next week are public holidays. Holiday addicted Malaysians would have taken leave on Friday to make their journey to their respective hometowns through the length and breath of Malaysia. To Americans and football fans around the world, it is Super Bowl time (Sunday February 5) as the New York Giants take on the New England Patriots.

Dr Kamsiah and I are having a challenging time to figure out what to play for you. Super Bowl is exciting carnival time for the sports loving Americans and fans of American football around the world.We should have some carnival atmosphere to usher this once in a year event which will be watched around the world.

We agreed to play some lively tunes (in jazz tempo and pop) from Indonesia (our Indonesian friends have great passion for music) and Malaysia. So, we bring to you jazz wunderkind Ermy Kullit, international artiste Anggun, Harvey Malaiholo, and our very own Lady of Jazz Sheila Majid. At Din’s insistence, Titeik Puspa sings Kupu-Kupu Malam again. Please have a great weekend and enjoy the holidays.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Super Bowl 46: New York Giants vs New England Patriots

Ermy Kullit-Persona

Walau Dalam Mimpi

Anggun- I’ll be Alright

Only Love

Harvey Malaiholo-Dara

Sesaat Kau Hadir

Malaysia’s Lady of Jazz Sheila Majid-Antara Anyer dan Jakarta

Semalam aku bermimpi

Titiek Puspa–Kupu Kupu Malam

Happy and Prosperous New Year to All

January 21, 2012

A Very Special Weekend: It’s the Year of the Dragon

Yes, indeed. The Chinese New Year is just around the corner. It is the Year of the Dragon. Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican wish all our Chinese friends and associates a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year. It is that time of the year when you return to your hometown for a reunion dinner with family members. It is also an opportunity to renew friendships. Please drive carefully and take your time as there is no need to rush.

What is special about people born in the Dragon Year? It is said that when it comes to nobility, the Dragon ranks high.  Known as a born leader, the Dragon is the perfect child and adult.  Extremely gifted with luck and strength, this person is usually well respected. Known as being a perfectionist and idealist, the person under the Dragon sign has a difficult time with aging.  Because of this, you see the Dragon remaining youthful throughout life. 

Of all the Chinese zodiac signs, the Chinese see this as being the most desirable year to be born.  Believed to hold some type of magical powers, the Dragon is said to have the ability to fly in the heavens and swim in the seas.  According to Chinese legend, this individual thinks of him or herself as being invincible, often pushing things to a dangerous limit.

The Year of the Dragon –2012 being Year of the Water Dragon–is always considered to be a very successful year for business. However, because dragons are not careful with their money and spend everything they earn (dragons are flamboyant creatures), it will also be very easy to spend in 2012.  So care should be taken to be doubly careful when ensuring that something is saved!

Dragons are also lucky with new beginnings. So this means that effort can be put into launching new ideas and new ventures because the energy of the dragon year will ensure that the venture will be successful. Money will be made. That said, it would be a good idea if dragons, and others that made money in 2012, put a little aside for the future. Overspending is in the nature of the dragon, and therefore it will be a tendency for everybody in the year of the dragon.

For this weekend, we decided to play songs by Tracy Huang, followed  by well known female jazz singers like Natalie Cole, Peggy Lee ( Dr. Kamsiah, Din Merican and Semper Fi visited her final resting place at Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles last July), Holly Cole and Susie Arioli. We hope our choices meet with your approval.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Tracy Huang sings for You

Natalie Cole–Miss You Like Crazy

Like Being in Love

Orange Colored Sky

Peggy Lee and George Shearing

Holly Cole- I can see clearly now

Susie Arioli–Honeysuckle Rose

The Weekend is here again: Time to Relax and Reflect

January 14, 2011

The Weekend is here again: Time to Relax and Reflect

Friends and Associates,

January  2012 started with a bang but last Monday (January 9, 2012), we witnessed a true bomb shell (we are not referring to the explosions caused by some mysterious elements who wanted to create a pandemonium) when the High Court acquitted Anwar Ibrahim of his second sodomy charge.

No one, not even the sages and pundits of Malaysian politics expected that since all the bets were towards his return to Sungei Buloh guilty as charged.After months of negative news, this was a welcome relief. Good sense and some respect for the law prevailed and for one single moment in time Malaysians breathed a sign of relief that the crowd of 7,000 at the court compound was calm and orderly. So let us relax and reflect.

For this weekend, Dr. Kamsiah (with her daughter Elia) and I want to reflect the mood of the nation with some jazzy and swing numbers. We brought an entertainer from a bygone era, Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra to lead our entertainment programme for you.

Old Blue Eyes opens with Din’s favorite Hey, Jealous Lover and he dedicates it to Dr.Kamsiah. Sinatra’s second tune, Mack The Knife, is, in fact, a tribute to Bobby Darin who made it a hit in late 1950s. Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Jazz also made it popular and the album Ella in Berlin in which she sang Mack The Knife won her a Grammy.

Billy Paul is new to both of us, but we liked the way he sings Me and Mrs Jones. Michael Buble and Barry Manilow are equally well known in their own right, but they belong to a new generation of jazz singers.

Din wanted those of his generation like Bean, Semper Fi, Frank, CL Familiaris, Tok Cik, Isa Manteqi, and our Kerbau caretaker Tean Rean, to listen closely to the lyrics of Barry Manilow’s Where does the time go. For them and Din, time has flown so fast while plenty remains to be done. They are wondering when real change will come to Malaysia so that Malaysians will be truly One People again.

It is a shame at this time that we cannot appreciate that diversity is our strength.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Frank Sinatra- Hey Jealous Lover

Mack the Knife

Billy Paul–Me & Mrs. Jones

Michael Buble and Laura–You’ll Never Find

The Way You Look Tonight

Buonasera Signorina

Save the Last Dance for Me

Barry Manilow-I Should Care

Moments to Remember

Where does the time go