The weekend of March 24th & 25th saw the inaugural True Jazz Festival at Hua Hin. Fifty famous international artists, including a winner of 10 Grammy awards, and a number of leading Thai artists performed on stage to the delight of the appreciative crowds.
Festival goers have The Agency Co., Ltd., True Arena Hua Hin, and the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort to thank for their strong support in sponsoring the music fest. Over 10 million baht was spent by the True Arena Hua Hin Sport Complex to build the large, international standard concert stage and vast playground especially for this festival.
The first notes kicking off the Jazz Festival were played by the Bangkok Brass Band, a new-age group of artists with a groove rhythm, that got the audience dancing from the beginning. The Thailand All-Stars Jazz Orchestra were up next. The master jazz band was conducted by Dr. Den Yuprasert. The audience was yelling loudly and appreciatively when Thanachai Ujjin, also known as Pod Modern Dog came out to sing many of his top singles, such as “Rak Khun Kao Laew”, “Busaba” and others.
Eighty-eight year old, legendary Jazz artist Benny Golson was up next along with his quartet. Benny is the only living jazz artist who has composed 8 famous jazz songs which have become jazz standards and been re-recorded many times. The crowd was treated to Benny’s “Killer Joe”, “I Remember Clifford”, “Along Came Betty” and many more. Benny has recorded 30 popular albums with over 300 songs. The Jazz man has always been famous with Jazz aficionados but he became mainstream famous when he played a part in the 2004 Steven Spielberg movie “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks. Tom’s character “Viktor Navorski” from the nation of “Krakozia” flies to New York City just to get Benny Golson’s autograph. Koh-Mr. Saxman, a famous Thai sax man was honored to play later in the set with Benny & his Quartet, representing an east-meets-west music cooperation that knew no boundaries.
Wrapping up his set, Benny gave an impassioned speech praising the great ability of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and respectfully played the King’s song “A Love Story”. That act brought tremendous gratitude and happiness to everyone who had the pleasure of being there.
Day one of the True Jazz Festival at Hua Hin was wrapped up with the band Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles. As one of the best Hammond Organ b3 bands and the owners of Grammy Awards in both the Best R&B Performance and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album categories, the band set the stage on fire with their unparalleled performance skills for over 2 hours. Afterwards fans had the opportunity to take photos with artists, ending the day with a memorable moment for everyone.
Day two began with the exotic vocals and instrumentals of the Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band. Acclaimed by the BBC, the band has played to fans at the Glastonbury Festival in UK and many more stages throughout Europe. Their set concluded, it was the Yellowjackets who next took to the stage. This “Legend of Fusion Jazz” band has won 2 Grammy Awards. Their many world tours are almost always sell-outs, winning praises from critics around the globe.
Next, the music took a down beat and slowed for Thailand’s #1 soul band, Soul After Six. A fan favorite they are the owners of the top hit single “Konhin Lamoe”, and performed many of their best songs for this special night.
And then, the energy level of the crowd rose to an inter-stellar high as the final act of the night, Al Mckay’s Earth Wind And Fire Experience rocketed to the stage. Al MaKay, the legendary guitar soloist and one of the founders of the 70’s Superstar rock group Earth, Wind & Fire, has won 6 Grammy Awards and an honorable Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Their first time performing in the Kingdom, Al flew in his All-Star band from Los Angeles and they brought the house down with their crowd clapping, sing-a-long favourites such as “September”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “After The Love Has Gone”, cementing Al’s designation of “True Music Legend”.
The True Jazz Festival at Hua Hin brought top tier Grammy Award winning artists to music lovers for the first time in town. With overwhelming great feedback from all parties, the event truly underpinned Hua Hin as the new destination in Thailand for world music events.