In 2011, Unesco declared April 30th as International Jazz Day,  in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. The very active Penang Jazz Society has arranged a weekend of events here in Penang to celebrate International Jazz Day in 2019. The two-day event, on April 27th and 28th, has a programme that includes a Jazz Showcase, a Young Musicians’ Showcase and a series of jazz clinics.


Jazz Showcase, at penangpac at 8pm on Saturday 27th, will feature NewSound, the Michael Veerapen Trio and the Big Band of Penang.

Established in late 2015 by jazz pianist John Dip Silas, NewSound is a modern jazz ensemble based in Malaysia whose mission is to push the boundaries and limitations of jazz composition by constantly releasing and performing new and original material. Their sound is greatly influenced by modern jazz music with a touch of fusion, latin and not forgetting the good ol’ roots of straight ahead swing. They will perform a selection of their own original jazz compositions. Malaysian jazz veteran Micheal Veerapen, jazz pianist, producer, record studio head and mentor, is a driving force behind Malaysia’s jazz scene. He will perform a selection of jazz standards with his talented and experienced Trio.

Big Band of Penang

The Penang Jazz Society’s flagship ensemble the Big Band of Penang will perform big band pieces composed by Andrew Neu, W. Scott Ragsdale, Doug Beach and the Stray Cats. Tickets cost RM 68 and can be purchased at the penangpac box office or online.

The following day, Sunday 28th April, at 3pm, the Young Musicians’ Showcase will take place, also at penangpac. It is a concert featuring Penang’s young jazz talent. The Dalat International School Jazz Band directed by Chris Ramos, will perform a selection of Big Band standards such as Birdland and Blues March, The Universiti Sains Malaysia Mini Big Band will perform a selection of jazz and local numbers arranged by Associate Professor Razif Mohd.  The Han Chiang High School Combo Band will perform a selection of pop songs with a jazz twist, and the Youth Big Band of Penang will round out the afternoon with aome big band standards such as Santana’s Oye Como Va, and Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon. Tickets cost RM 43 and can be purchased at the penangpac box office or online.

In keeping with the educational mission of International Jazz Day, the Penang Jazz Society has also organised a number of jazz clinics on Saturday afternoon. The clinicians will “demystify” the secret of playing jazz, from the nuts and bolts of jazz improvisation to the essentials of the rhythm section. The clinics will also be held at penangpac, and cost RM 10 per clinic if you have already bought a concert ticket. A package price of RM 120 gives you access to both concerts and all three clinics. Tickets for the clinics or the package must be bought at the penangpac box office. 


The clinics are as follows:

2:00-3:30pm Rhythm Section Essentials by Michael Veerapen

3:45pm-5:15pm NUTS and Bolts of Jazz Improvisation, Prof Razif

5:30pm-7pm How to create a good jazz improvisation line by John Dip Silas

More information about Penang’s International Jazz Society and the Penang Jazz Society can be found on their facebook page.