The Borneo Post (Sabah)
More tourists attend KK Jazz Festival
KOTA KINABALU: The KK Jazz Festival has become a muchanticipated musical experience and a premier event in the annual Sabah Tourism calendar not only enjoyed by jazz aficionados, but by the public at large.
Locals from all walks of life, including students, were seen mingling and enjoying the music of the evening.
This year, the festival committee went further to draw more tourists into the mix of its existing diverse audience.
Japanese couple Junko and Masaru Kaneko were spotted enjoying the evening of music looking quite at home amid the assorted crowd.
Junko told The Borneo Post that this was the fifth instalment of the jazz festival that the couple had attended, saying that they enjoyed the event and made it a point to attend every year.
“We like the festival because we get to see a lot of different performers from all over the world, as well as quality local acts,” said Junko, adding that her favourite performance to date is a Cuban band who performed at the festival two years ago.
Junko hoped to see more international artistes and local school bands in future KK Jazz Festival.
Masaru said they had watched local school bands perform before and thought they were very talented and should be given a platform such as the KK Jazz Festival.
He said it would be good to involve the younger generation to give them exposure, as they already have the talents to showcase.
Masaru added that the couple liked big jazz bands and suggested that Japanese jazz bands should be invited for future instalments, as they are equally skilled.
Organising chairman Jack Ong said there were indeed more tourists at this year’s festival compared to previous years, as reported by food and beverage vendors whose booths were visited by Koreans, mainland Chinese and Japanese.
Realising this, Malaysian band Albino Deer made an effort to greet tourists between songs in their native languages.
Kenneth Lai, who also frequents the festival, said he enjoyed the performances this year, adding that the quality of performers is consistent with each instalment.
“I don’t think there’s much to say on improvement of performances, but not in a bad way, because it’s always nice and different every year.
“However, perhaps one improvement to the festival would be a different seating plan, so that regular ticket holders can sit closer to the stage and have a better view,” he suggested.
The highlight of the festival came in the finale of the second night, with a performance by veteran musician Sybil Thomas.
Backed by a seven-piece band comprising local musicians, including Sabahan fingerstyle guitarist Gordon Chin, Sybil paid tribute to her late uncle Bobby Taylor at the beginning of her set.
The crowd joined her in remembrance of the Motown musical legend, and celebrated the talent of local musicians featured onstage, playing alongside Sybil.