Penang has a healthy and vibrant jazz scene; the Penang Island Jazz Festival celebrates its 15th year in 2018, and jazz groups are a staple at The Canteen at ChinaHouse, The Star Pitt Street, and other live music venues. The Penang Jazz Society, and its flagship ensemble the Big Band of Penang (BBoP), is dedicated to promoting jazz through performance, education and community engagement and has started organising a series of well-received concerts at penangpac. The next one is this coming Saturday June 2nd at 8.15pm.

Headlining the show is BBoP, whose 20 or so members perform regularly here in Penang and also in overseas festivals, most recently in Taiwan and Thailand, and which is led by exuberant and enthusiastic music director Jerome Quah. BBoP will play several classics from across the spectrum of big band music, ranging from swing to samba.

Debuting that night will be the BBoP Dixieland Group. A few members of the Big Band have got together to focus on playing dixieland numbers and they will be performing dixieland arrangements of Royal Garden Blues, Lazy River and When The Saints Go Marching In. Dixieland arrangements are written for clarinet, trumpet, sax, bones and a rhythm section.

Absent from the Penang jazz scene for some time, the The Northern Jazz Unit will make its comeback at this concert, performing three jazz standards. Also debuting that night will be Joanna and Desmond, a duo of Desmond, the BBoP bassist, and newcomer 16-year-old jazz singer Joanna, who will perform acoustic numbers.

Jazz @ penangpac, Straits Quay, on 2nd June begins at 8.15pm.Tickets cost RM 43 (RM 27 for concessions) and are available from the penangpac box office or at

More information about the Penang Jazz Society and the Big Band of Penang can be found on their Facebook page at