“Jazz Royale” says it all
Will Burroughs & Paul Strachan
Sometimes, words cannot adequately reflect the reality behind the
experience. Occasionally, something so magnificent, so absolutely
magical happens, that it is necessary to invent a new range of
superlatives. I’m known as being particularly hard to please; I’m tough
to convince at the best of times. Recently however, an increasing number
of times in and around the throbbing heart of Pattaya, I have felt
subjected to assaults of great joy, my senses assailed from all sides.
Chris Botti, shining
brighter than his silver trumpet.
Gastronomically, artistically, culturally, musically,
I have given in. Uncharacteristically perhaps, I have been surrendering
most willingly to hedonistic instincts which had hitherto almost been
anathema. It’s true that I have been making a conscious attempt to ‘get
out’ more, but as I was driven at frightening and unnecessary speed in
and out of pot-holes towards the spotlights of Horseshoe Point, lit up
to the heavens, nothing could have prepared me for the multitude of
pleasures that awaited me, at the second of a quartet of jazz
extravaganzas touring Thailand, featuring the very best jazz the world
has to offer.
The rhythms of the night reached me long before I beheld a vision, which
just blew me away. An oasis of jazz lovers bathed in the sweet sounds
emanating from the Regina Carter quintet. She fused exciting technical
proficiency and improvisation with aggressive, fast, fluid, musical
muscle. Her violin embraced a multicultural influence that was both
melodic and percussive. Under a tranquil sky and feeling a breeze which
seemed to undulate to the beat, I was immediately infected by jazz. I
offered no resistance and succumbed to a medium that embeds itself in
your very being. The jazz funked-up rhythm guitar of the McCoy Tyner
Trio takes possession of you physically, mentally and spiritually;
you’re surfing on an endless sea of musical possibility. I had to pause
for breath. “Blimey,” I thought, “and I’ve only just arrived.”
Scheinman (violin) and Franco Pinna (percussion) were the perfect match
playing with Marta Topferova.
I needed sustenance and I needed it now. Around the perimeter of a deep
green oval, purveyors of Pattaya’s finest cuisine waited to grant me my
wish, aided and abetted by suppliers of the most stupendous libation. I
spotted that delicious paragon of cool, Horseshoe Point managing
director, Jate Sopitphongsathorn, all suave subtlety. Drinking it all in
with his gorgeousness were an understated impresario from Canada, Josh
Keller, managing director of Global Arts Concerts Ltd and a rather
ravishing lady from Brighton, latterly Germany, Ina Dittke, who runs
B.P.R. (the artists’ agents). Between them, they had made this
impossible dream come true (you see, I’m running out of superlatives).
Just look at the line up; Marta Topferova, Regina Carter Quintet, Dizzy
Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Georgie Fame, McCoy Tyner Trio, Nancy
Wilson, Chris Botti and Kenny G. Read through the list again; line ups
just don’t get any better. Tremendous.
performer Georgie Fame pounds the ivories.
Marta Topferova, a young woman who grew up in Czechoslovakia and Seattle
(not simultaneously) delivered South American music written by her own
fair hand, in Spanish, with genuine tenderness. Her clear voice, low but
not mannish, was sweet and melancholy and full of a musical gravitas
beyond her 29 years. Hers was a Latin lullaby to enchant.
Amongst an audience which rendered age barriers irrelevant and was
wonderfully cosmopolitan, there was a palpable sense of double
celebration; it was with His Majesty’s love of jazz in mind that the
promoters, in conjunction with Horseshoe Point and the Tourist Authority
of Thailand, had organised this most prestigious series of concerts.
“Jazz Royale” says it all. In this most auspicious of auspicious years,
His Majesty the Kings 79th birthday and the 60th year of his ascension
to the thrown, one respectfully hopes that such a landmark event would
have met with the seal of approval.
Topferova, shown here with Pedro Giraudo on bass, delivered South
American music written by her own fair hand, in Spanish, with genuine
The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, a veritable “Who’s who?” of jazz
musicians, was formed in 1998 to continue the legacy of the late
master’s classic big band repertoire. This show was real foot stomping
jazz, suitably enhanced by the helter skelter voice of Roberta
The mood switched again, with the world’s leading female singer, elegant
two-time Grammy award winner Nancy Wilson. Her sweet pop ballads and
soulful blues mark her as the prototype of a contemporary female singer
and she graced the stage with the confidence and poise of someone who
has made more than 60 albums in four decades. Although in the late
summer of her years her voice retains her trademark earthy, gritty
character. She was perched delicately on her chair and had everybody’s
ear; it was like being told bedtime stories by a Princess. She took
great pleasure in acknowledging her fellow musicians and was manifest in
her delight at taking part in this wonderful festival. In honour of His
Majesty, here was a truly regal performance from one of the world’s
Legend himself: McCoy Tyner
As Georgie Fame, a blast from the past steaming into the future, bridged
the musical river between rock and jazz, it struck me; once you’ve
experienced it live, there’s very little else that can compare. There
were thousands smothering themselves in melodious satisfaction, either
semi-recumbent on the verdant pasture or seated on those silver encased
cushions around tables laden with consumables, which have become
synonymous with Horseshoe Point’s sensuous attention to detail. The
ambition was not without risk; this was a concert on the grand scale.
Yet remarkably, they had retained a sense of the intimate, a sensation
wonderfully, dramatically and spectacularly enriched by both Chris Botti
and Kenny G, who moved and played amongst their disciples.
musicians were as captivated as the audience.
It’s just a personal preference, but I have never and I mean never,
heard trumpet like I heard that glorious evening, such was the soft,
gentle, subtle yet powerful and intense purity of sound. I was under a
spell. Sure, Botti’s a good looking guy, sure he was dressed to woo in
electric ultramarine that set the heart ablaze, but the sound, oh the
sound! There’s something untouchable about the pure brilliance of a note
launched into the night, that satisfies the soul in the most beautiful
way imaginable. His band was as tight as a rope too, their intuitive
control impeccable; they played as one but out there, far beyond the
stage was Botti, shining brighter than his silver trumpet. The highlight
of his set was a rearrangement of the love theme from the movie Cinema
Paradiso. Composed by Ennio Morricone, it was as if Botti was on a
mission, serenading each and every one of his spectators, with music of
Kenny G, rivulets of flowing flaxen locks a bundle of
natural harmony, appeared as if hailed from above. From nowhere,
suddenly under a spotlight, there he was amongst his followers. From the
first bewitching note, his saxophone coaxed, cajoled, nurtured, sang,
suggested, swooned, swooped and seduced. It was as if the stars, surely
the place from whence he had come, were listening too. There was one
note that lasted minutes, a plaintive cry that grew into a surge of hope
and then exploded into rapture and blinding climax. Then silence. Then
he spoke. In Thai. I mean give the man credit; the dude speaks Thai.
Jazz musicians always seem so cool; so nice (I hate that word usually)
but I had to hand it to Kenny G. Him, his band, they were all
unbelievably impressive. Quite a few of them had grown up together in
Seattle (what is it with that place?) and had been playing together for
twenty years or so. It showed, frankly. There was a most enviable and
obvious unity which translated into a free flowing, flexible and
sometimes frenzied fluidity which was at once both intoxicating and
liberating. At the centre of it all was Kenny G, loving every minute -
and the audience loved him too. They dared him to do more and he did,
running an hour past time no less, sharing his abundant gifts with his
The Average White Band’s ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ was one last rush, causing
the sky, by now as black as Prussian blue, to light up and get down,
whilst his soulful interpretation of His Majesty the King’s compositions
was the most appropriate tribute conceivable to a glorious year and a
simply sensational evening.
Highlights of Jazz Royale, including exclusive interviews with Chris
Botti and Kenny G, can be seen on PMTV on Friday the 22nd and Saturday
the 23rd of December.
Chris Botti and Mark
The magical sounds of Mark
Whitfield who performed with Chris Botti, mesmerized the audience.
Nancy Wilson’s sweet pop
ballads and soulful blues mark her as the prototype of a contemporary
female singer, and she graced the stage with confidence and poise.
Trombonist Slide Hampton
and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band.
Kenny G, rivulets of
flowing flaxen locks a bundle of natural harmony, appeared as if hailed
Booths spread about the
grounds offered everything from souvenirs to refreshments.
An oasis of jazz lovers
bathed in the sweet sounds emanating from the Regina Carter quintet.
The crowd loved it when
artists like Chris Botti moved and played amongst them.
The Dizzy Gillespie
All-Star Big Band, a veritable “Who’s who?” of jazz musicians, performed
real foot stomping jazz.
Kamala Sukosol (2nd right)
was amongst the dignitaries at the show.
An evening of blood, sweat and beers
The Singha Challenge ‘Taste of Thailand’ at The Hard Rock Hotel, Pattaya
The Singha Challenge ‘Taste of Thailand’ was held at the Hard Rock Café,
December 3rd and although billed as a cross-cultural event, it actually
proved to be a night of music, madness and mayhem put on by organizers
Singha Beer, the Hard Rock Hotel and Pattaya Mail Publishing Co Ltd.
acquired taste? The ‘delicious’ fried grasshopper went down a treat.
To get the crowd going the up-and-coming band Futon performed an
outstanding set with a sound that was tight, rhythmic and energetic.
Then it was time for the games to begin, and the emcee introduced four
foreigners on stage - two young ladies from Russia and two men from
The purpose of the game was to find out “Can Farang ever be Thai?”
The game was divided into five rounds, the first being “Wai like a Thai”
where, after a demonstration, the Farangs did a very good job, getting
cheers from the enthusiastic audience.
some promise but a few things need to be worked on
Next up it was time for a snack Thai style where the willing contestants
had to eat that famous Thai delicacy ... a frog!
The Farangs managed to devour the creatures and then it was onto round
three where they had to recite the name Bangkok. Easy enough, possibly,
but the snag was it had to be the full, original, Thai name, recognized
by the Guiness Book of Records as the longest place name in the world:
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayutthaya Mahadilok
Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon
Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanu Kamprasit.
sounds easy to remember but to recite the capital’s full name a piece of
paper comes in handy.
At this, the crowd burst into laughter hearing the Farangs try to recite
something that all Thais know very well. One of the Russian girls got
the loudest applause with this one.
There was still more to come, with a beautiful demonstration of Thai
dancing that then had to be emulated by the Farangs.
Then it was into the final round called “The Beerhunter”. Cans of beer
(courtesy of Singha, of course) were placed on a tray and only one was
The contestants had to hold the can against their head, mimicking that
famous scene of Russian roulette from the movie The Deerhunter and then
open them hoping that they wouldn’t be covered in beer.
your heart out De Niro. The “Beerhunter” hits town.
However it turned out that all the cans had been shaken! Needless to say
it was a beery mess, although happily without all the blood of the
One of the Russian girls received a crate of Singha as first prize and
as the emcee made his closing address the effects of excess drinking
mixed with eating frogs was obviously too much for one of the Aussies,
who promptly threw up on stage. Yes, it was a truly cross-cultural
By this point the crowd were well oiled and the party continued with
some blues courtesy of an all-Farang line up called Cannonball.
The correct way to do it.
“Wai like a Thai”: This charming custom can
be confusing to some.
Futon performed an outstanding set to get
crowd in the mood for the madness to come.
Blues band Cannonball kept the party rocking
into the night.
Charity Club, Jameson’s brighten Camillian Centre children’s lives with exciting Christmas party
At 11 a.m. on Saturday 9th December the Charity Club
of Pattaya greeted all the children from the Camillian Centre, a home
for children and orphans affected by HIV/AIDS to Jameson’s the Irish Pub
to the first of their Christmas treats.
Kim Fletcher brought in extra staff to help with the 55 VERY excited
children, as well as providing them with soft drinks, food and
and Christina help Santa Narong hand out presents to the children.
The Christmas decorations in Jameson’s are fantastic, and the look on
the faces of the children as they arrived really brought home what a
magic time Christmas is.
As soon as the children arrived they were served with an array of soft
drinks to refresh them from their journey from Rayong. Ten minutes later
the Jameson’s chef brought out a mountain of food, which the children
all tucked into with great gusto!
As the plates were being cleared the children were seated ready for the
magic show, and Hey Presto Dr. Magic the magic man appeared complete
with a shocking pink Mohican haircut!
of the presents were nearly as big as the children receiving them.
The children couldn’t believe their eyes as Dr. Magic produced chickens,
doves, potato crisps and sweets out of thin air! The children shrieked
with laughter as one of the children began producing water through a
funnel as DR Magic pumped his arm! The Magic show ended with raptures
applause from the Children.
No sooner had Dr. Magic disappeared the children heard the HO HO HO of
Santa arriving! Santa was soon surrounded by 55 children, all waiting
with the wide eyes of anticipation to see what he had in store for them,
and boy did he have some toys to give out!
Some of the children’s gifts were bigger than the child, which added to
the wonder in the children’s face … wondering how to carry it home.
As the real Santa was busy getting everything ready for the 25th the
Charity Club arranged for a special Thai Santa to stand in for him, in
the shape of Narong Srichiangmai. Narong is one of the Charity Club’s
supporters who was fortunate enough to be plied with a couple of
Heinekens to agree to be the Thai Santa.
The children were amazed to see a Thai Santa this year, which added to
the magic of the day.
After Santa had handed all the gifts out the children sang Christmas
carols and then took the opportunity to thank Santa Narong, Malcolm and
Christina Boden and Kim Fletcher for the wonderful start to the
Many of the Charity Club’s supporters turned out for this pre Christmas
event, including John Seymour of Northern Thai Reality, Kevin Fisher of
Cranes and Equipment Asia, and Peter Rottmann past president of Rotary
Krasang-Buriram, who was attending to visit one of the children who
through the Charity Club had been received into the Camillian Centre
when she was found living with HIV/AIDS with her grandmother, who was
unable to afford any medication for her. Peter, who lives in Krasang,
keeps in touch with the Charity Club and often asks for their help.
The money for the presents was raised at Kilkenny’s and the Queen
Victoria Inn plus private donations from Duane Pebworth of GessweinSiam
Bangkok and Dennis and Hilary Hill.
The Charity Club of Pattaya would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you”
to Kim Fletcher of Jameson’s and his staff, Dr. Magic and of course
Santa Narong for all the help making this Christmas treat for the
Children such a joy to watch.
The Christmas decorations
are great this year at Jameson’s.
Dr. Magic and his shocking
pink Mohican haircut keeps the children mesmerized.
Hard Rock rocks on with Funky Beach Party
(From left) Dumrong
Thaveema, director of loss prevention & security; Kamoldech Emsawana,
front office manager; Mrs. Rosalind Khoo; Andrew Khoo, general manager;
and Raymond M. Dumanauw, director of IT operations & development from
Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, joined the annual party
“Hard rockers” one and
Hard Rock Hotel employees enjoyed a Funky Beach Party to close their
annual sports festival on December 7.
Along with the clothes that each employee selected to match the theme,
the staff was divided in four team colors and there was a Funky Beach
Boy and Girl competition.
The Funky Beach Boy winner was Dude “JR”, Teerayuth Yimpra from the rock
agent department. Funky Beach Girl was Girly “Nicky” Varavlan Laokermhun
from the sales and marketing department. General manager Andrew Khoo
presented each of them with a prize of 1,500 baht.
Following the contest was music and dancing, led by a DJ, and live music
from the Rock Freedom Band.
“Hey, is this the beach?
It looks different today.”
The orange team puts on a
Pattaya’s first Christkindlmarkt nets 140,000 baht
Saturday December 9 saw the Eastern Seaboard Rotary Club, led by its
president Marliese Fritz, presenting its first “Christkindlmarkt” in the
ballroom of the Pattaya Marriott Resort.
Ryser, future president of the Eastern Seaboard Rotary Club, encouraged
by current president, Marliese Fritz, was eager to sell donated
champagne for a hundred baht a glass.
Traders from Pattaya and Bangkok, along with individuals and clubs, came
along to display their goods. Some planned to donate their revenue to
charity associations, such as the Mercy Center, the Eastern Seaboard
Rotary Club, the German women’s circle “Plauderstunde”, and the Soul
Searchers meditation group.
Once again Ursula, the owner of Ursula’s Antiques shop, showed her
generosity by handing over the profits from her sales to the Eastern
Seaboard Rotary Club and donating three main prizes as well. Casa
Pascal, Flamboyant, Bruno’s, Rabbit Resort, Cucumber, Swiss Paradise,
Mini Golf, Häfele, and Amigo Tailor were also amongst the warmhearted
again Ursula, the owner of Ursula’s Antiques shop, showed her generosity
by handing over the profits from her sales to the Eastern Seaboard
Rotary Club and donating three main prizes as well.
Marriott Resort offered their ballroom, while Pattaya Blatt took care of
making the event public. The first prize, a moped, was provided by the
Eastern Seaboard Rotary Club, and of course there were many sponsors of
other smaller prizes.
On sale was a diversity of goods ranging from bread, jewelry, books,
furniture and Christmas ornaments, through to dinnerware and even
spiritual healing pyramids and stones.
Steve Ryser, future president of the Eastern Seaboard Rotary Club, was
eager to sell the donated champagne for a hundred baht a glass. His
stall always seemed to be crowded with many guests and traders. Heinz
Fritz and his helpers were successfully busy selling heaps of items. The
big prize went to Tony Müller, a Swiss living in Surin, who came to
visit Pattaya with his Thai wife. He is currently trying to find out how
to transport his brand new red-colored moped to his home in Isaan.
This first Christkindlmarkt in Pattaya can be regarded as a successful
event, as the net profit for the club equaled almost 140,000 baht.
Organizers plan to hold this event every year from now on to guarantee a
real flavor of Christmas for tourists and locals.
The Soul Searchers
meditation group took part in the first “Christkindlmarkt” in the
ballroom of the Pattaya Marriott Resort.
BCCT finds the point in life
And Raimon Land finds a good party
(L to R) Greg Watkins,
executive director of BCCT; Mark Butters, director of BCCT; Richard
Belair, managing director of Ink it Group Co., Ltd.; and Simon Matthers,
general manager of Manpower.
By Dr. Iain Corness
The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) found the point of life
and living in Wong Amat, in fact the Northpoint, described by Henri
Young, marketing director of Raimon Land, as absolute beachfront living,
on Wong Amat Beach. As a venue it was superb, with the 100 plus members
and guests enjoying the cool breezes on the boardwalk, while mingling
to R) Dueanpen Thongsombat, sales manager of Mantra Restaurant & Bar;
Martin Kroeni, executive assistant manager of Amari Orchid Resort &
Tower; and Ampawan Kuhasak, assistant sales manager of Mantra Restaurant
With the food coming again from the Mantra restaurant, the Amari’s
people were out in force, with assistant GM Michael Goetz, executive
assistant manager Martin Kroeni, the Mantra’s restaurant operations
manager Geev Bahrampoori, complete with two lovely ladies from the sales
team, Dueanpen Thongsombat and Ampawan Kuhasak, who very quickly ran out
of business cards! However, it seems that Mantra means business!
Others in the food business that were pressing business cards furiously
included Michelle Lippert from Manhattans Steakhouse (for man-sized
American steaks), David Han from the Timeout Gelato Bars (best gelato in
Pattaya without a doubt), and Karan Singh, the GM of the new Taj Taste
of India restaurant opposite X-Zyte disco on Third Road.
The waterfront venue seemed to relax everyone (or was it the wine?) and
there was much enthusiasm being shown in the spirited conversations (did
they have spirits as well?), but nobody more enthusiastic than Joe
Assarasakorn from the Asian University talking clearly about IT fuzzy
logic and artificial intelligence! For ‘real’ intelligence, The
Economist Intelligence Unit was also present, represented by Ekjaree
Thanasawangkui, Business Development manager for Dataconsult.
Looking for people looking at a Northpoint unit were Colin Beech and
William McKinnon from Credenda Associates, a group that can find money
for you, to be able to buy a part of Henri Young’s “absolute beachfront
living”. Unfortunately, to qualify for the largesse you need to own
property overseas, thereby dashing all my hopes of a penthouse in the
Of course there were the stalwarts, executive director of the BCCT, Greg
Watkins, who publicly acknowledged the good relationship that the BCCT
has had with the Pattaya Mail for many years, helping his chamber
become the largest in Thailand. The BCCT vice-president, Graham
Macdonald was everywhere, with his usual infectious smile. Another in
this category was Andrew Wood, the GM of the Chaophya Hotels and
Resorts, a group that has gone from strength to strength since Andrew
took over the reins three years ago. Other regulars in this very British
group included Peter Smith and Malcolm Scorer from AA Insurance Brokers
(and Malcolm can get you a Thailand Elite card as well).
But the thought of a good party certainly brought in more than a few
non-Brits, including American George Strampp and Aussie Paul (Tinfish)
Whyte (whose jokes had not improved since the Australian chamber evening
a few weeks ago). The party also brought in some residents of Raimon
Land’s other Pattaya development, Northshore, with American Ron Pitelka
seen enjoying himself with the food and wines and the company.
As an Xmas networking evening, this was one of the BCCT’s best, and
Pattaya is looking forward to what the BCCT will be arranging next year.
As usual, details will be published in the Pattaya Mail.
(L to R) Greg Watkins,
executive director of BCCT; Andrew J. Wood, general manager of Chaophya
Park Hotel & Resorts Co., Ltd.; Graham Macdonald, vice chairman of BCCT;
George Strampp, VP Business Development Asia Pacific of Interstar
Technology Group Co., Ltd.; and Geev Andre Bahrampoori, restaurant
operations manager of Mantra Restaurant & Bar.
(Front, L to R) Malcolm
Scorrer managing director of Watermark Capital Management Co., Ltd.;
Sasichol Thongnak, asst. director of sales Amari Orchid Resort & Tower;
Tim Gladwin, managing director of Sallmanns (Eastern Seaboard) Limited;
Dr. Christopher Oates, managing director of Agro Food Resources
(Thailand) Co., Ltd.; Jitra Wongjuan, account executive of Watermark
Capital Management Co., Ltd.; and (back) Michael Goetz, executive
assistant manager at Amari Orchid Resort & Tower.