Preview: Shaolin Fez at Fringe Club
Californian Sam Ferrer came to Hong Kong 10 years ago to join the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra as a double bassist. He still does that job, but as with many players in the ensemble he has musical interests outside the classical repertoire.
These have found expression in Shaolin Fez, a band he describes as "a large ensemble using retro-sounds to give our take on acid jazz, symphonic disco, and Sino-funk".
They have two gigs this week. The first is a charity benefit performance tonight at the University of Hong Kong to raise funds for an urgent lung transplant for Kenzo Wilson, the 11-year-old son of fellow Philharmonic musician, violist Kaori Wilson.
The second, comprising two shows tomorrow night at the Fringe Club Cabaret Theatre, will be the first performance in its entirety of Calm Your Storm, Shaolin Fez's first CD. They will also be performing The James Bond Suite, based on music from the James Bond movies.
"When our singer, Jennifer Palor, first heard the music she referred to it as 'James Bond meets acid jazz'. Our ensemble really suits the James Bond material," says Ferrer.
Almost all of the Calm Your Storm music is composed as well as arranged by Ferrer, except for one piece based on a theme by Tchaikovsky.
"One thing that's kind of different in our music is the use of French horns, which gives it more of a film score sound," Ferrer says.
The album is now available on iTunes, at Shaolin Fez shows, or at the box office of the Fringe Club.
The performing line-up for the band is slightly different to that on the album, although Palor continues to provide vocals.
"I've brought in some jazz musicians … We have an outstanding young drummer named Almond Yeung, and South American guitarist Orlando Bonzi, who is really great. We also have a local percussionist Margie Tong."
Playing For Kenzo - A Fund-raising Concert , Loke Yew Hall, University of Hong Kong, tonight, 6.30pm, admission is free but donations welcome. Fringe Club Cabaret Theatre, 7.30pm, 9.30pm, HK$100 for one show and one drink. Inquiries: 2521 7251. The band will also appear at the Clockenflap Music and Arts Festival in December