Blue notes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 November, 2010, 12:00am

Let's hope this is a busy week for Peel Fresco. The small SoHo club at 49 Peel Street is a staunch supporter of live music and, starting tomorrow, it hosts its annual seven-day jazz festival featuring most of the town's leading musicians, plus a few visiting former residents.

Proceedings begin tomorrow with guitarists Tommy Ho and Skip Moy. Ho, a successful record producer, composer and session musician, hasn't played many jazz gigs lately, but appears to be re-energised. He and Moy are a potent combination. Their set begins at 9.30pm, as do all the evening shows this week.

'What better way to start our festival than with two of Hong Kong's jazz icons?' Peel Fresco proprietor Rob Baker says.

Tuesday features Deaf Aids, led by bassist/composer Peter Scherr and featuring Brazilian tenor sax player Paulo Levi, pianist Bob Mocarsky, and drummer Jack Greminger.

On Wednesday, pianist Allen Youngblood leads his regular band, Jazbalaya, through a set of standards and his own original compositions, particularly those reflecting his Caribbean heritage.

On Thursday Mocarsky is joined by guitarist Guy Le Claire and drummer Robbin Harris.

Friday night promises to be packed for the Eugene Pao Quartet, which recently performed at the Shanghai Expo, featuring Ted Lo on keyboards, Ah Hong on bass and Jun Kung on drums. They will be performing a jazz fusion-based set.

Saturday's action starts at 1pm with Mexican singer Alba and guitarist Elaine Leung, getting things off to a gentle start with a mix of jazz, pop and Latin tunes.

At 4pm the Rickard Malmsten Group take the stage, playing a set primarily composed of Swedish bassist Malmsten's compositions. The band comprises Jim Schneider on keyboards, Levi on tenor sax and Greminger on drums.

Taking over at 7pm is Indonesian singer Mia Samira, joined by Schneider on keyboards, Ah Hong on bass and Harris on drums. Proceedings close with a set from South African vocalist Brigitte Mitchell commencing at 10pm.

Sunday (November 21) is the final day of the festival, starting at 1pm with the Young Cats Quartet comprising Almond Yeung on drums, Wong Tak-chung on bass, Daniel Lo on keyboards and Tung on guitar.

Canadian singer Gigi Marentette's set begins at 4pm.

Bringing the festival to a rousing conclusion at 8pm is the Blaine Whittaker Band, led by Australian soprano sax star Whittaker joined by Youngblood on keyboards, Scott Dodd on bass and Harris on drums. The set will be followed by a late-night jam session.

Peel Fresco is one of the most consistent supporters of live jazz in Hong Kong, and this week's performances deserve support. Admission is free.

Take Three

Noteworthy albums by participants in the Peel Fresco Jazz Festival:

Eugene Pao Project (2005, Wellframe Entertainment): a multimedia project released in DVD, SACD and CD formats, this superbly filmed and recorded portrait of Pao with special guests Ted Lo and singer Angelita Li captures the guitarist at his best.

Sound Barrier (2008, Saxis): saxophonist Blaine Whittaker's third solo album demonstrates the full stylistic range of one of the leading Australian jazz musicians of his generation.

Island Reflections (2008, Jazzgriot): Pianist/composer Allen Youngblood performs compositions inspired by his memories of life in the Caribbean and also of island locations in Asia.